13 Sep English Translation Mistakes that are so Embarrassing It’ll Make You Wince
Marketing your brand to other countries can be daunting. The message must get across another culture and language. A lot of it can be lost in translation. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see companies make translation mistakes every now and then. Here are some English translation mistakes which costed a lot to be fixed.
Embarrassing English Translation Mistakes
Nothing sucks like an Electrolux
Electrolux is a Swedish vacuum manufacturer. When they first introduced their brand to the American market, they included their tagline, which unfortunately sounds inappropriate. While they wanted to highlight their product’s power, they only ended up offending some of the consumers with their English translation mistakes.
Suffer from diarrhea
Coors’ “Turn it loose” catch phrase is short, fun, and catchy. Well, that is in English. However, if translated into another language, the message might not sound as fun as it is. When Coors started promotional campaigns in Spain, they found out the hard way that the equivalent of their tagline is “Suffer from diarrhea.
Eat your fingers off
Who doesn’t know KFC’s famous line: finger-licking good? The phrase is so catchy they decided to use it when the company started marketing in China. Without a doubt, they are successful as they have established more than 4000 restaurants in the country. However, back in 1980s when they opened their first restaurant in Beijing, they shocked a lot of customers when their translators directly translated the slogan to “eat your fingers off.”
Every car has a high-quality corpse
When Ford tried to impress the Belgian customers, they decided to use the catchphrase “ Every car has a high-quality body.” The only thing is that it was translated into “ Every car has a high-quality corpse.”
The world’s local bank, HSBC, has made a huge and expensive mistake when they mistakenly translated and printed “Do nothing” instead of “Assume nothing” slogan. While it does not sound half as bad as the others, it certainly cost them a lot as they paid about 10 million usd for the campaign already.
American Motors were shocked when they found that their newly released car, Matador, sales flopped in Puerto Rico. That is until they discovered that the name of the car literally translates to “killer”, an ominous name that no driver wants to be associated with.
In the 1980s, Braniff Airlines found themselves in the middle of a controversy as they try to release a new campaign “Fly in leather” to emphasize that passengers will now enjoy leather-seats. This became successful in Latin America and America. However, it didn’t do so well in Mexico as the slogan, which was translated to “Vuela en Cuero”, means “Fly naked.”
English translation mistakes do show up every once in a while even with big companies which have large marketing budgets. Not using quality translation and localization services may end up costing you much more in the long run.