Selecting the right translated name for the Chinese market can translate into success or failure in the market. Christie's and Bordeaux producers are both well aware of this and have come to an agreement on the "right" translation of Bordeaux names.
Decanter.com recently published an article titled, "Bordeaux Approves Official Chinese Names" heralding Bordeaux approval of Christie's first standardized Chinese translations of names for the Classed Growth Chateaux.
No surprise, Christie's official translations all subtly or evidently suggest wealth, pristige, class, and in some cases elegant, poetic country living. They are generally translations based on pronunciation, but a few like Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande or Marquis d'Alesme have the literal translation of "Countess" and "Marquis" in the Chinese names. In most, the word "chateau" is translated as a "wine manor", and only a few are translated as "castle", including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild.
Choosing such posh names might suggest a creative marketing effort on Christie's part to help them sell wines moving forward. Then again it's just as likely that they are following the naming convention of "things foreign" to China; when it comes to imported goods in China, it's common for the official translations to attempt to evoke a sense of aristocratic, high class status.
Some Chinese characters are especially favored in translation because people are quick to associate them with the upper class, and a sense of elegance or sophistication of historical Western societies' aristocrats that one reads about in classic novels like Jane Eyre (a favorite piece of Western literature of the Chinese people); to wit, each of the four Chinese characters that comprise the name "Mr. Rochester" is very commonly used in translation.
Still, the list does include some names that are quite blatantly trying to appeal to consumers focused on buying premium products that show their social status. For example, previously Haut-Brion has been translated as 红颜容, also a transliteration that doesn't have much to do with the French name, but in Chinese it suggests a woman's rouged visage, quite a beautiful translation as it's unique and feminine. But Christie's chose another translation - 侯伯王, literally, Marquis, Count, King - clearly setting a different tone.
Settling the Grand Cru Chateaux names might breathe new life into waning Chinese interest in the Bordeaux, or at a minimum help the Bordelais with branding efforts of these wines in the world's fastest growing wine market.
Image above from Decanter.com. Read Full Article by Rebecca Gibb at Decanter.com here.
Contributed by Sarah Mayo, TLN Editor and Tianshu Ge, TLN Translator