Marketing Translation Fails to Avoid

Marketing Translation Fails to Avoid

Are you planning to translate your marketing campaign into another language? You have to consider several factors before doing so, some of which include colloquialisms used, culture and the sense of humor of your audience. Factor these in, and you get a good translation of the message you want to convey. However, some brands failed to include these in their strategies and ended up with humorous and failed attempts to reach out to their intended customers.

These are some of the fails when it comes to marketing translations that you can learn from.

Ford’s Tiny Male Genitals

Some time ago Ford launched their Pinto brand into the Brazilian market but later found out that sales figures weren’t reaching desired numbers. They investigated the problem and realized that ‘Pinto’ meant ‘tiny male genitals’ in slang. They then changed it to ‘Corcel’ instead, which translates to horse.

Bring Your Ancestors Back to Life

Chinese is a difficult language to translate into English; in some cases, you get ‘Engrish’, phrases that mean something else or a confusing direct translation without context. A similar situation happened to Pepsi when they entered China with their ‘Pepsi Brings You Back to Life’ campaign. They later discovered that the translation of the catchphrase turned into ‘Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave’.

Suffer from Diarrhea

Slang is often difficult to translate into another culture; Coors, the popular American beer, learned this the hard way. They wanted to bring their ‘Turn it Loose’ campaign to Spain. The butchered Spanish translation turned the cool slogan into ‘suffer from diarrhea’.

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Eat Your Fingers

KFC is one of the most fast food chains in China, but not without a few hiccups. The company had an awkward start when it tried to enter the Chinese market in the 80s. The chain translated its famous catchphrase ‘finger-lickin’ good’ into ‘eat your fingers off’ in Chinese.

An expert on professional translation services cites that learning from these mistakes allow you to create a more effective campaign that delivers the message you want.