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5 Worst Translation Mistakes That Almost Risked the Brand

5 Worst Translation Mistakes That Almost Risked the Brand

Getting your message across in another language is not always an easy task. In the Translation Field the slogan “You get what you pay for” always seems to stand true.

Translation may seem “expensive”, however if you are looking for a specific target audience, and do not want to make your company look foolish with a Google Translation you should highly consider paying for the translation. Here at Translation Cloud, we only work with Native Speaking Translators. So when your work is getting translated, we ensure accuracy, quality, and proficiency.

Some companies, choose to take the cheap route, the easy route, and work off of the first translation they receive. This has been the case for many brands, and you would think after one others would learn, however this is not the case. Incorrect translations could lead to a loss of customers, decline in business, and other serious consequences for your brand. Jeopardizing something you represent and have been successful with just to save a few bucks, is  a risk that should never be taken.

Below are some examples of brands that almost risked it all for these translation mistakes… do not let this happen to you!

  • Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz is a brand especially known for their luxury. “Bensi” is how they tried to enter themselves into the Chinese Market, without enough research being done they were entering in the market with the slogan “Rush to Die.” After some changes were made they entered into the market with the name “Benchi”, which means “Runs quickly as in flying.”

  • The American Dairy Association

I am sure you are familiar with the famous “Got Milk?”slogan, well when they decided to translate  this slogan for the Spanish Market it was translated as “Are you Lactating?”. While this may have only been the case in Mexican Spanish, it still caused a great laugh, and the company had to change the slogan to “Milk Life” to prevent any future mishaps.

  • Clairol

Clairol launched a curling iron in Germany, the “mist-stick” – without enough research being done, they were not aware that “mist” is a German slang word for manure. So they were trying to sell “Manure-Sticks.”

  • Frank Perdue Chicken

Perdue’s tagline was “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” when they went ahead and translated that into Spanish, let us just say it didn’t got the way they planned. “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate,” I would take they were not looking to head that direction with their product.

  • Puffs Tissues

Puffs tissues went ahead and marketed themselves in Germany under their actual name, without any serious research being done. Unfortunately for them, a “puff” in Germany is another name for a brothel.

You may have also noticed we left a pretty famous Brand Mistranslation off the list, the Chevy Nova, which is actually an urban myth! The myth goes – when the Chevy Nova was launched on the Spanish market between 1972 and 1978 and they were unsure why it sold so poorly, someone finally pointed out to Chevy that the word “nova” means “doesn’t go” in Spanish!

Even with this myth so long ago, there have been and we are sure will still be companies that take the easy route, do not research, and give the world a good laugh on mistranslation.

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