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Off topic: The 11 Worst Foreign Ad Translations
Thread poster: RominaZ

RominaZ  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 23, 2012

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The following ad translations were taken from Business Insider


The American Dairy Association

*Original: "Got Milk"

*Translation: "Are You Lactating?" in Mexico



*Original: "Finger-lickin' good"

*Translation: "We'll eat your fingers off" in China
(Bonus: an ad for JFK Airport's food court purposely advertised restaurants with the tagline, "You'll definetly eat your fingers." Yes, it was misspelled to boot).


Perdue Chicken

*Original: "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken"

*Translation: "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused" and "It takes a virile man to make a chicken pregnant" in Mexico..



*Original: "Come alive with Pepsi!"

*Translation: "Pepsi bring your ancestors back from the dead!" in Chinese



*Original: "Turn it loose"

*Translation: "Suffer from diarrhea" in Spanish



Original: "Every car has a high quality body"
Translation: "Every car has a high quality corpse" in Belgium

The Jolly Green Giant

*Original: "The Jolly Green Giant"

*Translation: "Intimidating Green Monster" in Arabic



*Original: "Schweppes Tonic Water"

*Translation: "Schweppes Toilet Water" in Italian


Parker Pens

*Original: "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you"

*Translation: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant" in Mexico. Embazar [sic] is a tricky verb.



*Original: Coca-Cola

* Translation: Ke-Kou-Ke-La means "female horse stuffed with wax" or "bite the wax tadpole" in Chinese, depending on the dialect


*Original: "Drivers wanted"

*Translation: "Chauffeurs wanted" in Spanish

Source: Business Insider


Stefano Papaleo  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:06
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Fake? May 23, 2012

Maybe it is just me but once you get to Business Insider all the pics are just ordinary pictures that remind of the bad translation, not those of the incriminated ads, no source whatsoever. How reliable is this? Perhaps the title is a bit misleading and should be rephrased.

I think these are simply jokes about potentially funny mistranslations but not the real deal. Am I wrong? They are simply too good to be true, esp. considering these are big corporations.

Clue: Schweppes (or any other tonic water) has been in Italy for decades.. never seen it mistranslated as toilet water. Come on... do you really think no one would have noticed that beforehand???

I'd be glad to be proven wrong.


Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
Most are fakes or urban legends that were never confirmed... May 23, 2012

These "alleged" translations have been doing the rounds since the early 90s, and indeed most are downright inventions or just partly true (as in the case of Coca-cola, where it was Chinese shopkeepers and not the company that used that ideogram arrangement - the product localization they adopted was actually a very elegant solution).

You can check some rebuttals on and honestly, posting what amounts to blogspam as news is... questionable to say the least.


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The 11 Worst Foreign Ad Translations

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