Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who's your COACH? (Gold refulgence)

How much would you pay for a bag by a brand named Coach.

Coach is big in the crossover luxury market. So much so that in Japan it is giving LVMH a run for its money . So, as another pointer to India Poised (muahahaha) comes news that LVMH is picking up a stake in Hidesign to counter Coach in Japan. Link

Would I pay more for a bag called Hidesign than one called Coach?
My Indian-english-educated ass says no , they have to cook-up a brand name.
My seen-Chinese-english ass says maybe the Japs think of a Cinderalla Coach and not an Indian Railways coach /coach class when they go and get that bag.

On the topic of East Asian english , I remember the signs in Shenzhen during my days there. The one that took the cake was this Farico style clothes store which announced its presence with a huge sign 'GOLD REFULGENCE' - pretty much what happens when translations are done by software than by context sensitive people. The chinese like grandiose nature invoking names which prove too much for Seattle programmers.
But even on relatively simple words there can be some amusing mix-ups as when one of my technically brilliant colleagues made a 45 slide presentation on programming practices. It was early days for her in figuring out English . She'd type in the first three letters of a word and then wait for the auto-complete prompt. Over-confidence in that software function resulted in a 45 slide presentation with each slide referring to Valuables , when she meant to use the word 'variable'.

This is a laugh out loud article in the IHT about the Chinese authorities scrambling to avoid englipiss embarrassment during the Olympics.

A billboard for a mall . Beijing officials are trying to improve the English of some ads. A better translation of the sign above might be, "Find something new and be pleasantly surprised."

Prof.Tool and a prominent retired professor, Chen Lin, are now at the vanguard of Beijing's English police, an effort emboldened by the Olympic self-improvement campaigns. City officials have enlisted the two scholars and other experts to retranslate the bad English translations on signs around the city....he spent his weekends visiting different businesses as if he were a detective in a linguistic vice squad. "I go in and I say the Olympics are coming and this sign is wrong," Tool said

Regular blunders include typos on menus in which the "b" in crab becomes a "p." Some translations are trickier - like describing pullet, a hen less than a year old, which appears on some menus as Sexually Inexperienced Chicken. Tool said one prominent sign had become a regular photo op for foreigners: the Dongda Anus Hospital.