Who has not seen a translation for a business that has gone terribly wrong?
We have a giggle and move on. For a business that can mean loss of customers and business.
There have been many cases where an ad or a brochure have been translated. Wrong words have been used and it has completely changed the meaning and the message has been lost. Often it happens due to the different ways that countries word their sentences. A sentence that is correct in one language, may translate into something different in another language.
“Come alive with the Pepsi generation”
When Pepsi was trying to translate its famous slogan into Chinese, it didn’t go so well. Not sure what people in China must have thought of Pepsi and its new slogan. The new slogan promised to “bring your ancestors back from the grave”.
“Turn it loose”
This was the Coors beer slogan. Translated into Spanish it is: “Suffer from diarrhoea.”
The HSBC bank had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage done by their ad. Its catchphrase “Assume Nothing” was mistranslated as “Do Nothing” in different countries.
IKEA and their unique names went a little far with this one. It tried to sell its “Fartfull” children’s mobile workbench in the US. “Fart” means “speedy” in Swedish, but in the US, it obviously means something totally different. The “Fartfull” workbench made a speedy removal from shelves.
Marketing material for the Pope’s visit didn’t quite go to plan. To promote the Pope’s visit to Spanish speakers, a t-shirt was made with “I saw the Potato” (la Papa) instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa).
The American Dairy Association may need to rethink that one?
Their popular “Got Milk” campaign translated into Spanish as “Are you lactating?”
“It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”
You would have thought that Parker Pens had made a new contraceptive pen.
This ad was mistranslated into Spanish as into “it won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
“Fly in leather”
American Airlines came up with an interesting way to get Mexicans to fly with them. They advertised to first class passengers by promoting their campaign “Fly in leather.” The translation read “vuela en cuero” which means “fly naked” in Spanish.”
“Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”
Swedish household appliances giant, Electrolux, may have the best vacuum cleaner, but unfortunately not when it sucks. The American market was not impressed.
“The Mist Stick curling iron”
Clairol may need to come up with a different one to get the sales. Unfortunately, “mist” in German means “manure.” One little word is all it takes.
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