Is your company name internationally mobile?

Naming your company is important. More so when you're expanding abroad, and when the company name happens to mean something else in the ...

Naming your company is important. More so when you're expanding abroad, and when the company name happens to mean something else in the local lingo...

By Karn G. Bulsuk


Low cost communication and the internet has made it easier than ever to expand your company into new markets. Brands which a generation ago would have been almost unheard of outside their home countries can now push into new markets regardless of where they're located.

Of course, this does mean you need to become more careful with your naming. There are names which have unfortunate meanings in different languages. For example, on a recent trip to Bangkok, I came across a clinic whose name can be easily misconstrued.

In Thai, "porn" is a common component of female names meaning "to be blessed". Unfortunately, the meaning doesn't quite translate into romanised English, to say the least.

"Kinki" refers to Kyoto and its surrounds,
but in English, the connotation is different.
Now in their defense, they're probably not planning to expand overseas. But of course you also have other unfortunate brands with full intention to move globally. The Korean car brand KIA, for example, when written in all caps, may mean "Killed in Action" to those more familiar with military acronyms. Not an auspicious name for a car.

Just because you have a certain name doesn't mean you're stuck with it. Kinki University, located in Osaka, Japan, has recently decided to change its name to Kindai, officially adopting its pet name that all Japanese Universities have. Changing it's joke-fodder name is to make the university more globally appealing while avoiding any mistaken interpretations on the purpose of the university.

Naming is an essential part of your company, and what may work in one country may not work in another. Research is the key, and if in doubt, ask: a native speaker of the target market may be better than any Google search possible.

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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Is your company name internationally mobile?
Is your company name internationally mobile?
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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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