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Thread: company motto

  1. #1
    ohmyrichard is offline Member
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    Default company motto

    Hi,everyone.
    These days I am invited to give lectures on English writing to adult students on an in-service training programme. Yesterday morning, during recess, one of the students asked me about how to translate a company motto. The company, a building material manufacturer, intends to place the English translation of the motto right under its Chinese equivalent on its Brief-Introduction webpage. Its classical Chinese motto is "言行九鼎 德通天下",which is usually used to describe a paragon of virtue and literally means "He always lives up to his words and enjoys high public regard." In my view, although a company seeking prosperity can be compared to a man who always wishes for respect from others, it may be a better idea to have the literal meaning of the Chinese motto slightly altered to suit this business situation. I plan to translate it as "Honesty is the best policy and quality matters most, we believe." I won't have the English translation corresponding word for word with the original version, for literal translation oftentimes confuse and mislead the readers. Rather, I think this treatment works best: the Chinese version will be intended for the Chinese readers while the English version will be instantly understood by international visitors of the webpage. I would like to have your comments on the acceptability of my English translation on the part of native speakers.
    Thanks.
    Richard

  2. #2
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: company motto

    Please consider a shorter "tag line" for the motto, if you are able:

    Suggestion:

    We believe in honesty and quality workmanship

  3. #3
    ohmyrichard is offline Member
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    Default Re: company motto

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    Please consider a shorter "tag line" for the motto, if you are able:

    Suggestion:

    We believe in honesty and quality workmanship
    Thanks. Would you please tell me whether "quality workmanship" means that "we make every effort to ensure that the quality of our products meets your(the customer's) requirements and is the best"? The company will have to emphasize the quality of its products in their motto.
    Thanks.
    Richard

  4. #4
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: company motto

    That might be:


    ensuring the best in quality products to meet your requirements

    but that is very wordy for a motto.

    (this is just my opinion)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: company motto

    Hi, Richard. You translate the Chinese phrase as "He always lives up to his words and enjoys high public regard." I'm a corporate trainer, so I see this sort of thing a lot. My own company's motto is "Get It Right the First Time," which is not too far from the first part of your motto.

    If you always do what you say, that is not so much honesty as it is integrity or reliability. You follow through on your promises.If you enjoy high public regard, you have an excellent reputation, or you could be said to be famous. If you enjoy high regard because of something you do or something you are, you are celebrated for that thing. (That's where the word "celebrity" comes from. Celebrities are "celebrated" for their excellent acting, their sports performance, and so on.)

    I'm not a Chinese speaker, but I may be able to help with the sound of the motto in "corporate English". Using a cliche (overused common phrase) like "Honesty is the best policy" in a modern corporate motto sounds a little strange to me. I've played with some of the good words a little, and this is what I came up with:

    We take pride in our reputation for integrity.

    I know that in some cultures, "pride" in your abilities is seen as arrogant (thinking and speaking too highly of yourself), but in the United States and Canada it is more like being glad that people think well of you. To take pride in a reputation for integrity would mean that you value what your industry thinks of you, and that your actions will show that you seek to keep that regard.

    A motto with the word "we" in it helps to inspire your employees, too. They can feel like they also have a good reputation to protect. It says to your customers that you are that man in the Chinese saying who is known for his trustworthiness.

  6. #6
    ohmyrichard is offline Member
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    Default Re: company motto

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwell View Post
    Hi, Richard. You translate the Chinese phrase as "He always lives up to his words and enjoys high public regard." I'm a corporate trainer, so I see this sort of thing a lot. My own company's motto is "Get It Right the First Time," which is not too far from the first part of your motto.

    If you always do what you say, that is not so much honesty as it is integrity or reliability. You follow through on your promises.If you enjoy high public regard, you have an excellent reputation, or you could be said to be famous. If you enjoy high regard because of something you do or something you are, you are celebrated for that thing. (That's where the word "celebrity" comes from. Celebrities are "celebrated" for their excellent acting, their sports performance, and so on.)

    I'm not a Chinese speaker, but I may be able to help with the sound of the motto in "corporate English". Using a cliche (overused common phrase) like "Honesty is the best policy" in a modern corporate motto sounds a little strange to me. I've played with some of the good words a little, and this is what I came up with:

    We take pride in our reputation for integrity.

    I know that in some cultures, "pride" in your abilities is seen as arrogant (thinking and speaking too highly of yourself), but in the United States and Canada it is more like being glad that people think well of you. To take pride in a reputation for integrity would mean that you value what your industry thinks of you, and that your actions will show that you seek to keep that regard.

    A motto with the word "we" in it helps to inspire your employees, too. They can feel like they also have a good reputation to protect. It says to your customers that you are that man in the Chinese saying who is known for his trustworthiness.
    Thanks for your great explanation.

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