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I'm trying to translate a company name ("puddle") in to Japanese. I put it into Google Translate, but when you translate words, you're translating their meaning rather than the word itself, which is usually what you're looking for. But when translating a company name, essentially you want to find the letter for letter equivalent of that name.

What's the best way to approach this?

Also, how can you check that you haven't accidentally translated your company name into an obscenity?

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As far as I know, Apple doesn't translate itself as ringo in Japanese, so I don't think translating puddle would make sense. – Andrew Grimm May 13 '12 at 2:35
@AndrewGrimm Which makes me wonder: could a radical rephrase save this question? Something like "How should I go about translating my company name in Japanese?" – ジョン May 13 '12 at 2:40
@ジョン: If the asker edits the question as you suggested, I will vote to reopen. I do not think that other people should edit a question drastically (rather they should ask a new question separately, perhaps with a link to the original question, if they want to know about the new question) because that would put the responsibility of choosing the best answer for the new question on the original asker, who may not be interested in the new question. – Tsuyoshi Ito May 13 '12 at 12:05
What is the point of just editing the title without changing anything in the actual question? I am afraid that you are missing the point of ジョン’s comment. – Tsuyoshi Ito May 13 '12 at 12:48
That looks better, thanks for persevering :) I will vote to re-open. (and mention @TsuyoshiIto in case he'd like to take another look) – ジョン May 13 '12 at 14:37
up vote 4 down vote accepted

What's the best way to approach this?

Ask someone who is fluent in Japanese to help you out. Another problem people run into is when the name they want to use is already in use. A good example is the company Logitech (the computer accessory maker). In Japan they are known as Logicool because another company that was already in Japan had a similar name.

Also how can you check that you haven't accidentally translated your company name into an obscenity?

Same as above, to verify your name is okay, you need to ask someone who understands Japanese well. Another common problem is when you use Katakana, it can mean different things, for example, パドル could also be translated back into English as "paddle", so it might be best to leave the title in English, or think of a different name.

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