Did you ever wonder why it's important to know something about the culture behind that foreign language you studied during those undergraduate or highschool years? In the 16 September, 1996 Chicago Tribune, Liz Sly comments on the proper translation of American business and product names into Chinese. About MicroSoft she writes, Microsoft has gone for a literal translation, "Wei Ruan," meaning "Small and Soft." It is not considered a wise choice: The sexual innuendo is overwhelming, and Chinese snigger every time they hear it. Men in particular say they are reluctant to purchase software with such an unmanly sounding name. Of course, this incident reminds me of the tale told by a highschool French teacher: Back when GM introduced the Chevy Nova in Mexico, they hadn't realized that the name "Nova" can be interpretted as "No va", "Doesn't Go." Sales of the Doesn't Go reflected this fact.
(From the "Rest" of RHF)
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