If you have technology that you want to market in China (or Chinese-speaking regions around the world), or perhaps other types of goods and service, highly accurate Mandarin translation services are key to your company’s success. If your firm can zero in on the demographics you’re after, and get your message across in Chinese, you’ll be able to forge solid relationships with local partners, and build a good name for your company or product. When it comes to English Chinese translations (or any other language into Mandarin Chinese), things can get a little tricky if you work with Mandarin translators who aren’t up on modern Chinese, local trends, or the constantly evolving business environment that is in China today.
Before we look at how reputable Chinese business translation services, with years of experience, can help your company, let’s take a look at a few examples of how well-known businesses have gotten translations wrong in the past.
Chinese Translations Gone Wrong
Brand name and first impressions are vital to success in any market, but especially in China, which dominates the planet in so many fields now, and is catching up to and surpassing the West in raw purchasing power. Competition for shares of the lucrative Chinese markets in an array of fields and industries is fierce — and only set to increase.
An important fact to remember when translating Chinese is that Chinese characters not only connote sounds, but many are also pictographs (or compound pictographs) as well, with images that often carry several layers of meaning. While this is wonderful for poetry, it can cause trouble for foreign words, slogans, ideas and brands in relation to English Mandarin Chinese translations.
For example, when KFC first got into China back in the day, and translated their slogan “finger licking good” into Chinese, the subsequent Mandarin translation actually meant that the hard-working Chinese people should “eat their own fingers off” along with their fried chicken (that’s never good for attracting repeat customers). Coca-Cola’s original translated brand name in China (before the company went with a more phonetic, character-based translation) came out as “biting the wax tadpole.” And as we all know, biting a wax tadpole isn’t very fun. Burger King got into trouble not for the choice of characters in translating the Burger King name, but due to the fact that “king” to many Chinese people signifies a company trying far too hard to be successful, which ultimately detracted from the brand’s overall image. Language and cultural norms play into both good, and bad translations alike.
Business Translation Services and Mandarin Translators
As amusing as it is to see how translations can go wrong, it isn’t funny if it happens to your company, and then costs you money. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to avoid trouble when branding, translating documents, and marketing in Chinese. If you want your ventures in China and Chinese-speaking regions to flourish, it’s best to utilize professional Mandarin translators and business translation services, like those GlobalVision provides. We have 20+ years of experience, a rigorous in-country proofing process (which can help avoid dangerous translation pitfalls), and the ability to assemble translation teams with a breadth of talent, that can pull off all of your business’s Mandarin Chinese translation and marketing requirements.
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