Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chevy's Volt in China: Why not call it the Volt?


China Car Times reports that the new Chevrolet Volt was unveiled at an event in Shanghai today, though it won't be going on sale until sometime in 2011.

I'm always curious to know how the names of foreign products are Sinicized for sale in the Chinese market. In this case, GM has picked the Chinese name 沃蓝达 (wo lan da), a name apparently intended to sound somewhat like "volt". (Incidentally that's the same 沃 used in Wal-Mart in China: 沃尔玛.)

I wondered why they didn't simply call it "volt" in Chinese. I mean, they do have electricity there, and it's also measured in volts. So I looked it up.

The word "volt", meaning a measurement of electricity, is translated as 伏特 (fu te), which sounds exactly like the Chinese translation of Ford Motors, "福特" (fu te).