Only So Many To Go Around

English

This summer, I attended a 3-day workshop to make a RepRap, that is to say a 3D printer. We had the pleasure of meeting Adrian Bowler, the original inventor of the RepRap, and Josef Prusa, who designed the machine we built.
Adrian Bowler explained to us how he came to coin the term RepRap: he was looking for something short, simple and descriptive, like most business or product designers. He settled on Replicating Rapid Protoype and shortened it to RepRap, thinking it was a previously unused term… And as it turned out, he was wrong. Reprap is a term used in oceanography, and as it turns out, oceanographers are having a much harder time of it googling the term now, or providing visibility for their research.

Such are the challenges awaiting those who seek to name a brand or a product, and expanding internationally comes with its own challenges. This is when the services of translators might also come into play: they can be used as consultants to say if the name is already taken in a specific country, if it means something in the target language and if yes, what that means. For instance, Lush’s henna Caca rouge and Caca marron may well be a deliberate choice, and one suited to their target customers, but it would take a French-, Italian- or Spanish-speaking person a hefty dose of irony and trust for the brand to apply « poo » on their hair!

To borrow a conclusion from the great Terry Pratchett, as told by officer Carrot in The Fifth Elephant, “When you think about it, there are so many syllables to go around.”

Français

Cet été, j’ai participé pendant trois jours à un atelier de fabrication d’une RepRap, c’est-à-dire d’une imprimante en trois dimensions. Nous avons eu le plaisir de rencontrer Adrian Bowler, l’inventeur de la RepRap, ainsi que Josef Prusa, qui a conçu le modèle que nous avons construit.
Adrian Bowler nous a expliqué comment il avait choisi d’employer le terme de RepRap : il cherchait un nom court, simple et clair, comme la plupart des concepteurs de produits et d’entreprises. Son choix s’est finalement porté sur Rapid Replicating Prototype (Prototype de reproduction rapide), qu’il a abrégé en RepRap, pensant que personne n’avait utilisé le terme jusque-là… Il s’est avéré qu’il avait tort. On utilise le terme de RepRap en océanographie, et les océanographes ont désormais beaucoup plus de mal à avoir des résultats de recherche pertinents quand ils saisissent le terme sur Google, ou à donner de la visibilité à leurs recherches.

Tels sont les problèmes qui attendent ceux qui cherchent un nom de marque ou de produit, et l’expansion internationale apporte son propre lot de difficultés. C’est là, aussi, que des traducteurs peuvent apporter leurs services : ils peuvent servir de consultants pour dire si le nom est déjà pris dans un pays particulier, s’il signifie quelque chose dans le langage cible et si oui, quoi. Par exemple, les hennés de Lush dénommés Caca rouge et Caca marron ont pu faire l’objet d’un choix délibéré, s’appliquant parfaitement à leur cible, mais des Italiens, des Français ou des Espagnols auraient besoin d’une bonne dose de second degré et de confiance envers la marque pour s’en mettre sur les cheveux !

Pour finir, citons l’incomparable Terry Pratchett, qui fait dire à son officier Carrot dans Le cinquième éléphant que « quand on y pense, il n’y a pas tant de syllabes que ça. »

Italiano

Ho participato quest’estate, durante tre giorni, a un gruppo di fabbricazione di una RepRap, in oltre parole una stampante in tre dimenzioni. Abbiamo avuto il piacere d’incontrare qui Adrian Bowler, il creatore della RepRap, e Josef Prusa, il concettore del modello che abbiamo costruito. Adrian Bowler ci ha spiegato come è venuto a sceltere il nome di RepRap : cercava une nome breve, semplice e illustrativo, come la grande parte dei concettori di produtti e di ditte. Ha finalmente deciso di usare Rapid Replicating Prototype, abbreviato in RepRap, pensando che nessuno l’abbia utilisato. Se sbagliava… La parola è utilisata nell’oceanografia, e adesso gli oceanografi tengono difficoltà nel cercare il loro reprap su Google o a dare visibilità alle lore ricerche.

Tali son i problemi di cui che cercano un nome per la loro marchia o il loro prodotto. L’expanzione internationale contiene anche le sue difficoltà. Traduttori possono anche essere utili qua : possono essere cosultanti e dire se il nome sta già preso in un paese, si significa qualche cosa e cose evoca. Per esempio, i henne di Lush che si chiamano Caca rouge e Caca marron furono magari deliberamente scelti, però gli Italiani, Francesi o Spagnoli che le utilizzarono avrono una bella dosa di ironia e di confidenza per il marchio quando se le metterono sui capelli!

La conclusione sarà del grande Terry Pratchett, che fa dire a su officier Carrot in The Fifth Elephant che “quando se ne pensa, non ci sono tante sillabe da utilizzare.”

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