Volume 63, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


A brand name is an essential part of an advertising campaign, identifying and being closely associated with a product or a manufacturer. One of the major functions of a brand name is to catch the attention of the audience and enhance their memorization. This research takes English-Chinese translation of brand names as an example and studies a prominent feature or strategy of brand name translation, namely rewriting to establish images in relation to the original pronunciation and/or logo. The translation of brand names is not bound by the original semantic meaning and is highly flexible, but it often retains the original sound or pronunciation. In the case of English-Chinese translation, brand names are often rewritten in that a new meaning is presented in the translation and images are established that are associated with the product or manufacturer. This study views image in its broadest sense, establishes a framework of images covering both concrete and abstract versions and discusses the functions of images in increasing the memorability of a brand name and engaging the audience’s emotions. A corpus of 316 English brand names with Chinese translations is considered and two examples are selected for discussion, one looking at the establishment of a concrete image and the other an abstract image. Such rewriting is analysed in relation to the functions of brand names in the hope of providing translators with a point of reference.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aaker, David A.
    1991Managing Brand Equity: Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name. New York: Free Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Arcangeli, Fabio
    2010Brand Name Translation–How Translation Distorts Oriflame’s Chinese Brand Name Communication. Bachelor thesis. Uppsala University.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Ashby, F. Gregory , and Alicel M. Isen
    1999 “A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition”. Psychological Review106 (3): 529–550. doi: 10.1037/0033‑295X.106.3.529
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.106.3.529 [Google Scholar]
  4. Barry, Ann Marie Seward
    1997Visual Intelligence: Perception, Image, and Manipulation in Visual Communication. Albany (N.Y.): State University of New York Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bei, Kejun
    2010 “Strategies of translating brand names: A cultural image perspective”. Journal of Huazhong Normal University1: 47–51.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Berkowitz, Leonard
    2000Causes and Consequences of Feelings. Cambridge (N.Y.): Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511606106
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511606106 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bristow, J.
    1999Memory and Learning: A Practical Guide for Teachers. London, UK: David Fulton.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Carroll, Ryall , and David Luna
    2007 “Dual language processing of marketing communications”. InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 221–246. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Chan, Allan K. K. , and Yue-Yuan Huang
    2001 “Chinese brand naming: A linguistic analysis of the brands of ten product categories”. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 10 (2): 103–119. doi: 10.1108/10610420110388663
    https://doi.org/10.1108/10610420110388663 [Google Scholar]
  10. Chan, Bik Yan
    2007Brand Naming: A Study on Brand Name Translation in China. Bachelor of Business Administration Degree Project. Hong Kong Baptist University.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Chevalier, Michel , and Gérald Mazzalovo
    2004Pro Logo: Brands as a Factor of Progress. Basingstoke (Hampshire) – New York: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230508897
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230508897 [Google Scholar]
  12. Clankie, Shawn M.
    2002Theory of Genericization on Brand Name Change. Lewiston: E. Mellen.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Dimofte, Claudiu V. , and Richard F. Yalch
    2007 “The use and abuse of polysemy in marketing communications”. InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 121–134. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Elkins, James , and Maja Naef
    2011What is An Image?University Park (Pa.): Pennsylvania State University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Feng, Hui 2012 “Brand name translation: The re-creation of cultural images.” Journal of Xianning University32 (4): 140–142.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Forgas, Joseph P.
    2000Feeling and Thinking: The Role of Affect in Social Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Gontijo, Possidonia F. D. , and Shi Zhang
    2007 “The mental representation of brand names: Are brand names a class by themselves?” InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 23–37. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Gordon, Wendy
    2002 “Brands on the Brain: New Scientific Discoveries to Support New Brand Thinking”. InBrand New Brand Thinking, ed. by M. Baskin and M. Earls , 103–121. London: Kogan Page.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Gorman, Phil
    2004Motivation and Emotion. London – New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Jin, Hanshen
    2004A Study on the Translation of Poetic Advertisements. MA thesis, Sichuan University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Johnson, Mark
    2007The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. doi: 10.7208/chicago/9780226026992.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226026992.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  22. Lee, Yih Hwai , and Kim Soon Ang
    2003 “Brand name suggestiveness: A Chinese language perspective”. International Journal of Research in Marketing20: 323–335. doi: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2003.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijresmar.2003.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  23. Lerman, Dawn B.
    2007 “Phonology, morphology, and semantics: Toward a fuller conceptualization of brand name meaning”. InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 79–99. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Li, K.
    2010Advertisement Translation: A Theoretical and Practical Approach. Beijing: Beijing University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Mani, Gayathri , and Deborah J. MacInnis
    2003 “The role of imagery instructions in facilitating persuasion in a consumer context”. InPersuasive Imagery: A Consumer Response Perspective, ed. by Linda M. Scott , and Rajeev Batra , 175–187. London – New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Ming, Zhu
    2007 “The misuse and loss of cultural images in business translation”. Journal of Yibin University3: 89–90.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Mitchell, W. J. T.
    1986Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. O’Shaughnessy, John , and Nicholas Jackson O’Shaughnessy
    2004Persuasion in Advertising. London – New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Ostrofsky, Richard
    2003 “Affect theory, shame and the logic of personality”. www.secthoughts.com/Psych/Shame%20and%20Personality.pdf
  30. Pang, Yanjie
    2011 “Transplantation of cultural images in trademark words from the perspective of Skopos Theory”. Journal of Gansu Lianhe University27 (3): 65–68.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Paulus, Martin P. , and Angela J. Yu
    2012 “Emotion and decision-making: Affect-driven belief systems in anxiety and depression”. Trends in Cognitive Sciences16 (9): 476–483. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.07.009
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.07.009 [Google Scholar]
  32. Pimentel, Ronald W. , and Susan E. Heckler
    2003 “Changes in logo designs: Chasing the elusive butterfly curve”. InPersuasive Imagery: A Consumer Response Perspective, ed. by Linda M. Scott , and Rajeev Batra , 105–127. London – New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Robertson, Ian H.
    2003Opening the Mind’s Eye: How Images and Language Teach Us How to See. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Sang, Jian , and Grace Zhang
    2008 “Communication across languages and cultures: A perspective of brand name translation from English to Chinese”. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 18 (2): 225–246. doi: 10.1075/japc.18.2.07san
    https://doi.org/10.1075/japc.18.2.07san [Google Scholar]
  35. Scheub, Harold 2002The Poem in the Story: Music, Poetry, and Narrative. Madison (Wis.): University of Wisconsin Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Schmitt, Bernd , and Shi Zhang
    2012 “Selecting the right brand name: An examination of tacit and explicit linguistic knowledge in name translations”. Journal of Brand Management19 (8): 655–665. doi: 10.1057/bm.2011.62
    https://doi.org/10.1057/bm.2011.62 [Google Scholar]
  37. Shields, Vickie Rutledge , and Dawn Heinecken
    2001Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self-Image. Philadelphia (PA): University of Pennsylvania Press. doi: 10.9783/9780812204025
    https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812204025 [Google Scholar]
  38. Shrum, L. J. , and Tina M. Lowrey
    2007 “Sounds convey meaning: the implications of phonetic symbolism for brand name construction”. InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 39–58. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Shrum, L. J. , T. M. Lowrey , David Luna , D. B. Lerman , and Min Liu
    2012 “Sound symbolism effects across languages: Implications for global brand names”. International Journal of Research in Marketing29: 275–279. doi: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2012.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijresmar.2012.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  40. Torresi, Ira
    2010Translating Promotional and Advertising Texts. Manchester, UK – Kinderhook (NY): St Jerome Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Villar, Maria Elena ; Ai, Di ; and Segev, Sigal
    2012 “Chinese and American perceptions of foreign-name brands”. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 21 (5): 341–349. doi: 10.1108/10610421211253632
    https://doi.org/10.1108/10610421211253632 [Google Scholar]
  42. Wyer, Robert S. Jr.
    2007 “Comprehension processes in advertising: Words, sentences, and narratives”. InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 249–276. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. You, Yuxiang
    2005 “Flexible transference of culture image in translation of brand name”. Journal of Anhui Normal University33 (1): 110–114.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Zeng, Yan
    2010 “On the aesthetic principles in the translation of trademarks”. Journal of Guangdong Peizheng College10 (2): 45–48.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Zhang, Shi , and Bernd H. Schmitt
    2007 “Phonology and semantics in international marketing: What brand name translations tell us about consumer cognition”. InPsycholinguistic Phenomena in Marketing Communications, ed. by Tina Lowery , 59–78. Mahwah (N.J.): L. Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Zhang, Lihong
    2011 “Strategies of transferring cultural images in brand names with reference to functionalistic translation theories”. Journal of Jilin Radio and TV University11: 38–39.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): brand name; emotion; image; memorability; mémorabilité; nom de marque; traduction; translation; émotion
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error