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A better way to successful branding

Don’t underestimate the preciseness required for Chinese translation! It can be dangerous to your brand if completed incorrectly, as Abercrombie and Fitch knows very well! One of their brown cargo pants for sale in their stores was labelled as 'Nigger Brown.'

The reason for such a racist description may have been the use of an out-of-date translation software, such as “Kingsoft.” The same disaster has happened before: back in 2007, a black Toronto couple found a tag on the underside of their sofa that described its colour as "nigger brown." When you type "dark brown" in Chinese into an older version of this Chinese-English translation software, the offensive description pops up as the correct translation. The  latest version of the “Kingsoft” software is supposed to have this issue resolved.

Such a mistake would interfere with the entire marketing campaign and the brand.  The question raised is how this big brand in America, Abercrombie and Fitch, let their Chinese manufacturer use a non-professional translation service.

Retail brands, in general, focus their campaign on visuals rather than on words.  Often, managing their translations for labels and new lines is a very low priority.  Although such a scenario may not affect those buyers that are price-driven, it is surely an embarrassing topic that will be associated with the company for years to come.  As a business, to grow your brand successfully, it’s vital to avoid every possible human error.

Don’t be fooled by the cheap Chinese translation services in the marketplace.  The Chinese language is easy to translate into or from when done literally, but it is difficult to master the subtleties.  Why is using a literal Chinese translation a problem? For a start, literal translation into Chinese from English would mean that Chinese people will struggle to read fast enough to understand. It’s definitely a big NO to rely on this method as a way of generating marketing script to catch buyers’ eyes.

Demographics are another major hurdle. If you are targeting Taiwan Chinese, for example, their buying culture, writing styles and phrasing are significantly different to those in Hong Kong.  Also, if you think Hong Kong now belongs to China and that the same Chinese language can be used to market in Hong Kong as in mainland China, then you are mistaken.  This is a big NO! For more information, read about “Hong Kong Chinese.”

The world is increasingly globalised and multicultural, so every mistake, as well as every success, goes live in split seconds. To be carried out successfully, cultural exchanges require more TLC and highly skilled linguists. To learn more, visit SanTranslate’s Chinese Translation Service page.

About Chinese Translations:

Traditional Chinese refers to Chinese characters in any character set which does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. Along with Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese is one of the many standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. Simplified Chinese characters are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Hong KongMacau and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Overseas Chinese communities generally use traditional characters, but simplified characters are often used among mainland Chinese immigrants. At SanTranslate, we are familiar with all the different written languages and all the different dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, etc.) and can help with you with any of your Chinese translation needs.

By | July 23rd, 2012|Blog|0 Comments



SanTranslate’s software localisation and LQA services have attracted a large ongoing project from a major international developer in mobile gaming.

Despite the negative growth and in some cases, failure of the industries around it, the gaming industry is experiencing a boom in value that has made it rival the film industry in popularity in Britain. Interestingly, an area of the industry that has been particularly successful in this regard is mobile gaming, a relative newcomer to the world market. Why now though? Mobile gaming in of itself is no new phenomena but with the rise of advanced new platforms like IOS and Android, games on mobile devices have not only become more entertaining, they have taken on a social dimension.

In this regard, the behaviours of end users targeted by game developers mirror those of translation experts like SanTranslate; sharing, communicating and the uninhibited transmission of information by language barriers are key ideals that the best translation experts keep in mind at all times.

It is by staying true to this culture of excellent service as well as the desire to evolve with our changing surroundings that SanTranslate can proudly announce an important step forward marked by the acquisition of a large quality testing and localisation project with a major games developer in mobile and console gaming. This comes after the expansion of a dedicated new service in this area, created after the attendance of local UKTI and EMITA events by senior members of the company. Increased international presence and upward trending sales, particularly in Germany and the US have led SanTranslate to this significant milestone.

At the heart of SanTranslate’s service is a meticulous attention to I18N and L10N issues. Fundamental to any widely distributed software is that the product must be built in such a way so as to allow for localisation in multiple languages and dialects. This necessitates a flawless working knowledge of both design and coding in software. It is also paramount to be considerate of the end user environment; colour, typography and the use of wording are all important in transmitting the intended message and are particularly essential in creating the intended ‘in-game experience.’ Understandably, the cultural connotations of such things may vary drastically, meaning that anything less than an accurate and experienced service in L10N can result in an incomprehensible end product which could hugely damage the reputation of both the company and the product itself.

Also central to this service is the availability of the most up to date resources for our project managers to rely on during precision test phases for LQA and our ability to work with any file type allows us to adapt and accommodate technical development styles, preventing any unnecessary increases to our clients’ workloads.

This project forms the latest in a series of recent achievements for SanTranslate in expanding its presence whilst retaining quality at the core of its services. Additionally, it underscores the company’s ambitions and commitment to providing an essential service to an exciting young industry that is only predicted to grow.

By | July 2nd, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

The History of Modern English

The English language was started when three Germanic tribes – the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes – invaded Britain during the 5th century. At the time of the invasion, Celtic was the dominate language of Britain.

In Britain, the language spoken by the Germanic tribes developed into Old English. English speakers of today would have difficulty understanding Old English; however, approximately half of the most common words used in Modern English have roots in Old English. Old English was common until the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.

The Normans brought with them a version of French to Britain which became the language of the Royal Court and the ruling class. During this time, the lower classes spoke English and the upper classes spoke French. By the 14th century, English was again the common language for all speakers, but it had changed significantly from Old English into what we now call Middle English. The lower classes simplified the language, and the upper classes added many French words.

With world travel and the industrial revolution, English in Britain developed into Modern English which is the version spoken today.

By | June 29th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments
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