File: Batteries, What Not To Name Them
Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].
Do you ever look at a product and wonder if someone was asleep at the switch when they named it?
Trust Fire? For batteries? REALLY?
Believe it or not, they actually get great reviews:
Again one of those posts that display a lot of ignorance about things that come from the Far East. The translated name of the company is Integrity Lightning Technology Co., Ltd. (诚信神火科技有限公司). That name would draw a chuckle from you American’s as well, so the clever Chinese took the characters for trust (信) and fire (火) and put them together: fire you can trust, hence Trust Fire. No, batteries shouldn’t burst into flames, but should have enough fire in them to last long. If you think a little outside the box you could have come up with this as well.
If you are old enough and think back to 30-40 years ago you might remember the Japanese coming on the market with Toyota’s, Nissans, Mitsubishi’s. Strange names then, but household names now. And do we break our tongues over the Yaesu, Kenwood or Icom names? Start learning a bit Chinese and you will be able to pronounce Wouxun or Baofeng correctly and know there are names with positive meanings and here to stay.
Darn, maybe I should start writing a column for AmateurRadio.com to bring some Asian views across. Sorry for being so cross, but this really irks me. Now if you go back to Dead Valley and I’ll retreat to Bummerville.
Hans, Hans, Hans… my friend, where is your sense of humor? There was no intent to disparage our Asian friends in any way. Marketing “mistakes” are common and there is no shortage of them here in the good ol’ US of A.
I think there is a big difference between making fun of a product name because it’s foreign or simply “sounds funny” versus making fun because it has negative connotations to a perspective English-speaking buyer. I appreciate the explanation of the origin of the name, but it doesn’t give Integrity Lightning Technology a pass for their lack of marketing sensitivity to their western customers.
Hans, I would be happy to accept your offer to write for us from an Asian viewpoint. I feel every ham could benefit from a wider perspective.
I went to a trade show once…. this company was one of the booth holders.
I fail to see the humour and it is certainly not a marketing “mistake”. You automatically assume that the company produces for a western market. Check their website and you see that they are not. As most companies they started to produce flash lights for a local/regional market. That they are good at what they are doing is proven by the fact that they now sell their products in your country. You may think the name is ill chosen, but you still buy their stuff because it is good and cheap, something that the US likes, but cannot produce themselves any more.
As for the lack of sensitivity of the marketing department: I had rather that they wouldn’t be so sensitive to what the west wants, but use their Chinese name instead of a concocted English name. Your name is one of the few things you own and can be proud of. And if the other respect you they will use your proper name (and learn to properly pronounce it too).
Again, sorry for being a bit cross. I hope that people keep an open mind and be very considerate before they write or say something, especially in a public place like this well-read web site. That’s how I try to act, that’s what I teach my children. I really missed that in this article, hence the comments.
I was going to say that it means something completely different in Mandarin than it does in English. Got beaten to it by an irrationally irate Chinese ham apparently..
HOWEVER, if you are going to translate a brand name into another language it does make sense to ask a native speaker about potential negative connotations. It’s fair to say that Chinese industries would benefit from this advice especially if the product will eventually be marketed to native speakers.
Again, even if a product is to be marketed in China or the asian region only (English is the universal language that is used when Chinese talk with Koreans and to Japanese and Singaporians, etc since their languages are VERY different).. getting it right in the language you print on the product is a good idea. No hurting feelings intended here– its business.
This is exactly the same reason that jokes don’t translate well from language to language.
OTOH, DXExtreme purchases are basically a virtual equivalent of buying Chinese street goods, so you can expect things like this Matt. Put those in the charger backwards or short them out while fully charged and likely they will live up to their name no matter how good they are!
Its like DieHard batteries, LOL Very bad naming.
I’m in advertising/marketing so I get to help decide on names for stuff all the time. It’s a challenge! All the good names are taken, trademarked, or mean something totally different in other countries and cultures. Plus you have to be able to get the URL. But we would never consider marketing a product overseas without first checking the connotation of the name in that country’s language.
The classic story is when Chevrolet introduced the Nova, they wondered why it failed so dismally in Spanish-speaking countries. Then someone pointed out that “No va” in Spanish means “Won’t go.”
And Hans, your thoughts are appreciated, but I did not get nearly the same impression of Matt’s post as you did. I thought it was simply a light-hearted comment on an interesting thing he noticed and I certainly did not detect any rancor or ill will. I hope the Chevrolet folks will not think I was being mean-spirited with my comment above.
BTW: I love my Chinese 2M/70CM HT and the Chinese-made shirt I’m wearing today.
Don Keith N4KC
I LIKE TO BUY AMERICAN ; HOWEVER EVERYWHERE I GO THEIR IS ONLY CHINESE PRODUCTS . I OWN A TEN-TEC AND AN AMERICAN AMPLIFIER . THE HT’S I OWN ARE MADE IN JAPAN . I DONT TRUST CHINAS QUALITY CONTROL ENOUGH TO SPEND MY MONEY ON A CHINESE HAM RADIO . I WANT MORE AMERICANS BACK TO WORK .
Chevrolet started to sell the Nova in Latin countries. “Va” means “to go” and “no” negates it, so: “No go”.
Every country goes through their phase of language quirks.