Global Lingo Blog

Top six translation marketing mistakes

Translation is vital in order to expose your businesses to expanding economies and international markets, including the BRIC nations.

To target these markets efficiently your marketing communication efforts must be accessible to all foreign markets and presented in their own language, in order for them to understand:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • When you are doing it
  • Where you are doing it
  • Why you are doing it
  • How you operate

To ensure your company mission and vision isn’t lost in translation and misinterpreted, you need to use professional translators.

Machine translation costs time and money

Machine Translation is initially cheap and is often free, but the damage mistranslation causes can be very costly and time consuming. So often we see the use of machine translation disrupting the flow of a business’s message and ultimately tainting their hard won reputation. Context is key, and machine translation is unable to handle that.

What means one thing in one language, means something completely different in another, so it’s vital that the message is adapted to suit your market. After reading The Business Insider’s article on the worst foreign ad translation fails, I came up with, in my opinion, the top six translation marketing mistakes.

Top six translation marketing mistakes

  1. Perdue the poultry company’s slogan “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” in Mexican directly translates to “It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused” and “It takes a virile man to make a chicken pregnant”
  2. Schweppes Tonic water directly translates in Italian to Schweppes toilet water.
  3. Parker Pens slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” directly translates in Mexican to “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”.
  4. “The Jolly Green Giant” for Green Giant in Arabic directly translates to “Intimidating Green Monster”
  5. Coors slogan “Turn it loose” in Spanish translates to “Suffer from Diarrhoea”
  6. KFC’s “Finger Lickin Good” translates in Chinese to mean “Eat your fingers off” (I’m sure promoting cannibalism isn’t one of KFC’s missions)

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