Name translation
Thread poster: Heike Reagan

Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:03
Member (2004)
German to English
Aug 8, 2006

Hello all,
I am not sure if this is the right forum, but I think this question exceed the Kudoz-guidelines, so here it goes.

I am currently translating a marketing flyer for a clothing collection. Now, per the agency's email, they want me to translate the "product name, unless it is a specific name".

Now I'm wondering what your advise would be on this.
I have names like:

Squaretop Shirt Short Sleeve (I think this is something to translate completely)

but how about
Classic Cool Shirt Short Sleeve
Classic Cool Shirt
Cool Shirt Short Sleeve
Cool Shirt
Clutch 1/2 Zip
Highline sleeveless shirt
Excursion Trail Short
Switchback Jacket
Zorro Jacket
Zorro Pants
Prospector Jacket
Inertia Peak Jacket
Flat Creek Jacket
Crystal Creek Pants

I think that "Jacket", "Pants", "Short Sleeve", "Shorts" etc. should be translated, but the rest of it would be the actual product name

What are your suggestions?


Valters Feists  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:03
English to Latvian
+ ...
translate unless strongly trademarked Aug 8, 2006

The sad effect of overcapitalisation in English... loss of distinction between proper and common names.

I would suggest - be bold and translate everything that you're not explicitly prohibited from translating and that is translatable, e.g., "excursion trail". The client can change it back; probably they think that the names they have chosen (or at least the parts that the names are composed of) are generic enough if they have left it almost entirely for you to decide. After all, translations are meant for people who cannot or don't want to use the source language.

Valters Feists
Technical Latvian translator


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
English to Hindi
+ ...
Sound advice Aug 9, 2006

Valters Feists wrote:
be bold and translate everything that you're not explicitly prohibited from translating and that is translatable

Very true; I follow the same philosophy in my translations.


Lubain Masum  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:03
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
everything should NOT be translated Aug 9, 2006

Valters Feists wrote:

be bold and translate everything that you're not explicitly prohibited from translating and that is translatable, e.g., "excursion trail

I cannot fully agree with the statement that everything should be translated.

I think it depends on the language you are translating. For example, translation of English proper/brand names into Bengali will only reduce the 'value' of the company as in our country, English names add value or increase the 'prestige' of the company. Not only big businesses but small shops name their businesses and shops in English or in foreign languages to give a 'foreign flavour'. It should be noted here that despite love for English/ foreign names many big businesses of Bangladesh chose nice Bengali names and they are well accepted in the country.

Anyway, I feel that brand names or proper names should NOT be translated, rather they should be transliterated and if necessary, a small definition can be added to explain what kind of company it is. But proper care should be taken during transliteration as it is really difficult to correctly transliterate foreign names.


Local time: 10:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Compromise: Keep the English and translate in brackets where possible Aug 10, 2006

Some of the terms are actual place names, such as Flat Creek (in Jackson Hole, Wyoming) and seem to have been used to give a wilderness or alpine flavor to the apparel names. Others appear to be fantasy (Inertia Peak?) and I have no idea what they were thinking, other than the mountain theme. I think Lubain is right that the English probably has some kind of prestige, but the names may lose their connotations without an included translation. The problem you will have with translating is that some of the items have a double meaning (cool shirt would mean both ventilated and fashionable). Of course you would not translate the brand name Cloudveil, although that is also evocative of the mountains.


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