CatchThis Blog / international naming

Laurel Sutton

April 25, 2011

In the midst of the current financial wreckage, the big news is about a big buyout: the New York Stock Exchange is gonna get bought. At the moment it’s not clear who the new owners will be – the German exchange Deutsche Börse or the homegrown NASDAQ. And of course everyone is wondering about the […]

Laurel Sutton

April 14, 2011

Once upon a time, Catchword named a company Kijiji. It was a non-US version of Craigslist, part of eBay, and the name was supposed to be globally neutral: from everywhere and nowhere. The name we came up with, Kijiji, is a Swahili word that means “village”. Eventually eBay ditched the name (except in Canada) and […]


July 20, 2010

Think you can vet a brand name destined for a foreign country simply by running it by someone you know who speaks the language fluently? Think again. It takes a lot more than that to assess whether a name will fly with non-English speaking audiences, and to spot potentially disastrous associations. In this 5-minute video […]

Laurel Sutton

July 1, 2009

I follow Stephen Fry on Twitter and he’s loads of fun – he loves languages and actually understand linguistics. He’s in Germany now and offered proof that a mobile phone really is called a “handy”, use of which is both amusing and practical (in my opinion). But he also recorded a short audio clip poking […]

Laurel Sutton

April 28, 2009

Today we present a guest blog by Andy Chuang of the firm Good Characters, experts in Chinese naming. We forwarded Andy an interesting story about the Chinese government placing restrictions on personal names, thinking he’d have a great perspective – and he was kind enough to write this wonderful blog post explaining the reasoning behind […]

Mark Skoultchi

October 13, 2008

Using European languages to create product names and company names for American brands can be a powerful strategy or a serious misstep. Here’s when it works, and why. What do Häagen-Dazs, Saint Benoît and Clinique have in common? Answer: they’re all successful European brand names for stuff manufactured right here in the good old U.S. […]

Burt Alper

September 29, 2008

It turns out that it’s not as simple as translating your product branding into the language of the place where you’re going to sell the thing. A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research tested the effectiveness of marketing for different products with college students in New Delhi. Packaging copy was written in […]

Mark Skoultchi

August 18, 2008

Linguistic and cultural appropriateness are important factors when launching a global brand. We all know about the Chevy Nova. Naming a car with a word which means “doesn’t go” in Spanish is probably not the best idea (although we’ll dispel this naming myth later.) But the point is valid: If you are launching a global […]

Burt Alper

July 17, 2008

As the Beijing Olympics draw closer China is back in the forefront of the world’s consciousness. Western companies have been drawn to the promise of China’s enormous market potential for decades but there are complicated issues to consider when launching your brand in this incredible country. Checking in with some naming experts will definitely wade […]

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