Monday, May 12, 2008

My favorite "translation" mistakes

While on the topic of translation faux pas, here are some of my favorite mistakes....

1. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign 'Got Milk?' prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are you lactating?"

2. Coors put its slogan, 'Turn it Loose', into Spanish, where it was read as 'Suffer from Diarrhoea'.

3. 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 a use for the 'Manure Stick.

4. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, they translated their 'Fly in Leather' campaign literally, which meant 'Fly Naked' (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.

5. KFC's famous 'finger lickin' good' strapline went terribly wrong in the Chinese market. It was literally translated as 'eat your fingers off'.

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