Posted By P & L Blog



The Chinese New Year begins on Thursday, February 3rd and ushers in the Year of the Rabbit. People born during a rabbit year are said to be considerate, fragile, modest, calculating, ambitious, well-mannered, fashionable, obsessive,  and sophisticated. Sting, Tiger Woods, Angelina Jolie and Orson Welles were all born in a rabbit year.

If you eat the right foods, good luck, more money and a long life may be in your future. Here are a few to try.

For a long life: Eat long noodles or long green beans.

Why?: For their shape but don't cut them into smaller pieces.

For wealth:  Eat dumplings or eggrolls.

Why?: Egg rolls resemble gold bars and dumplings look like old Chinese silver and gold ingots.

For good luck: Eat oranges and tangerines.

Why?: The Chinese words for these fruits sound like luck and wealth.

Happy new year, Xin Nian Kuai Le, 新年快乐.


Photo by Andrew_B under Creative Commons license.

Posted By P & L Blog

Frank Sinatra

Was Frank Sinatra right when he said that "orange is the happiest color"?  You probably wouldn't agree with him if you were a Catholic in Northern Ireland where the color has long been associated with Protestant loyalists.  The colors you use in your overseas marketing materials may send the wrong message if you don't know what they mean locally. 

Black is not always the color of mourning.  Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese associate white with death and grief, and Indians may wear white after a family member dies.  

Thinking of going green? Westerners equate it with eco-friendly products, but it translates to a symbol of sickness in some Asian countries.   Some Colombians think it is just plain ugly.

We use red in warnings and alerts, but brides in China wear red wedding dresses because the color signifies joy and good fortune.  The Chinese word for red sounds like "hong", the word for prosperous. 

Diana Vreeland, a former editor of Vogue, said that pink is "the navy blue of India" because it is so widely worn.  It brings to mind Hello Kitty, Barbie and those ubiquitous pink ribbons in the U.S.  But pink may not be a safe choice: pink roses symbolize suffering and even death in Greek mythology, and pink beads represent poverty to Zulus.

As for orange, in feng shui it represents organization and concentration. For Hindus, it is a sacred color word by swamis. Orange is said to stimulate mental activity because it increases oxygen supply to the brain.  It reminds me of safety cones, Halloween, and anything cheap. How does it make you feel?



Xerox's International Color Guide can prevent you from making serious cultural blunders.



 Photo by Lewy. Licensed by Creative Commons.



Posted By P & L Blog

There are two forms of written Chinese: simplified and traditional.  Simplified is used in mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Nations.  Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong use traditional Chinese characters.   The differences between the two have nothing to do with how words are pronounced or what they mean, only the way they are written.


Simplified Chinese is easier to write because the characters require fewer strokes. It was developed in the 1950s as a way to promote literacy in the People's Republic of China, and the reform reduced the number of strokes needed to write a character by an average of one-half.  Traditional characters are more complicated and take longer to write; some characters require as many as thirty-three different strokes.  To give you an idea of the difference between the two, below are the simplified and traditional characters for "Hua" (China).



So, which form do you need? Whenever you begin a translations project, make sure you specify where the translation will be used.  If you are launching in China and Hong Kong, you will need two versions:


  • Mainland China: simplified Chinese text
  • Hong Kong: traditional Chinese text

Posted By P & L Blog

Little boy with Chinese flag


The number of internet users in China grew an incredible 41.9% in 2008, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre.  At the end of the year, the number of internet users in China, 298 million, almost equaled the size of the United State population.


Almost 188 million people accessed the internet access through mobile phones in 2008, an increase of 133% over 2007.


Don't forget that China's population is 1.3 billion and internet penetration is slightly under 23%.  The growth potential for smart marketers is limitless.


What's your web strategy in China?




 Photo courtesy of Snow Kisses Sky




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