Avoiding multilingual gaffes
Thread poster: Richard Bartholomew

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:55
Member (2007)
German to English
Jul 16, 2008

Check out the article at http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/07/smallbusiness/language_translation.fsb/index.htm . Does the author mention any multilingual gaffes that you haven't already heard? I particularly enjoyed "...an antipsychotic medication that translated to "dogs are afraid of me" in Mandarin."

Has anyone here ever warned a customer about the "unintended connotations" of a marketing phrase or name? If so, would you care to share?


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:55
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Politics in advertising Jul 16, 2008

I noticed once on a potential client's English-language website, the slogan "Take a step to the right." When I pointed out the political connotations, and suggested that they meant something like "take a step forward" or "make the right move," that was the last I ever heard from them, although I had done a sample editing job, they had seemingly approved my rates, and we had had quite a bit of back-and-forth email. Perhaps they were offended. I notice the English-language website now no longer exits. (I also notice the company is now advertising for translators at a much lower rate than mine, however.)

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Avoiding multilingual gaffes

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