Translation errors in marketing

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Translation Errors in Marketing

Translation error jobs always need concentration since it is important in many documents especially in immigration. It is a critical part of the processing of documents especially that some nations, especially the United States, requires translations of all documents to their own language. In the United States, all immigration documents need to be translated to English before submission to the immigration office.

Language translation error conversion is also important in marketing since most businesses plans international investments. Business documents of two parties from different nations need language conversion. Conquering language barriers is important in marketing businesses. Most governments works to support the export market and when mixed with the rise of e-commerce and omnipresence of digital technology expanding overseas is important for most businesses.

Translation services helps businesses communicate their brands, feature their products and benefits, and advertise their campaigns. Language translation is also important in considering cultural values, norms, rules of conduct, humour and slang when promoting a product abroad. It is also important in making slogans that will represent the corporate identity of a brand.

Accuracy of translations are important in all language conversions. Small mistakes in translations might ruin an immigrants dream to live in the country or a business establishment’s plan to expand their influence internationally. Despite strict preparations, it is certain that everyone makes mistakes. This blog will discuss the most common mistakes marketing language converters makes in their work.

Even the most trusted interpreters makes mistakes. Below lists the mistakes marketer translators made.

Pepsi’s Resurrection Promise

The company wanted to share their slogan “Pepsi brings you back to life” to their Chinese customers. The interpreters made their biggest blunder by converting the text to ““Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.

Naked Airlines?

Braniff Airlines wanted to advertise how comfortable their first-class airline seats when they launched “Fly in Leather” for the Hispanics and to the Latin American Market. The slogan was translated to “Vuela in Cuero” which literally means “Fly in leather” but it also sounds identical to the radio ad “Vuela en Cueros”, which means “Fly Naked” in Spanish.

translation error

Motoring Mishaps

The motor industry has made lots of blunders by making lots of terrible translations. One of the most famous blooper made in the industry involves the Chevrolet Nova. In Spanish, it means “no go”. Luckily the car model sold well in Latin America. Mitsubishi’s Pajero translates to “jerk” in Spain. The cars name was changed to Montero later on because of the translation conflict. Another mistake was made by Mazda, a Japanese manufacturer, the company named their car LaPuta, taken from the book Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, which means prostitute in Spanish.

Nothing Sucks Like An Electrolux.

The Scandinavian company Electrolux shows its unfamiliarity with the English language with their vacuum cleaner marketing. Their slogan interpreted to “Nothing sucks like an Electolux”.

There has been debates whether the ad was ran in the US or in the UK. Some are doubting whether it was it was made intentionally or not.

translation error

Bite the Wax Tadpole?

The name Coca Cola itself might be a blunder in China. The name might mean “Bite the wax tadpole” or “Female horse stuffed with wax”. Many thinks that it is just a marketing myth and some thinks that the wrong translations were made up by local shop-keepers as they try to slander the company, some plants to produce their own businesses to compete with the company.

Beverage Industry Blunders

The international drinks industry follows the automobile industry when it comes to mistakes in language interpretation. It also has its own list of poorly translated marketing slogans that are seriously damaging to their credibility.

Schweppes Tonic water’s name in Italy means Schweppes Toilet Water in Italy. Coors slogan “Turn it loose” means “Suffer from diarrhoea” in Spanish.

Colgate Porn

In France, Colgate launched its toothpaste brand “Cue” . unfortunately, it translates to a French pornographic magazine.


Ford’s Pinto literally means “tiny male genitals in Portuguese.

Frank Perdue’s Tender Chicken

Perdue’s tag line “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” which means “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate” in Spanish.

Ikea Sex Products

The company sold products in Swedish names that means “sex” and “getting to third base.”

KFC Finger Eating Good

Finger licking good means eat your fingers off.


The company marketed the brand name “Bensi” which means “rush to die” in China.

Nike nn Fire

The company recalled thousands of products with a fiery emblem that resembles an Arabic word that means Allah.

Parker Pen Makes You Pregnant

The company’s blunder took place as it expand in Mexico. Its slogan, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” is interpreted to “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

Paxam’s Soap

The Iranian company marketed with the word “snow” which resulted in a package label which means “Barf Soap”.

Puffs’ Brothel

Puff id the German word for a brothel.

The American Dairy Association’s milking

Its slogan “Got Milk?” is equivalent to “Are You Lactating?”


The company introduced its cough drops in Germany. Unfortunately, they failed to recognize that the pronunciation of “v” is “f” making “Vicks” a slang for sex.

All of these mistakes show how the smallest translation error can have a great effect on a brand´s success overseas. Marketers need to ensure that expert services for their translations are certified to avoid mistakes and failures in their applications.

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