As the global marketplace grows, getting your product name translation right is of paramount importance to avoid embarrassing “language accidents.” Some classic mistakes of the past:
- Chevrolet Nova’s flop in Latin America because “no va” in Spanish means “won’t go.”
- Perdue’s translation of its slogan “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” into a Spanish phrase meaning “It takes a sexually aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
- Coca-Cola’s misbegotten attempt to render its name in Chinese characters, which turned out as “Bite the Wax Tadpole.”
- When Toyota launched its MR2 they didn’t take into account that “M-R-deux”, when spoken with a breezy French accent, sounds a lot like “merde” (crap).
- When the C & C Group, a UK and Ireland based manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded long alcoholic drinks, tried to launch in the German market its golden whiskey liqueur, Irish Mist, the sales weren’t going too well. “Mist,” you see, is the German word for “manure.”