10 Most Embarrassing Translation Blunders

The translation is a source of effective communication. The languages that are spoken in the world are according to cultural and regional intricacies. If the translation is not able to convey the intended message, it may mislead the audience and deliver embarrassing results. Therefore, it is critically important to choose professional translation services. The native translators are aware of the fact that words and phrases that are considered humorous in one culture might be considered embarrassing in other cultures, so they provide translation services after considering cultural nuances. Many professional translation companies are working around the globe. 

Every company specializes in a distinct field. To make your name in the global business world, you need to hire a professional translation company. CCJK is a top-rated translation company that has a team of native translators who are well-experienced to ensure highly accurate results. Strict quality measures taken by translators can save the customers from the most embarrassing translation blunders.

Take a look at the following examples and you will have an idea of what can happen if translation is not done right!

Pepsi

In 1960, one of the giant companies, Pepsi, made a big blunder with its slogan Come alive. The original marketing campaign turned Pepsi into a huge success because the young generation was crazy about this drink. But when this slogan was translated for Taiwanese, it resulted in ‘Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.’ Clearly, the tone and intended message was lost in the translation.

KFC

KFC slogan ‘Finger-licking good’ is used worldwide to show the tastiness of their products. When this slogan was translated into Chinese for the Hong Kong market, it said ‘eat your figures off’ which caused embarrassment for the brand.

HSBC Bank 

In 2009, HSBC Bank spent $10 million on a rebranding campaign to cover the damage done by its catchphrase. Assume nothing was translated as ‘Do nothing’ in various countries which caused huge loss to the bank.

Nintendo 

Nintendo has faced huge translation damage because of its approach to translation. It faced reputational damage when Pokemon fans in Hong Kong did street protests. The issue was related to the translation of Pokemon character Pikachu that was a cute little yellow one. In 1995, Pikachu was translated as Pi-ka-giu in Mandarin and as Bei-kaa-chiu in Cantonese. In 2016, the Mandarin version of the name was adopted for Cantonese-language versions of the game. In Hong Kong, Cantonese speakers became sensitive to their language because they thought that their language is neglected because of Mandarin. They protested in front of the Japanese consulate to show their emotions on this matter.

The American Dairy Association

The American dairy association’s Got milk campaign got recognition across the US. When it was translated into Mexican, It said, ‘Are you lactating?’ This translation was a major blunder that ruined the campaign.

Schweppes

Schweppes introduced its tonic water in Italy. The literal meaning of translation as ‘Toilet Water’ was perceived badly by the people and it didn’t do well as they hoped.

Coors beer

Coors beer slogan ‘Turn it loose’ when translated into Spanish resulted in ‘Suffer from diarrhea’, and it was a sheer embarrassment for the company.

Canadian Mist

Canadian mist wanted to launch Whisky in the German market. They failed to launch because mist means manure in the German language. Clairol faced the same problem when they introduced curling iron in the German market. Nobody was willing to buy poop sticks for hairs.

Moses had horns

St. Jerome has translated the Bible and people consider him as translator patron saint but he also made a mistake. In the Hebrew language, Moses was portrayed with radiance around his head when he came down from Mount Sinai. In the Hebrew language, consonants are used only. St. Jerome pronounced and spelled Karan (radiance) as Keren that means horned. That is why for centuries, Moses is portrayed as a person with horns. 

Sheng Long

A character in the Japanese video game Street Fighter II says that if you cannot control the rising dragon punch, then you cannot win. In the translation of the sentence from Japanese into English, the dragon was interpreted as Sheng Long. This character has a different interpretation in Japanese. Gamers were curious to know who Sheng Long was and how they could defeat them. In 1992, electronic gaming published instructions as to how to find Sheng Long. It was revealed later in December. 

Why avoiding Translation Blunders is Important

The translation mistakes cost both financial loss and the organization’s credibility. The translation is a highly demanding task and requires competency in language pair and relevant industry. We can learn from these embarrassing blunders and avoid missteps in the translation process.  Attention to detail is very important to avoid translation blunders. Businesses that want to connect with a global audience should localize their content translation keeping cultural and regional intricacies in view.  

Wrapping Up 

Avoiding translation blunders is important and that’s where you need assistance from professional translation services. Be very rational in selecting a translation company because a single blunder can ruin your public image and all your effort in establishing the business will go in vain.

CCJK has a team of native translators who are aware of cultural and regional differences and provide their customers with state of the art translation services in fast turnaround time. You can get the high-quality translation at affordable rates. For further details, Contact us.

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