Saturday, December 15, 2007

Manifesto and Maisiweier (Maxwell House)

This will be the manifesto of this new blog entitled, "Familiar Brands (in a foreign Language)". The goal of this is to show people one of my favorite hobbies and that is looking for familiar brands (at least to western eyes) translated into Chinese. I will post at least one pic a day with the brand and brand history to show the peeps what it is all about. This site will not be about knockoff brands but more about foreign brands trying to break into the market here in the middle kingdom. As far as I know this the first site dedicated to talking about and cataloging translated brands.

The first one is always "Good to the Last Drop"

This is a phonetic translation (like most western brands in China) with 麥(mai) being the first character which means grain. 斯 (si) is the next character and it means "that". The next character is 威(wei) which is a verb meaning to take by force. And the last is 爾 (er) or (thou, you, that).

So as you can see the brand 麥斯威爾 or maisi weier (Maxwell) is a close approximation to the sound of the brand and has no literal meaning in Chinese. The pinyin maisiweier looks like it could be a German beer right? This is a common issue when it comes to translating brands. It seems the company is more intent on keeping the sound of the name than the meaning of the name. Also notice the font and color scheme is the same, even without knowing it is Maxwell House if you take the brand and look at it you can tell it is supposed to be Maxwell house(a neat trick in my opinion). There is much more to come and there is a mountain of translated brands that have yet to be analyzed in a large collection.

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