The name of your brand is of huge importance and you must make sure it sounds right in the Chinese language. A brand name should be easy to remember; it must represent your company’s image, and it should resonate with the Chinese consumer. Given the vast differences between the Chinese and English languages, “translating” a brand name is not a simple task.

There are several methods for translating brand names, and if you want your brand name professionally translated it’s important to know what you are getting.

In a literal translation, the words in a brand name are directly translated into Chinese. This results in a semantically accurate translation but a translation that is often imperfect when it comes to building brand recognition. 

In a phonetic translation, the sounds of the English words are transliterated, which means the translated Chinese brand name will sound as close as possible to the English brand name. This method makes for a good start, but there are usually tens or hundreds of choices available, and choosing one blindly can sometimes bring disastrous results.

Another option is to create a completely new Chinese brand name. This is fine if your company plans to have a separate image in China, but there would be little synergy between your international and Chinese brands. 

There is simply no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to translating a brand name into Chinese.

We believe the most important part of translating a brand name is to maintain as much of the “spirit” of the brand as possible. The core aspects of the brand must be considered first and the words or sound of the brand can then be matched to this as closely as possible.

We do this by very carefully considering the meaning of the English brand name, and then using a creative translation process to come up with the best Chinese brand name possible.

The brand name creation process

  • Our team will talk to you to get a better understanding of your English brand name. We look for a story or specific branding strategy behind the name. Working with you, we set the factors that will guide the creative process, and judge the final names.
  • We come up with several different potential Chinese translations.
  • We search online and conduct a trademark search to eliminate Chinese brand names that are already trademarked in China or are otherwise already in use by a company in your industry.
  • We discuss the remaining names and choose the best three to five names based on the meaning, sound and “feel” of the name.
  • Optionally, we send out a survey to 10 to 100 Chinese consumers in our database and add that data to our report.
  • We provide you with a concise report of the translated brand names along with our recommendations. We include brief explanations of what the names mean and why we chose them.

Case: Creating a lasting consumer brand name

EdenPURE is a brand that provides a more comfortable heating solution for Chinese apartments. In 2010, we worked with them to create a brand name that would work well in China. We created several names and settled on “宜盾普”, which sounds quite similar to their English name. The characters create a sense of comfort and reliability.