Airbnb爱彼迎:论名字的重要性

2017年3月22日,全球民宿短租平台Airbnb推出中文名:爱彼迎。

尽管官方表示”爱彼迎”是历经一年,经过多方考察才筛选确定下来的,但这并不能让广大键盘侠们买单。社交平台上几乎一面倒地给出了负面评价,调侃之声不断,苹果和微软无故躺枪,不纯真的联想也层出不穷,甚至Airbnb的Logo图形和配色也被开玩笑。

国外公司进入中国市场必然面临众多挑战——政府政策、消费者习惯、人才聘用、市场推广等等,即使本土企业都疲于应对,更别说一家外国公司了。在众多难题中,一个叫得响的中文名无疑是融入中国市场的重要元素。因为正如曼德拉曾说的,用外语交流,哪怕对方能听懂,话语只是进入他的大脑,但用对方的母语来交流,所说的话却能深入内心。一个叫得响的中文名字,可以直接俘获人心,至少第一印象绝对没差。不仅如此,国家政策也要求外国企业在中国发展必须设置中文名字。消费者在日常使用交流中,也大多会用品牌的中文名,尽管也不排除例外,比如提到IBM时,很少说它的中文名”国际商业机器公司”,而是直呼IBM。

成功的本地化名字非常多,比如可口可乐、宝马、奔驰、家乐福,这些中文名字本身就无时无刻不散发着品牌的魅力。失败的案例也很惊艳,最经典的当属可口可乐的”前身””蝌蝌啃蜡”,可以说上世纪二十年代的这个译名直接葬送了Coca-Cola当年在中国的前途。正反两方面的例子都在讲说一个事实:名字非常重要,可以成就企业和品牌的发展,也可以葬送它。

当然,在好名字和孬名字之间还有很多可能。微软的Bing刚推出的时候,也有很多调侃的声音,甚至本土的”天猫”刚露面时也不被看好。而时至今日,相信广大用户消费者都已经习惯、默认接受了它俩。尤其是天猫,在我消费我光荣的氛围下,在不遗余力的宣传推广下,可以说这只”猫”已经实现了华丽转身。所以,排除”蝌蝌啃蜡”这样几乎绝对的奇葩,对企业名字还不能太早判死刑,因为它的命运更取决于企业自身的发展。一个平庸甚至有些争议的名字完全可以通过企业自身的实力来扭转乾坤。

至于”爱彼迎”被很多网友关联至成人情趣品,不得不说他们实在太调皮、太邪恶了。但是”爱彼迎”的确算不上出彩,因为它把最基本的问题搞砸了:读音。”彼”和”迎”这两个字分开来读没有任何问题,本身的寓意也还好,但由于”迎”的拼音Ying是整体认读音节,没有声母和韵母的拼读区分,在发音上跟韵母”ing”基本是一样的,而”彼”的拼音Bi碰到(Y)ing后,就会形成连读效果,也就是”Bing”的发音。而bing这个拼音也没有产生跟Airbnb相关的积极联想,比如拼音为bing的负面意象汉字有”病”,还有不相关的中性字饼、冰、兵、并……品牌名字在中国市场的确面临方言的问题,但普通话这关是必须要过的。”彼迎”在一起所可能产生的普通话连读发音效果,是个不小的硬伤。可怜”必应”躺枪,也热闹了”爱饼””iBing”等恶搞版本。

有意思的是,一些善良的评论说名字起到这份儿是绝对用了心的,因为这样可以引起人们的兴趣、让人们记住。也难为他们设身处地为”爱彼迎”着想。谁知道呢?毕竟,”爱彼迎”还没有到”蝌蝌啃蜡”的程度,只能祝福它成为”天猫”了。

Sorry, free internet is not here

As a translator in the digital age, you cannot survive without internet. The online information is a living dictionary and library to ensure the accuracy and fitness of the translation. Also, the project communication is mainly done through internet – the email, e-conference, and even instant messages. Furtherly, you need the online platforms to do the marketing so as to get more high-end offers. The importance of internet cannot be over emphasized. In fact, internet is indispensable for all industries in this century.

However, the essential philosophy of internet – the democracy of knowledge sharing – has been manipulated by political elites in some regions, such as North Korea, Cuba, and unfortunately in my homeland China. I should have been satisfied with the internet services compared with that of North Korea and Cuba. Some of the domestic services are somewhat nice and convenient – the e-commerce, the taxi hailing, video sharing, domestic social media platforms, etc. But the essence is lacked in the core: a free internet, the true democracy feature of internet.

Two days ago, in January 22, 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PRC announced a new police which aims to regulate the internet access services. It says the current internet access services market in China is too messy so it is necessary to regulate and shape it – clear up those illegal services and maintain a healthy development of the internet industry. It aims to complete the whole regulation job by March 31, 2018. I am so shocked by one of its regulations: No VPN is allowed unless being approved by the telecommunication authorities.

The reason most people use VPN is because lots of excellent internet services are blocked by the government. For example, Google services are not available in China, but there is no qualified equivalent to substitute Google. When I need to search new terms in translation jobs, only Google can give the most efficient and effective hits. The Chinese equivalent Baidu.com is dull, especially in searching English content. Google is blocked because it refuses to play nice with the Chinese government, but rather sticks to its rule of playing no evil. The internet service here is becoming complicated which mingles with politics. I need Google, and I know little about politics. I just want the free and true internet service to keep my daily translation possible. But the fact tells me: sorry, free internet is not here.

A neat and clean internet market is expected to be available next year, which is hard to image how the small businesses like me could thrive. What is worse is that I do not know how to stop and handle with this terrible thing, and how to contribute to a better and democratic homeland for my children. What is described in George Orwel’s dystopia novel 1984 is kind of playing alive in the land where I am living. Terrible.

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There are available Chinese punctuation rules approved by national standardization institution, but they basically apply to general writings, like publications and documentations, not covering subtitles, a specific writing genre, let alone translated Chinese subtitles. This causes inconsistency among different subtitle translation producers. Here I want to briefly picture the existing punctuation solutions of subtitle translation into Chinese.

The issue: To copy the source punctuation or not, that is a question.
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