I am sort of a stickler for accuracy. So it bothers me when companies attempt to use foreign words or phrases on their products simply because they look cool or sound catchy. Unless their designers are fluent in this foreign language or they have a native speaker on the payroll able to translate and proofread the text before printing, the company just ends up looking foolish.
Case in point—Superdry. This clothing brand is all the rage right now in the UK, and judging by stores popping up in more than 100 countries, is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide. “Inspired by a trip to Tokyo in 2003, Superdry fuses design influences from Japanese graphics and vintage Americana, with the values of British tailoring. The result – unique urban clothing, with incredible branding and an unrivalled level of detailing.”
The Japanese influence is very noticeable in the company logo, which includes both kanji and hiragana characters (two of Japan’s three writing systems). When we popped into the Superdry store at the outlet mall on Saturday, I asked my friend Yumiko, who is visiting from Japan, the meaning of the Japanese writing. She just laughed and said, “I think it is not Japanese.” When translated, the writing is utterly nonsensical to a native speaker. According to the Unmissable Japan website, the logo reads “kyoduko kanso (shinasai),” which could be deciphered as “maximum dry (do).” Perhaps an online translation service’s attempt at “Do Superdry?”
It seems odd to me, not to mention downright lazy (maybe even irresponsible?), that a company touting its “unrivalled level of detailing” would allow such gibberish in its logo. Obviously the designers assume their target market has no working knowledge of the Japanese language and would therefore be blissfully unaware of looking the fool. I, for one (and maybe the only one, looking at sales revenues), am refusing to buy Superdry products on principle. In my opinion, a company with £178.8 million in gross profit for 2012 can afford to hire a translator. When Yumiko tells me she can read the logo, then I might consider purchasing a new hoodie.
Posts I commented on today:
(In case you missed the reason for this, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April, and though I posted every day, I was lousy at visiting and commenting on other participants’ blogs. So for each day in May, I’ve vowed to visit and comment on three posts from the various blogging communities whose members have supported my efforts. At least one post MUST be from a new blog I haven’t yet visited.)
What I learned as I made my way through the A to Z Challenge (Paula’s Place) new blog of the day
Friday Fictioneers–Flying Her Colors (This, That, and the Other Thing)
The Dress (40again’s Blog)