The trademarked name on this “High-speed USB 2.0 extension cable” is “MYE Meiyuer Cables”.
Students of Romance languages might be forgiven for thinking ‘Meiyuer’ is a kreative spelling of the word ‘meilleur’ meaning ‘better’ in French, because that double ‘ll’ sounds like a ‘y’ and it’s a plausible positive-connotation company name.
- French: meilleur
- Spanish: mejor
- Italian: meglio
- German: besser
- Dutch: beter
- Danish: bedre
- English: better (ameliorate means ‘to make better’—further proof that English is schizophrenic)
Okay, so probably this Chinese company did not choose a Romance language name. What does it mean? I dunno, let’s ask Line Dict.
This tool, which I love, by the way, is coming up with the name of an opera composer named Étienne Nicolas Méhul, because ‘Meiyuer’ is presumably as close a transliteration as is possible. But I guess I didn’t really expect the dictionary to tell me the meaning of a brand name.
Probably the company name uses ‘měiyù’ meaning ‘good reputation’? But it could also be using the characters for ‘beautiful jade’… Hang on, why don’t I just look up Meiyuer, the company, online?
Ohhhh, now I’m getting flashbacks of the editing/fact-checking job I had that involved looking at a lot of Chinese companies’ websites. They’re practically all red and clunky looking with ugly fonts, bad punctuation and English that ranges from unintelligible to unintentionally poetic…
Anyway, this company’s name in characters is 美鱼儿, which is pronounced ‘měiyúér’, and in English apparently means ‘beautiful fish child’. (I’m still mystified.)
‘(Little) Mermaid’ is close (but no cigar).
Interestingly, it seems the company uses both the traditional and simplified versions of the characters… maybe because Guangdong borders Hong Kong, where traditional characters are the norm.
The point of all this was to say that in Singapore, I’ve noticed a tendency to make acronyms using one letter for each syllable rather than each word, because in Chinese, all the syllables are (more or less) considered separate words.
For example, if you look at the word Meiyuer, you probably wouldn’t split it into MYE, right? Unless you knew pinyin, in which case it’s obviously Mei Yu Er, even though they didn’t write it that way.
Oh, you thought I had something to say about the cable itself?