We examine decision makers' use of tacit linguistic intuitions and explicit linguistic knowledge for brand name translations from English to Chinese. We present a market study, which reveals that managers intuitively use linguistic sound and meaning characteristics, that is, which sounds and meanings best fit for the Chinese translation of the English names. A subsequent experiment shows that generalized types of existing name approaches (that is, whether the names are translated based on sound or based on meaning) are employed as explicit benchmark standards for new names. The results of the two studies suggest that brand naming is a process that involves accessing deeply engrained linguistic structures, as well as explicit linguistic knowledge and rules. We suggest directions for future research on name translation and discuss practical applications of our findings.
Schmitt, Bernd, and Shi Zhang. "Selecting the right brand name: An examination of tacit and explicit linguistic knowledge in name translations." Journal of Brand Management 19 (January 2012): 655-665.
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