Lost in Translation: Corporate Branding

By Naseem Javed Founder, ABC Namebank International | May 19, 2010

Business names are being hit the hardest as the world becomes smaller and companies go global. Each one of us is now spinning in a mix of international alphabet soup of strange names and terminologies. You invent something new, send out a release, the media talks about it and, within seconds, it becomes an international item.Your business name image might end up as a great universal message or emulate some strange and confusing messages with insults or profanity. But why?

A Trunk Call to Britannia

Like it or not, from the Greeks to the Koreans or from the quiet Zen masters to the chanting Buddhists, all will try to figure out the meaning of your great message and the name of your new gizmo as you push for an international audience.

Thanks to several historical factors, including colonization, the largest global population is increasingly tied to a string of 26 alpha characters in English. Today, even in the oldest and remotest jungles, some form of English is spoken. Thank you Britannia, we are amused. For that and for many other reasons, English-based naming has been the norm for corporate business nomenclature because it always has provided some measure of sobriety and universal understanding.

It is true that the other half of the global populace is still non-English speakers, but the process of corporate naming can seriously risk the future of a company by picking an exotic non-English word as a corporate name to gain quick attention or to cure a lingering corporate image problem.

Emotional Break-Dance

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