A Game of Sounds

19th August 2016

If you’re looking to binge watch Game of Thrones over your summer holiday, be warned, this blog post contains some spoilers!

If you’re still here and have seen the latest season, then you’ll know how one of the more intriguing characters got their name, as well as the events that led up to the creation of one of literature’s most versatile words – Hodor – a word that means nothings and yet is able express so much. It should come as no surprise that yet another story arc comes to a close with the dramatic death of the protagonist, but the death of Hodor differed from the usual splattering of blood or a cross-bow bolt to the un-mentionables. With Hodor, the writer also had to explain the long-running speculation in the character’s stunted vocabulary and origin of the name, which turns out to be a contraction of ‘hold the door’.

The author of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, can be forgiven for not predicting the runaway success of the books’ TV adaptation, and so it might be expected that some of his linguist tricks don’t work as well in other languages. However, as Imgur user HooptyDooDooMeister demonstrates below, the translators involved have done a very good job in translating the creation of Hodor in to twenty one different languages.

The process of crafting language in this way is something that transposes very well to marketing. A brand slogan that works in English may not work very well in Chinese, and is certainly something that can’t be done with machine transition. One of the more infamous brand blunders being “Kiri”, a brand of cheese from the French company Groupe Bel, that had to be renamed to “Kibi” in the Iranian market because in Persian the word “kiri” is used to describe something rotten or rank.

The use of professional linguists is now more important than ever as companies and brands look to a more global market place and a more universal message – one that translates across all languages and all territories.

If you, or your Client, are looking to translate marketing material, or any other documentation, then please contact Foreign Tongues Translation and see how we can help you build an international brand.

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