quilm asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

How to avoid translation hazards in cross-cultural brand publicity? Consider these gems.?

1. Locum, a swedish company sent out Christmas cards in 1991, with a logo containing a heart instead of "o" - it became

I (Heart) ***.

2. Matsushita Electric was promoting a new PC in US market and used its cartoon character Woody Woodpecker, with the slogan "touch Woody's Pecker".

3. The Swedish furniture giant IKEA thought of the name "Fartfull" for its new range of desks. Enough said.

4. "Traficante", an Italian mineral water company found a great reception in Spain's underworld because the word in Spanish means "drug-dealer".

5. Umbro, the UK sports manufacturer, had to withdraw its new trainers called "Zyklon" because it resembled the name of the gas used to poison Jews in Nazi concentration camps.

6. Honda introduced a car called "Fitta" in Nordic countries, which translated into "woman's genitals".

So much heck - how the hell should one decide on a Brand name then@

Also, translation services are pretty expensive. How do small online companies avoid?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    That's a tough one. The on-line translators are a good start and they could weed out some possible choices. But they would not have the current slang terms - these vary from area to area, not language to language. Even a good translator from one country might miss something that's offensive in another. This crops up a lot.

    For example, many years ago I worked for a company bought by Brits. One was in the office one day and went up to the receptionist and asked for a rubber. She turned seven shades of red. He wanted an eraser.

    There is no sure way, but one approach might be to work through your distribution network. If they are going to distribute in other countries, they must have contacts there. Run any new names through them and ask them to check at the local level.

    Good luck!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Translation is not just about language. I am a translator and I learned this:

    -Learn the culture of the language, history for each country. One country that speaks the language will handle the meaning in a different form from others who speaks the same language.

    -Learning slang will help a lot, but when we translate, we use the classic language in professional bases.

    -Some cases it would be unfair to translate novels and poems.

    -Keep your research active on new slang and new words that average people is using, so you will keep your work on the top.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here is a great service called Website Translator.That will translate any web site supporting PHP into 11 major languages in less than 5 minutes. Triple your search volume, AdSense clicks and sales by offering versions of your web site in: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese (simplified).


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  • 1 decade ago

    google has a free simple translation service. i would try that first in the languages of the countries in which you going to try to sell. you also need contacts in those countries before you sell in them...ask those contacts, tell them what you are afraid of.

    you forgot "bite the wax tadpole" (translation of cocacola) when coke decided to go to china.

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