Horror stories of naming gone wrong in China abound. Kentucky Fried Chicken famously mistranslated “finger licking good” into 吃手指, suggesting that locals should actually eat their own fingers. Coca Cola’s original name in China 蝌蚪啃蜡 sounded in Chinese as though drinking the celebrated carbonated concoction was like “biting a wax tadpole”.
While such obvious mistranslations provide a valuable cautionary tale for other brands in China, it is the “silent damage” a poorly...
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