Sinonym enhances coverage of local dialects in naming in China

Sinonym enhances coverage of local dialects in naming in China

What do your brand names really mean in Chinese? What do your brands want to express? According to the consultants of Sinonym in Beijing, there is no question about it: the choice of a brand name in appropriate Chinese, usually called naming in China, has a critical role to play in the branding strategy in the middle Kingdom.

Naming in China: complex but crucial

However, most of the time, when it comes to decides a new Chinese name for western brands, phonetic resemblance with the original name is the main criteria, with specific attention paid to the meaning of the characters. Sometimes, the Chinese name is based on the semantics of Chinese characters and not on their pronunciation, as for example Microsoft (微软, Weiruan). 微means “microphone” and软means “Soft”.

Regarding the complexity of the linguistic landscape in China, to create or to transpose a brand into China is not an easy task, in particular for a marketing team consisting of Western members. It is thus important to surround itself with a team of Chinese collaborators who will know how to detect and find the suitable name in China, with all the linguistic and cultural sensibility conferred by their mother tongue. Sinonym is naming agency, with strong rigor and reliable methodologies, which shows interesting process.

naming in China

Sinonym provides a complete solution for naming in China

During the process of naming in China, there are several points to be verified:

  • A name “easy to pronounce” for the Chinese;
  • A name which does not look like, closely or remotely, to a name with a negative meaning in Chinese;
  • A name which does not lend itself to plays on words ;
  • An ideograms without any meaning (character used in Chinese for their phonetics) or with a meaning 100% positive 100;
  • All these criteria must be regarded according to all the local dialects; in particular the ones where the brands might be available.


Sinonym offers methods and solutions to find the most suitable name according to all these point. In particular, Sinonym is the very first agency to gives clients a native insight into dialects to ensure that their naming choices are appropriate and inspiring.

To achieve this goal, Sinonym partners with Phonemica, a website which gathers and archives stories in every one of thousands of dialects of Chinese thanks to a network of dialect speakers from nearly each village and each neighborhood in China. Thus, Sinonym surveys the large population of speakers who use Phonemica to make sure that your name is suitable with any dialect in China. 

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