Fox News: What's in a name?

2009-10-02 — Good Characters (Leave a message)

Naming cars is no easy task for automakers, as Steve Brown reported for Fox News. Brown asked Andy Chuang, president of Good Characters, about a huge naming blunder made by Nissan.

Nissan translated the name for its Bluebird sedan as Lan-Niao in Chinese. In Mandarin, lan means blue and niao means bird—no problem.

However, the reading of the characters for lan niao in the Minnan dialect (Hokkien-Taiwanese) is lan jiao, which has a completely different—and very embarrassing—meaning. Watch the video below to hear Andy’s explanation.

Chinese: 日產的「藍鳥」汽車對講閩南語的消費者來說帶有男性生殖器官的不雅聯想。比較合適的名稱是「青鳥」。