This week, we are going to look at the Chinese names of popular Western chains, famous among locals and foreigners alike.
But first, let’s see what names you already know – or perhaps can guess.
Look at the first picture and try to put a name and a label of the chain together:
You can check your answers with the following picture:
Now let’s have a closer look at each.
Do you like coffe, 咖啡 (kāfēi)?
The name of this coffee shop was translated in Chinese by sound. Try to read it out loud:
☕ 星巴克 xīngbākè
And you’ll see that it’s very close to the original name!
The most popular fast-food restaurant, McDonald’s, in Chinese is:
This name copies the sounds of the name McDonald. Sounds kinda similar, right?
As all we know, ‘KFC’ is an abbreviation of ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’, and a ‘chicken’ in Chinese is 鸡 jī:
So, the last character in the Chinese name for KFC is”chicken”, giving us a hint of this restaurant’s signature dish – fried chicken.
4: Burger King
This example wasn’t translated by sound like the other names – it was translated by meaning. This method is called “tracing”: you translate a lexical item by components:
Burger into 汉堡 hànbǎo; King into 王 wáng.
That’s how we get:
5: IKEA Restaurant
Perhaps you’re thinking “What is IKEA doing in this list?” The answer is – because of its food court!
You can visit IKEA whenever you crave some comfort food like meatballs with mashed potatoes.
The IKEA’s food court in Chinese would be:
宜家餐厅 🍝 yíjiā cāntīng
It might be useful to know that 宜家 means a “harmonious family”, so this word was translated with the help of two methods at the same time: transcription and tracing.
That’s all so far! What other Western restaurants or any other chains do you like to go in China?
Let us know about your preferences on twitter!