Off topic: The Worst Slogan Translations Ever...
Thread poster: Soizic CiFuentes

Soizic CiFuentes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:32
Member (2003)
English to French
Apr 9, 2008

Pour s'amuser un peu entre deux traductions !

The Worst Slogan Translations Ever...

13) When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

12) Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux."

11) Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "Manure Stick."

10) Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."

9) Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.

8) When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read.

7) Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.

6) Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken," was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."

5) When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.

4) An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa).

3) The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are You Lactating?"

2) General Motors had a very famous fiasco in trying to market the Nova car in Central and South America. "No va" in Spanish means, "It Doesn't Go".

1) The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the Wax Tadpole" or "Female Horse Stuffed with Wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokoukole", translating into "Happiness in the Mouth."


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Urban legend Apr 9, 2008


2) General Motors had a very famous fiasco in trying to market the Nova car in Central and South America. "No va" in Spanish means, "It Doesn't Go".


Not so; see the real story here.

The truth is that the Cheverolet Nova's name didn't significantly affect its sales: it sold well in both its primary Spanish-language markets, Mexico and Venezuela.

The Chevy Nova Legend lives on in countless marketing textbooks, is repeated in numerous business seminars, and is a staple of magazine and newspaper columnists who need a pithy example of human folly. Perhaps someday this apocryphal tale will become what it should be: an illustration of how easily even "experts" can sometimes fall victim to the very same dangers they warn us about.


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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
as Good Words says Apr 9, 2008

... many of those - if not all - are urban legends, but they make fun stories.

Another such one is the EN-RUS-EN translation of "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"- which came back into EN as "the vodka is good, but the meat is spoiled"


Fun stories, though.


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Nadejda Vega Cespedes  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:32
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
True story Apr 9, 2008

Here is a non-legend: Light energy "exists outside of time and space" in Russian, but "is out of time and space" in English.

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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:32
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Even close languages may be problematic Apr 10, 2008

I've heard a story that some company selling pizza translated a slogan from Russian “Каждому украинцу по пицце” (“A pizza to every Ukrainian”) into Ukrainian as “Кожному українцю по пиці” (“A slap into face to every Ukrainian”).

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Silvestro De Falco  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:32
Member (2006)
Italian to English
+ ...
Vacuum cleaners Apr 10, 2008

And what about "Electrolux sucks"?
Silvestro


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same joke, alternate wording Apr 10, 2008

Silvestro De Falco wrote:
And what about "Electrolux sucks"?


What about it?

Soizic CiFuentes wrote:
12) Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux."


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