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Huawei Technologies is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company.  Mark Metcalf sent in this photograph of a scene at their corporate headquarters in Shenzhen:

This is the fourth in a slideshow of seven photographs accompanying an article in the Wall Street Journal (12/4/16): "Huawei's Hard-Charging Workplace Culture Drives Growth, Demands Sacrifice." The slideshow was originally published on 4/5/16: "Inside Huawei's Campus."

The caption reads:

Once a year, each business department of Huawei chooses winners of the so-called Future Star award. The winners typically receive medals at ceremonies.

What caught Mark's attention was the original text that is translated as "Where there are Huawei-ers there are heroes".  It reads:

gǔ shìqì 鼓士气 ("drum up morale")

shàng zhànchǎng 上战场 ("go to the battlefield")

zuò gòngxiàn 做贡献 ("make a contribution")

dǎ shèngzhàng 打胜仗 ("win the battle")

How they got from that to "Where there are Huawei-ers there are heroes" requires quite a leap of imagination, and also perhaps faith.


  1. Cervantes said,

    December 17, 2016 @ 5:52 am

    Perhaps it goes down easier as paraphrase than as translation.

  2. B.Ma said,

    December 17, 2016 @ 7:35 am

    Or perhaps they just devised two slogans independently.

  3. WSM said,

    December 17, 2016 @ 10:29 am

    Agree with B. Ma – I take this as another example of using a secondary script (pinyin in addition to characters) or languages (English in addition to Mandarin) to provide an additional channel of information, in the same way that pinyin can be used to provide a semi-independent "subtext" to a primary meaning rendered in characterst.

  4. Jay Sekora said,

    December 17, 2016 @ 12:28 pm

    Seems like the audience for a slogan in English is going to be very different than the audience for a slogan in Chinese. I’d guess that the Chinese slogan was actually aimed at their own employees, while the English slogan was aimed at people like the readers of the Wall Street Journal, so designed to promote their global brand.

  5. jick said,

    December 18, 2016 @ 2:37 pm

    I think they did the right thing. It's devilishly hard to translate a slogan/catchphrase to another language without sounding tacky. (Like all those phrases in, say, : 손끝에 닿는 미래 (future that is touching your fingertip)? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

    If you have the authority, much better to just devise a different message for each language that serves the intended goal.

  6. Paolo said,

    December 18, 2016 @ 8:03 pm

    It's not translation but rather transcreation.

  7. dainichi said,

    December 19, 2016 @ 7:15 am

    > It's devilishly hard to translate a slogan/catchphrase to another language without sounding tacky.

    I agree. It was a good idea not to use a literal translation. But… pardon my sarcasm… am I the only one who thinks they ended up sounding tacky anyway?

  8. Smith said,

    December 20, 2016 @ 11:18 am

    Having some familiarity with Huawei's corporate culture, I would agree with B. Ma that two separate slogans were devised with no attempt at translation, but tend to disagree with Jay Sekora's suggestion that the English targets readers of the WSJ, or indeed foreigners in general. It looks much more like a slapdash for-internal-consumption effort, using "clever" phrasing understandable to basically all local Huawei staff. Huawei's advertising outside China is usually pretty good, well-localized and decidedly not characterized by awkward phrasing put together to please some middle manager with approximate English. The (English-language) corporate website shows an interesting mix of the two styles, with an added dose of MBA-ese slipped in here and there just to remind us that language also can be hell.

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