How Do You Say It?

Pronouncing some of the unusual names or words encountered in our industry can be tricky, but a good try is worthwhile. Here’s a short guide for reference.


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We’ve all had the experience of being uncertain about how to say a name or word that looks foreign or unfamiliar. I gathered a few of the ones that have given me pause and offer my attempt at a useful and entertaining pronunciation guide.

AgieCharmilles (EDM equipment). Agie: Say ODD-jee to be close enough. This is an acronym for German words that roughly mean general company for industrial electronics. Charmilles: Say shar-MEE. This French word names an attractive garden hedge found near Geneva. It was an early symbol for the company. AgieCharmilles is the EDM brand of GF Machining Solutions.

Dassault (3D design software/PLM). Say daw-SO. The sound is prettier than the spelling.

Emuge (taps and cutting tools). Say ee-MOO-gee. The g is hard as in go. The name stands for “M und G,” the initials of the German founders.

FANUC (Japan’s leading producer of CNC units, robots and industrial automation). The word began as an acronym for Factory Automation NUmerical Control. It rhymes with panic. “Don’t panic—it’s a FANUC” is how I remember it.

Fives (The global engineering group that is parent to Cincinnati, Giddings & Lewis, Liné Machines and others). Say FEEV. It’s a district in France. Liné (note the accent mark on the e), say lin-AY. This is a French family name.

Gnutti (transfer machines). Saying NEW-tee is close. NYEW-tee is even closer to the Italian. 

Heidenhain (CNCs and industrial automation). Say HIDE-en-hine. This is a family name from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Tip: If you see a German word with two vowels together, such as ei or ie or ai, remember that the second vowel gets pronounced. For example, Zeiss (metrology) rhymes with ice, but Schiess (large mills and lathes) rhymes with geese. Be very careful with this one. Trust me.

Heule (deburring, chamfering). Say HOY-leh.

Huot (cutting tool storage). Say HUGH-ett.

IBAG (high-speed spindles).  EYE-bag is okay in this country. The Swiss say EE-bog. IBAG is another acronym. It stands for German words that roughly mean industrial necessities company.

Junker (grinders) is YOONG-ker. Obviously worth the effort to pronounce correctly.

Saint-Gobain (grinding wheels/abrasives). SAN-go-BAN will work as passable French. This global company takes its name from the town in France named after a seventh century martyr.

Seco (cutting tools). This is the Latin verb for “I cut.” Now that’s classy! And the classical Latin pronunciation is SEH-koe.

Seiki is a Japanese word that means precision. It sounds like SAY-kee. Many Japanese companies use this word after a family name or a place name.

Starrett (precision tools and saw blades) rhymes with carrot. This company is headquartered in the Massachusetts town of Athol (ATH-awl), which does NOT rhyme with any other word.

Final tip: If you’re at a trade show and mispronounce a company name or foreign word, don’t worry. Having a genuine smile will make up for any awkwardness. Business may be global, but friendliness is universal.