Annabel Kelly reports on the implications of the language barrier in China particularly when it comes to the development of a logo.
Excluding Hong Kong, less than 1% of the Chinese population speak English. There are close to 300 living languages in China but most (70%) speak Mandarin. With thousands of unique characters and the same symbol or word meaning different things depending on the tone, verbal or written context that it is used, Mandarin is ranked as one of the hardest languages for an English speaker to learn. With the potential for confusion, even among natives, puns are abound in China as is the incidence of bloopers in poorly translated marketing communications.