An acronym in one language is a trademark in another
Thread poster: soneill

soneill  Identity Verified
German to English
+ ...
Jul 10

Hi,

I'm working on the translation of a pedagogical method that's known by its acronym. My issue is not just the fact that each letter of the acronym stands for a concept, meaning I would have to find terms in English that start with the same letters if I wanted to keep the acronym. More complicated is the fact that the acronym, in English, is the name of a well-known insurance company in the UK.

Does the fact that the acronym shares its name with a registered company i
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Hi,

I'm working on the translation of a pedagogical method that's known by its acronym. My issue is not just the fact that each letter of the acronym stands for a concept, meaning I would have to find terms in English that start with the same letters if I wanted to keep the acronym. More complicated is the fact that the acronym, in English, is the name of a well-known insurance company in the UK.

Does the fact that the acronym shares its name with a registered company in English mean that I should avoid using it in the English translation and find an alternative name for the method?
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Sarah Lewis-Morgan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:49
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Depends whether the company is actually a trademark Jul 10

If the company name has not been registered as a trademark there might not be a problem . there are plenty of company names that are duplicated. But if the name is also a trademark it would be wise to avoid it. Also, if it is a very well-known name it would no doubt be better to find something else if only to avoid confusion.

Sara Massons
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:49
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Soneill Jul 11

I’m no expert on trademarks and trademark law but over the years I’ve been patiently and slowly building a Portuguese acronym glossary (349 pages, 65,966 words so far) collected from official documents (mostly from the OJEU but also from the national official journal), newspapers and magazines and you will not believe how many are written the same as trademarks…

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:49
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, you can use it, if there's no confusion Jul 11

soneill wrote:
Does the fact that the acronym shares its name with a registered company in English mean that I should avoid using it in the English translation and find an alternative name for the method?


No, you can use it, as long as there is no possible confusion by the reader that the method is somehow related to the company. For example, see how many things are called "IBM": https://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/IBM .


Sara Massons
 

Sara Massons  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:49
Member (2016)
English to French
+ ...
Either use it and add something to explain or avoid it Jul 11

I agree with Samuel Murray that legally you can use it as long as it is clear for the reader. However, the fact that you can use it does not mean that you should use it.
When the client accept this, I like to use the "official" acronym (from the source) and place a description between brackets for the reader to understand what it is. This way the readers that are used to the source acronym (often the case with technical contents) will not get lost with a different one, the common layperso
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I agree with Samuel Murray that legally you can use it as long as it is clear for the reader. However, the fact that you can use it does not mean that you should use it.
When the client accept this, I like to use the "official" acronym (from the source) and place a description between brackets for the reader to understand what it is. This way the readers that are used to the source acronym (often the case with technical contents) will not get lost with a different one, the common layperson will understand it and it will be clear for everyone that it has nothing to do with any trademark.
I hope this helps.
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Morano El-Kholy
Tina Vonhof
Teresa Borges
 

soneill  Identity Verified
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 11

Thanks for all of your insights, everyone!

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
TM covers specific (1) products or (2) services Jul 11

Google> define:trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others[, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks].
While I'm not a international law expert, a trademark covers only registered items in specific fields, so you can use any (c)(r) tm abbreviations and names unless it's about logo (in the colour palette) or biz in the same or similar field as the brand owner (read: poses you as the owner). Why, you also can trademark an odor or scent.

Unlike quotes, it should be no prob, yet ask a familiar law expert just to make sure.


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 13:49
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@soneill Jul 12

I treat acronyms like a proper name, which in some cases is how they are indeed used in everyday language. A translation, as you pointed out, has all kinds of problems. I use the acronym as is and I put an English translation in full (not an acronym), either in parentheses or, if it is quite long, in a footnote. In the rest of the text I use the acronym without translation. I actually think that is a rule but I don't remember who told me that or where I got it from.

 


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