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Lost in Global Translation?
By Naseem Javed, President, ABC Namebank

What are customers around the world saying about the new booming Middle Eastern brands? Which ones can they pronounce, type and remember easily?

What are customers around the world saying about the new booming Middle Eastern brands? What are they reading in the brand-names? Which ones are they loving and talking about? Which ones can they pronounce, type and remember easily? Are these new local brands leading the charge for global mindshare, creating presence of greatness, or are they seriously lost in global translation?

Currently, 99% of mega Middle Eastern projects are being branded under Arabic-based names, which are mostly foreign to international audiences while some are projecting mixed messages due to translation, and impose very serious limitations to brand name appreciation, prolonging high costs in obtaining global mindshare.
To appreciate this dilemma, unless you are fluent in Japanese, try to make sense out of a fancy scripted Japanese name with some deeply rooted cultural message with rich heritage.

For this reason, over half a century ago, the global image-savvy corporate Japan developed all major brand names based on international rules of translations, negative connotations and pronunciations which fitted mass global appeal,  making the names easy to talk about, spell and remember. Contrary to belief, on global branding, America really provided the largest battleground for branding, as it was the Japanese that truly laid the systematic foundation on what makes globally accepted and universal name-identities fit enough to conquer global image.  

Decades ahead, Japan was on the forefront of creating global brands, like Toyota, Minolta, Sony, Pentax, Sharp, Panasonic, Canon and hundreds of other five star standard names, as names originating from Japanese language would have never allowed such global acceptance. Surprisingly today, China is caught into too many local language based name-brands that seriously inhibits internationalization of the name-identity. Very bad for a country that

Naseem Javed, author of Naming for Power and also Domain Wars is recognized as a world authority on Name Identities and Domain Issues and he is the President of ABC Namebank ( ) with offices in New York & Toronto. e-Mail him your URLs or current business names for a complimentary evalution. This analysis is serious business, so please identitfy your job title and background information on your company and the use of that name. All correspondence is confidential. e-mail:

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