product names - what is generally accepted?
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 07:25
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
May 27, 2009

I have received a list of "not-to-be-translated" expressions, which include items such as

Negative Control (Monoclonal)
Negative Control (Polyclonal)
Reaction buffer
XYZ Blocking Reagent
XYZ Nuclear Stain Kit


My feeling is that this is going far beyond the line. I am perfectly happy with XYZ as is, but the Slovenian language has its own established and commonly used expressions for the rest. So, from my point of view, the client is about to shoot himself in the foot - can't do much about it but warn him.

The way I see it, the generic expressions, quoted above, are being kidnapped for the purpose of marketing. I am fairly positive (correct me if I am wrong), that the international law, when it comes to trade marks and product names, disallows this kind of encroachment on generic expressions. Otherwise we would already be swamped by ABC toothpaste. And DEF family car. Etc.

Of course it is rather difficult for me to start throwing books at the client ...

Your comments welcome.

Regards

Vito


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It makes perfect sense May 27, 2009

Vito Smolej wrote:
Negative Control (Monoclonal)
Negative Control (Polyclonal)
Reaction buffer
XYZ Blocking Reagent
XYZ Nuclear Stain Kit


My feeling is that this is going far beyond the line. I am perfectly happy with XYZ as is, but the Slovenian language has its own established and commonly used expressions for the rest. So, from my point of view, the client is about to shoot himself in the foot - can't do much about it but warn him.


We have a customer that has this practice too and works in the same industry (staining equipment, etc.). After some years translating their materials, it makes perfect sense to me that they leave their product names in English.

They want to preclude the risk of confusion with the products, as a the use of a wrong reagent, control, or solution by the end user could lead to severe interpretation mistakes and thus to big therapeutical errors (or lack of therapy as a consequence of an incorrect interpretation). Many products have rather similar-looking names which, when translated, could end up named almost the same way. Also, two different translators could translate the same name with slight differences, posing a risk of confusion among the users of a product.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:25
English to German
+ ...
Same for salon hair products May 27, 2009

If the manufacturer doesn't print extra packaging for the German / Austrian / Swiss market, I am not supposed to translate any descriptive or generic product names. A mix-up between perm products could be disastrous. Besides, such products are not sold in retail stores anyway.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:25
English to German
+ ...
There is a reason May 28, 2009

Vito Smolej wrote:

So, from my point of view, the client is about to shoot himself in the foot - can't do much about it but warn him.


They simply are not too fond of lawsuits.


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:25
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Couple of issues May 28, 2009

Vito Smolej wrote:

I have received a list of "not-to-be-translated" expressions, which include items such as

Negative Control (Monoclonal)
Negative Control (Polyclonal)
Reaction buffer
XYZ Blocking Reagent
XYZ Nuclear Stain Kit


My feeling is that this is going far beyond the line. I am perfectly happy with XYZ as is, but the Slovenian language has its own established and commonly used expressions for the rest. So, from my point of view, the client is about to shoot himself in the foot - can't do much about it but warn him.

The way I see it, the generic expressions, quoted above, are being kidnapped for the purpose of marketing. I am fairly positive (correct me if I am wrong), that the international law, when it comes to trade marks and product names, disallows this kind of encroachment on generic expressions. Otherwise we would already be swamped by ABC toothpaste. And DEF family car. Etc.




First, there are undoubtedly standard Slovenian expresssions for things such as reaction buffers. However, I imagine your client is going to provide the reaction buffer in a container marked "reaction buffer" in English. Putting it in a container marked with a Slovenian translation requires printing labels with that translation, labels that are probably not going to be used outside of Slovenia. The decision of whether to incur the expense of printing such labels is your client's decision, not yours. It makes sense for users of your text (even assuming they're among the rare Slovenian biomedical technicians who know absolutely no English at all) to know which boxes to look for.

Second, there is a difference between trying to trademark "toothpaste" and labeling something as "toothpaste" in order to sell it. My local drugstore has a number of products labeled "toothpaste" and none of the manufacturers has filed suit about the use of the word "toothpaste" as far as I know. Some of the products have labels in other languages without the other names for "toothpaste" being trademarked. It doesn't appear that your client is trying to trademark "reaction buffer". You haven't indicated that your client is planning to sue other people who sell reaction buffers and label them as such.

Personally, I think the reason your client is insisting these remain untranslated is because your client doesn't plan to market them. The biomedical technicians probably have a limited number of suppliers anyway and who else buys nuclear stain kits?


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