They Want to Depart China, Too-Western Brands and Chinese Brands

Jan 28, 2010 at 16:10 | Posted in Brand 品牌, Business 商务, China Business 中国商务, Culture, Language 语言, Localization 本土化, Translation 翻译 | Leave a comment
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They Want to Depart China, Too-Western Brands and Chinese Brands
(This page’s link is http://bit.ly/dcg7zE)
January 28, 2010
By Song White

Today’s forwarded email, They Want to Depart China, Too, reflects the brands created by “cottage industries” (山寨) in China. The cottage industries in China have pumped out massive volumes of products with counterfeit Western brands. Also in the past few years, many Chinese businesses created their own Chinese brands that look similar to the original Western brands. For example, abibas vs. adidas. When in January Google threatened to leave China, someone put together this teasing article, They Want to Depart China, Too. One of the points the author makes is the original Western brands have been defeated by their imitation or counterfeit brands in China.

Anyway, language wise, what are some of the original Western brand names that have matching localized Chinese brand names? How about the English translation of the brand names for the Chinese imitation? Let me put out a few:

Original Brand > Localized Chinese Brand

Apple > 苹果

Nike > 耐克

adidas > 阿迪/阿迪达斯

adidas > 阿迪/阿迪达斯

BMW > 宝马

Chinese Brand > English Translation of the Brand

金苹果 > Golden Apple [possibly]

金莱克 > jinak [possibly]

阿迪王 > adivon

[Unknown] > abibas

比亚迪 > BYD

In summary, in addition to the products under numerous local brands, the products in the China market in this context are present in two phases: counterfeiting, and semi-counterfeiting.

——————-

[Author unknown; forwarded by Jane Thursday, January 28, 2010]
转发: 他们也要退出
(Song’s Translation: They Want to Depart China, Too)

微软:番茄花园已死,雨林木风不成气候,我独孤求败,所以离开。

Intel与AMD。
呃,龙芯相当于我们十年前的产品。 那么十年后,现在生产的过剩芯片就可以到中国市场上来兜售啦。 所以,十年后再来……

阿迪内流满面:他们有阿迪王

耐克痛哭失声:他们还有金莱克

苹果挥刀自宫:他们还有金苹果

沃尔玛:大妈太会砍价

必胜客:这里人人都是结构工程师(无敌沙拉,哈哈哈哈……)

绿色和平:这是地球上最和谐的地方,我们根本没必要在这里存在….

sony:当我们看到那个3000块的黄色psp的时候,我们知道,是时候离开了,中国是无敌的。

MSN内牛满面:这么多年了,始终打不过QQ啊……

adidas:我的孪生兄弟abibas让我去发展非洲市场

安利:走吧~�都被当成传销了~

雅虎:别哭了 跟哥一起走~

奥特曼哭了:他们有金甲战士啊……

富士康:连我都被山寨了

索尼爱立信默默离开,他们居然有何洁代言的索爱。

小新:5555,图图调戏我,我走了!

思科:华为的研发人员比我们便宜10倍,拿什么跟他们斗。

暴雪:他们让我们把游戏名字改成党的世界,还是走了,不然回头要被我国和谐了…

kfc:开封菜太欺负人了

杜蕾斯:他们说我们太低俗传播不健康内容

BMW : 商标都被比亚迪取代了,我们撤吧。。。。

ugg:当我们还在澳大利亚雇高薪聘人薅羊毛的时候,我们的最新款式已然在淘宝上普及了,标价不是300欧,是300 元

互联网:在这里 我都变成局域网了…

iphone全系列:wifi统被阉割,我忍谁了,我还是iphone吗我,撤!

凤凰周刊:不知道北京地跌只让卖《北京%¥&@》了吗,就你觉得这个事儿有意湿嘛?

吉野家;走吧,他们有成都小吃,太厉害了,盖饭品种真多,我们只有招牌牛肉饭。

麦当劳:都TMD不点餐,进来吹空调,还自带食品

可口可乐:我跟百事掐架的时候被非常可乐通了一刀子

Youtube:不如回家卖土豆!

NIKE:Just 退 it

Facebook: 借腹生子的校内都做成人人了 我还没进来就要退出了

D&G:满村都是我的logo,中国人民太有钱了,不挑战。

杰克琼斯:他们只认班尼路~

——————-

(This page’s link is https://songwhite.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/they-want-to-depart-china-too-western-brands-and-chinese-brands/)

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Is Mandarin a Chinese Word?

Oct 12, 2009 at 21:00 | Posted in Language 语言 | 1 Comment
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Is Mandarin a Chinese Word?
(This page’s link is http://bit.ly/14UANg)
Initial posting October 12, 2009; Last revision March 4, 2010
By Song White

Years ago when I was asked if I speak Mandarin, I was puzzled. What’s Mandarin? I later learned that “Mandarin” means the official spoken Chinese language. I am not alone – much of my Chinese friends have the same confusion. That’s because we don’t call it “Mandarin” in China. Instead, it’s “Putonghua”, meaning “common spoken language”.

In China, the Chinese language goes by “Hanyu” (汉语). “Han”, the largest ethnic group in China, accounts for 92% of the population. “Yu” means “language”. Hanyu, the Han Language, is known as “Chinese” today. College Chinese classes are Han Language classes, instead of “Chinese classes” (中文课). For example, Chinese language curriculum offers Classical Han Language (古代汉语), Modern Han Language (现代汉语), etc. There are 50+ ethnic groups in China; many have their own languages, such as Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongol, Sawcuengh (Zhuangyu), and Manchu. “Hanyu” is used to differentiate itself from these languages. The most often used Chinese document, the Chinese currency Renminbi, has five different languages printed in the back as shown in the image below: Hanyu (in Pinyin), Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongol, and Zhuangyu.

Chinese currency renminbi 10yuan 1999 edition back 5 languages-Hanyu (in Pinyin), Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongol, and Zhuangyu

The word “Chinese” (中文) is seldom used unless it is in the context of comparing with foreign languages such as with English or French.

When Chinese refer to the spoken languages or the dialects among groups distinguished by geographical locations in China, it’s typically a compound word: the location plus the word for spoken language, “hua”(话). For example, Guangdonghua (Cantonese) for Guangdong dialect, Beijinghua for Beijing dialect, and Shanghaihua for Shanghai dialect. For the standard spoken language used in all locations, the word again is Putonghua. “Mandarin” (国语, 官话) is unpopular and sounds old fashioned.

Why is there such a word as “Mandarin”? The ruling ethnic group of China in the 17th and 18th centuries is Manchu. Coming from northeast, the Manchu conquered China and established the Qing Dynasty around 1645. The Qing is also called the Manqing or the Manqing Empire, and it was ended in 1911. During its 260-year ruling, Manchus stayed in political power and were the most privileged class (Mongols were next, and Hans were below them). However, the Manchu language education didn’t come to match its political expansion. Being the official language of Manqing, Manchu language wasn’t popularly used among the ruled. Instead, Hanyu sustained and became one of the official languages. Most bureau names and signs in the Forbidden City, the heart of the Manqing, are in both Han characters and Manchu. The same held true in other Manqing’s palaces, resorts, mansions, royal tombs, and cemeteries, though most of them forbad access to the Hans.

While the Han was losing power during the 17th and 18th centuries, Manchu enriched the Han Language in the northeast cities including the capital, Beijing (north in Chinese is “bei”; Beijing means the “northern capital”). For example, a dessert, “saqima” (萨其马), is Manchu’s “sacima”; “blah” is “xiabai”(瞎掰) with “bai” from Manchu’s “baibi”. Hanyu with the Manchu influence spread southward. In 1728, Emperor Yongzheng issued a decree ordering the officials in two southern provinces, Fujian and Guangdong,  to conduct business in Mandarin (Guanhua官话) (http://www.bozhounet.cn/jiaoyu/001/2/200803041/1655161.shtml). In the late 18th and early 19th, the governments of Manqing and later the Republic of China made the Beijing dialect the official national standard spoken language. I reason the word “Mandarin” being the translation to represent the official spoken language of China during that time.

An Internet finding is different – Encyclopædia Britannica states that “Mandarin” “comes through the Portuguese mandarim from Malay mantri, a counselor or minister of state; the ultimate origin of the word is the Sanskrit root man- meaning ‘to think.’” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/361580/mandarin) The Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511 when China was under Han’s Ming Dynasty. Ended in 1644 by the Manchu, the Ming Dynasty had Nanjinghua as its official spoken language. That means there were about 133 years, from 1511 to 1644, when the so-called “Mandarin” was actually Nanjinghua. A city in south China and the first capital of the Ming, Nanjing dialect is different in many ways from that of Beijing. Was “mantri” in Malay used to name the language, Nanjinghua, spoken by the Chinese during the Ming Dynasty? Did “mantri” later refer to another spoken language, Beijinghua, during the Manqing Empire? Or, does it mean any official national standard spoken language of China, regardless being Nanjinghua or Beijinghua? I hope the experts of Portuguese or Malay can help with this.

Is “Mandarin” a Chinese word then? It’s not if the word comes through the Portuguese mandarim from Malay mantri. If it is a translated word based on the Manqing by the Manchus, it may be a Chinese word if you believe Manchu is an ethnic group of China; it goes the other way if you think otherwise.

By the way, nearly one hundred years after the end of the Manqing Empire, Manchu today can be found in written form next to Han characters on the name boards of many buildings from the Manqing time as I noted earlier. There is one and the only one Manchu elementary school in the country, in Sanjiazitun near Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province (http://www.china.com.cn/city/txt/2007-07/26/content_8584001.htm). Large volumes of Manqing documents in Manchu are stored in libraries in Beijing and in the northeast provinces in China, and there are few people capable of reading them. There are Government funded machine translation projects in progress attempting to automatically translate the archives (http://www.lndangan.gov.cn/mwmy1/mymw8.htm).

The article “In China, the Forgotten Manchu Seek to Rekindle Their Glory” on Wall Street Journal (10/3/09 http://bit.ly/6drS6) triggered me to research more and write it down in this journal.

[Revised based on the modified version for Translorial submitted March 3, 2010.]

Twittering in Chinese is Easier in Terms of the Message Length

Jun 27, 2009 at 03:17 | Posted in Business 商务, Language 语言, Localization 本土化, Social Media 社交网站, Translation 翻译, Twitter in Chinese | Leave a comment
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Started twittering in March 2009 on an ad-hoc basis. The first couple months I stayed with English. Over a week ago, I started the entries in Chinese. What I have found is interesting: Twittering in Chinese is much easier in terms of the message length.

First I created a Chinese message. It reads “除了学习英语,不同的中文说法也让新移民不得不多花些时间。坎城是哪个城?是法国的Cannes,在大陆则叫戛纳。雪梨不是梨,在大陆是悉尼,是澳大利亚的Sydney。保险业里claim在美国叫理賠,在大陆叫索赔;endorsement在大陆是签注,在美国叫什么呢?批單?”. It talks about how the Chinese translations differ among the Chinese people depending on which area the translation was made or who made it. The Chinese message has 132 characters in Chinese. Without trimming, it fitted right into one message in Twitter that allows only up to 140 characters per posting.

I then tried to develop the same message into English. The trouble came. I could not fit the same level of information into one Twitter message in English. I tried to fit into two, and it did not work. I ended up splitting the English into three chunks to form three Twitter messages. The total English character count is 366 for the 132-character Chinese text. The ratio is close to 3:1.

What does it mean in this social media arena? It means that the Chinese users can save as much as 75% of the effort in tweaking the intended information to fit the current Twitter. Or, of the amount of information going out from the current Twitter, with the same length of 140 characters per message, Chinese can easily contain 75% more content compared with English. Up to my knowledge, the length of some other Indo-European languages such as German is even longer than English, about a fifth to a third longer.

The character limit certainly has set English users up long ago being creative. “u” is “you”; “n” is “and”; etc. In Chinese, without any shortening, “you” is “你”, 1 character. And “and” is “和”, 1 character again. Such examples can be easily grown into a long list.

What does it mean to multi-language communicators? Language wise, nothing new here: developing messages from English into Chinese, one should expect the message to shrink; the other way around, from Chinese to English, expect the message to expand. Twittering wise, any well-designed, thought through message, when being developed into another language, expecting the count of messages will change.

By the way, the three English messages were posted on June 24, 2009 at my Twitter http://twitter.com/songwhite.

Finally, I want to thank Jerry Crippledshark Neal and Ted Silker CC/CL at LinkedIn for the feedbacks on the discussion.

What is the Most Popular Chinese Dialect, Mandarin or Cantonese?

Jun 05, 2009 at 06:46 | Posted in Language 语言 | 8 Comments
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Mandarin is the most popular dialect among the Chinese speakers. It is mainly used in Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore. These areas represent a population over 1.3 billion Chinese. Mandarin dialect is the official and standard dialect in Mainland China. Almost all TV and radio stations announce in Mandarin dialect. The China education system requires that all schoolteachers in China must teach in Mandarin. In Mainland China, Mandarin is called “putonghua”, meaning “common language”.

The Cantonese dialect is popular in Canton (Guangdong) province of China, Hong Kong and with overseas Chinese in cities such as San Francisco and New York. The Chinese population in these areas is approximately 10 million.

Can Cantonese and Mandarin Speakers Understand Each Other?

May 31, 2009 at 07:11 | Posted in China Business 中国商务, Language 语言 | 2 Comments
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Cantonese and Mandarin speakers can understand each other through standard written Chinese.  This is particularly true to Cantonese speaker. A Cantonese speaker can normally learn what a Mandarin speaker means when the speaker talks, and can further get a clearer understanding when the speaker writes in a standard Chinese. When Chinese is in standard written format, it is understandable to all Chinese people. Only spoken Chinese has difficulty in communication among different Chinese dialect groups because of the dialect diversities.

However, a Mandarin speaker may or may not understand the written document created by a Cantonese speaker when idiomatic characters are used. Cantonese-speaking communities, such as Hong Kong, have created words that match the pronunciations of the Cantonese dialect or are of unique expression. Under these circumstances, the written Chinese by a Cantonese speaker will not be understandable to a Mandarin speaker, or to other Chinese with other dialects.

What are the Differences between Mandarin and Cantonese?

May 31, 2009 at 06:47 | Posted in China Business 中国商务, Language 语言 | Leave a comment
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The main differences between Mandarin and Cantonese are the pronunciations. For example, in Mandarin, the word for “look, see” is pronounced as kan, while it is tai in Cantonese. There are other differences in usage of words and grammar.

Mandarin and Cantonese share the same written language, Chinese. Standard written Chinese is understandable to all Chinese dialects. This is like the Americans and the British. Both can read English even though Americans and Brits have different dialects.

Mandarin and Cantonese both use “pinyin” to represent the pronunciation. “Pinyin” means “spelling the sound”. It is in the form of alphabet. For example, the pronunciation for the word “English”(“ 英语”) in pinyin is “yingyu”.

Why are there different Chinese, Simplified and Traditional?

May 31, 2009 at 06:29 | Posted in Language 语言, Translation 翻译 | Leave a comment
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Simplified and traditional Chinese nowadays refer to Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese characters are carried over from 3-thousand years of Chinese language history. Simplified Chinese characters reduce the amount of the strokes in most traditional Chinese characters.

For example, the word “tooth” in traditional Chinese requires 15 strokes: 齒, while it only needs 8 strokes in simplified Chinese: 齿. And the word “dragon” in traditional Chinese is formed by 16 strokes: 龍, while 5 strokes are enough in simplified Chinese: 龙.

Chinese started to simplify Chinese characters in the early 20th century to allow the ease of learning. The project was incomplete or delayed many times due to civil and world warfare until the early 1950s when the Mainland Chinese government formalized the simplified Chinese characters and implemented them as the national standard. As a result of the implementation, simplified Chinese characters prevail in Mainland China among its 1.3 billion population. Traditional Chinese characters are mostly used outside of Mainland China by the over 31 million people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and other overseas Chinese communities.

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