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Lost in translation.

After a hard day's work in Beijing, you might enjoy changing into a pair of Enduring and Persevering, revving up your Precious Horse, and meeting friends for a couple of Tasty Funs. To Westerners, that's Nike, BMW, and Coke, respectively. In China, where names can make or break products, Western companies are revamping brand names so they resonate with China's exploding middle class. Ideally, the Mandarin name will both sound like the Western one and convey the product's essence. Lay's snack foods, for example, went with Le shi, or Happy Things, and Reebok with Rui bu, or Quick Steps. But translations can get tricky, as Microsoft learned when it launched its Bing search engine. Common definitions of the Chinese character pronounced "bing" include "disease," "defect," and "virus." So the Microsoft team made a slight tweak: Bi ying, which means "responds without fail."
Western Chinese
Name Name Translation

Coke Ke Kou Tasty Fun
 Ke Le

Nike Nai Ke Enduring
 and
 Persevering

BMW Bao Ma Precious
 Horse

Colgate Gao Lu Revealing
 Jie Superior
 Cleanliness

Snickers Shi Li Honorary
 Jia Powerful
 Support
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Title Annotation:China
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jan 30, 2012
Words:179
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