As if flying 10 to 14 hours to Asia all the time wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass, I’ve been jumping through the hoops of getting local language business cards. You would think it would be an easy process but as Engrish reminds us, translating to and from European and Asians languages is not a trivial process.
For my Chinese business cards, a coworker who lived in Taiwan (and is moving back there) mentioned that while technically correct, the Taiwanese would find my title of é«˜ç´šç”¢å“ç¶“ç† to be particularly funny. He loosely translated it as “High Class Product Manager” which isn’t quite what we were going for. He recommended è³‡æ·±ç”¢å“ç¶“ç† as a replacement. Maybe I should just go with ç™½å±è‚¡å¤§ç†±è³£ and be done with it – I doubt anybody would forget that business card.
Then for my Japanese business cards I sent them over to a friend in Japan. After being told the font was “too traditional” (that is, “Chinese”) he said his coworkers’ comments were that my title was “not normal or somehow funny sounding.” They recommended a katakana replacement of è£½å“æ‹…å½“ã‚·ãƒ‹ã‚¢ãƒžãƒãƒ¼ã‚¸ãƒ£ãƒ¼.
After all this fun with Chinese and Japanese is there any doubt that I’m concerned about my Korean cards? Unfortunately my Korean friends have never lived there and I’ve never been to Korea so I don’t know a lot of qualified Koreans to ask. I’ll have to rely on our outsourced Korean sales reps to give this translations the OK.
It may be a pain, but I think it’s worth spending the time to get it right. Of course by having these cards done my employer is sending a pretty clear message – “you’re going to be in Asia a lot!” 🙂