Sportswear brand names adaptation from alphabetic languages in Modern Standard Mandarin and vice versa


Abstract – The augmentation of consumers and the development of the sports industry directly depends on the correct and successful coinage and translation of the sports products brands from foreign languages into Modern Standard Mandarin and vice versa. This paper suggests a brief look at foreign and Chinese domestic sportswear brand names from a linguistic and cultural viewpoint. Foreign trademarks’ adaptation process in Modern Standard Mandarin is formed by several different categories, phonemic loans being the most numerous one. Adaptations of this type can be faithful or deviant, and often convey not only phonemic similarities, but also semantic associations. Semantic and graphic analysis of Chinese domestic top brand names shows that the principle of the auspicious strokes numbers is accurately followed. When introducing their names written in Latin letters on the international arena, Chinese brands usually employ phonological transcription of their original names, which is either faithful or deviant mapping of pīnyīn. In order to make successful naming decisions, it is important to understand how the recipient language interprets explicit and implicit linguistic information encoded in the different donor writing system. To avoid any possible gaffes in adaptation of names, acronyms or slogans, one must be familiar with cultural traditions, superstitions, symbolism, and frequent ambiguity of Chinese characters.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v22p21

Keywords: branding; brand name; phonological adaptation; logographic writing; numerology


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