Off topic: Interesting topic: Translation problems
Thread poster: Hang Nguyen-Padfield

Hang Nguyen-Padfield  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:44
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Mar 10, 2003

I found this on the net when looking for information on translation problems. I thought you may find this as amusing as I did.

1. Coors put its slogan, \"Turn it loose,\" into Spanish, where it was read as \"Suffer from diarrhea.\"

2. 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.\"

3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.

4. In Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan \"finger-lickin\' good\" came out as \"eat your fingers off.\"

5. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, \"Salem-Feeling Free\", was translated into the Japanese market as \"When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.\"

6. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what\'s inside, since most people can\'t read English.

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

8. 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).

9. In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into \"Schweppes Toilet Water.\"

10. Pepsi\'s \"Come alive with the Pepsi Generation\" translated into \"Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave,\" in Chinese.

11. We all know about GM\'s Chevy Nova meaning \"won\'t go\" in Spanish markets, but did you know that Ford had a similar problem in Brazil with the Pinto? Pinto was Brazilian slang for \"tiny male genitals\". Ford renamed the automobile Corcel, meaning \"horse.\"

12. Hunt-Wesson introduced Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos. Later they found out that in slang it means \"big breasts.\"

13. 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.\"

14. 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.\" Instead, 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.\"

15. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as \"Ke-kou-ke-la\", 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 \"ko-kou-ko-le\", translating into \"happiness in the mouth.\"

16. In Central American Spanish, the name of our Mexican restaurant \"Chi-Chi\'s\" literally means \"titties.\"

17. Some folks from England got a huge laugh from the name of an airline back then: The Trump Shuttle (Donald Trump\'s airline). They said in England, \"Trump\" translated into \"fart\"!

18. And finally, not even Nike is exempt. Nike has a television commercial for hiking shoes that was shot in Kenya using Samburu tribesmen. The camera closes in on one tribesman who speaks in native Maa. As he speaks, the Nike slogan \"Just do it\" appears on the screen. Lee Cronk, an anthropologist at the University of Cincinnati, says the Kenyan is really saying, \"I don\'t want these. Give me big shoes.\" Says Nike\'s Elizabeth Dolan, \"We thought nobody in America would know what he said.\"


Pamela Peralta  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Amazing Mar 11, 2003

Thanks Hang, it\'s amazing how the bad translation of simple words or meanings can cause such a mess. The one that made me laugh aloud was the \"Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave,\" in Chinese, just amazing!

Pamela Peralta


Dave Greatrix  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
Dutch to English
+ ...
On a similar theme Mar 11, 2003

When I was in North Africa, I was amazed to see an image of a woman with short plump hairy legs on packaging for a pair of tights. Apparently, this is because the perception of \"a nice pair of legs\" in Europe is totally different to that of Africa.


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