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zhouhaochen

Does Pleco have a Chinese name?

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zhouhaochen

Like most people involved in Chinese language education I am a big fan of Pleco and recommend it frequently to our students. We always try to speak as much Chinese with our students as possible and try to avoid English in communication. However, now I have run into the problem how to say Pleco in Chinese? Pleco itself says 普利科 on their dictionary but that is quite a weird transliteration...Ia dictionary of Pleco's standing surely would deserve something better?

 

Any suggestions?

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iand

What's wrong with that transliteration? It seems good to me, and it was probably come up with by the creators.

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mikelove

It was indeed, yes. (invented by a long-ago girlfriend, actually)

It's awkward in the sense that it sounds like a transliterated foreign word, but there isn't really an elegant Chinese meaning translation for "Pleco" like there is for 微软 or 苹果. I believe the most common Chinese name for the original catfish is 下口鯰, and in addition to being a pretty awful name in general (implying we are, like the fish, bottom-feeders), nobody knows what the heck 鯰 is (though one can be reasonably certain from

the components that it's some sort of fish and pronounced something like "nian").

And we felt that inventing a totally unrelated Chínese name like 極好厉害汉语词典 would probably introduce more confusion than it was worth - people wouldn't be sure we were taking about the same company / product.

If I had it to do over again I would probably have come up with a better name than "Pleco" (consequence of starting a company at 18 hoping only to make beer money writing Palm OS apps), but given that we're stuck with that now, an upbeat transliteration seems like the most practical Chinese name choice.

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Angelina

something with 鱼 can work 

 

陪鱼?

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zhouhaochen

something with 鱼 makes sense as that's what is shows on the App icon and what I would first associate with Pleco

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Angelina

I am going to call it 陪鱼 from now on because it sounds warm  :P

 

The Babel fish  :P

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Lu

Thanks for the origin story. (That sounds sarcastic but I mean it.) I kind of disagree about 鲶 though, it probably has its downsides as a name, but on the other hand, it literally says 'studyfish'. Even better than Babelfish.

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AdamD

鲶得多: word-of-mouth propagated by informal Pleco ambassadors

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AdamD

轻人 - the post-PalmOS generation

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roddy

鲶鲶有余 - the sneaking suspicion it's time to delete your flashcards. 

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mikelove

Heh, very good case for 鯰 here - we actually did use that one by itself as the icon in PlecoDict 1.0 on Palm (and Windows Mobile) but switched to the simpler 魚 for 2.0 (and subsequently for iOS/Android) because too many people were confused by 鯰 and frustrated that it was showing up in the one place they couldn't use our app to find out what it meant :-) In any case 魚 is enough of a recognizable trademark now (and a legally registered one after a couple of competing app makers in China started discretely slipping 魚's into their icons) that changing it back to 鯰 would be problematic.

 

But I suppose we could consider turning 鯰 around and using the two-character version 念魚 (shows up in a few Google results, actually, though the only vaguely relevant dictionary citation I can find is a reference to 伏念魚 in Morohashi) as a Chinese company name - keeps the 'study fish' plus the vague connection to catfish, uses two characters that any intermediate Chinese student will know, and no troubling homonyms for niànyú (or nim6 jyu2 for our Cantonese friends) immediately come to mind.

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roddy

It's just occurred that we can invent any words we like and Mike can get them added to the dictionary...

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mikelove

Yep - just because I'm a committed descriptivist doesn't mean I can't abuse my power for amusement from time to time :-)

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zhouhaochen

I really like the idea of 念鱼  as it continues to use the 鱼 character and makes sense for Pleco with a bit of wittyness. Might be good to get the opinion of a few Chinese native speakers as well though.

 

And the ability to just add that then to the dictionary is indeed quite amazing - you truly have awesome powers Mike!

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imron

Surely it should be 魚念 though?

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Demonic_Duck

In answer to the original question, though... Unless/until Pleco gets an official Chinese name, The most authentic way to do it would be to just say "Pleco" (approximated as /pǔlàikǒu/ if you want even more authenticity). Don't use Apple/苹果 as your point of reference... Think more along the lines of iPhone.

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