Branding Cockups

Branding Cockups

We all love a good laugh and branding cockups don’t ever fail to deliver.  I bet the new brand decision makers for these well-known brand names most certainly weren’t too happy – but it’s great entertainment for us.   Who in their right mind would name their company ‘F***ing Hell’ – I kid you not. Read on to find out about that and many other hilarious branding cock-ups.

Baniff translated a slogan claiming finely upholstered seats “Fly in Leather”. When this was translated into Spanish it comes out as “Fly Naked.”Clairol

Clairol marketed a curling iron as “Mist Stick”. Unfortunately “mist” in German is a slang word for manure.

When Colgate launched a product in France it decided upon the name brand name “Cue”. Unfortunately if they had done their market research they would have realised that “Cue” is also the name of a French pornographic magazine. This must have caused confusion for customers shopping in the supermarket when asking for Cue to brush their teeth with.

The well known American beer brand Coors suffered an unfortunate mishap when it launched it’s product in Spain. Their marketing team chose the slogan “turn it loose” which in Spain is a colloquial term for diarrhoea.

World famous vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux chose the slogan “Nothing suck like an Electrolux” when they launched their product in America. Of course sucks is a reference in American slang that means bad or poor. Of course this is also considered and urban legend of translation but would still be funny if it were true!

Ford launched a car in Brazil called the Ford Pinto. Unfortunately in Brazillian Portuguese Pinto also means “tiny male genitals”

American meat processing and poultry farming company Perdue Farms used the slogan “it takes a tough man to make tender chicken” to try and appeal to some of the masculine male customers in Spain. However when this slogan is translated into Spanish it comes through as “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate”.

Everyone knows Ikea right? Ikea is a world recognised furniture store that began in Sweden. However when they launched in Thailand they didn’t realise that some of their Swedish names mean “sex” or “third base” in Thai. Also in China Ikea’s Chinese website advertised a stuffed wolf toy called Lufsig, or Lo Mo Sai (路姆西). This unfortunately contained a homophobe of Hai (閪), a profane Cantonese word meaning “vagina”. The name itself could be written as Lo Mo Hai (老母閪) which means “mothers Vagina”.

Fast food restaurant chain KFC made some Chinese customers feel uncomfortable or just confused with their slogan “finger licking good”. When the restaurant chain launched in China their slogan translated to “eat your fingers off”.

Mercedes Benz launched in China under the brand name “Bensi”. Which in China means “rush to die”.

Sportswear manufacturer Nike was forced to recall thousands of it’s products when the design on some of it’s products was deemed too similar to the Arabic word for Allah.

Electrical giant Panasonic launched a new web ready PC using a Woody Woodpecker theme. Not too bad in itself except the slogan they used was “Touch Woody : The Internet Ready Pecker”.

The makers of premium pens Parker Pens launched in Mexico using it’s slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. Unfortunately this was mistranslated as “It won’t leak in your product and make you pregnant.

Iranian consumer goods company Paxam marketed it laundry soap using the Farsi word for “snow”. This resulted in packaging been labelled as “Barf Soap”.

American branded Puffs Facial Tissues, from Procter and Gamble, entered into the German market. Unfortunately they didn’t realise that “Puff” is a German slang word for brothel.

The American Dairy Association used it’s slogan “Got Milk?” as it’s slogan in Spanish speaking markets. This was translated as “Are you lactating?”. Bit of a personal question don’t you think?

Procter and Gamble brand Vicks moved into the German market with it’s cough drops. In German the pronunciation of “V” is actually “F” which made “Vick” slang for sexual intercourse in Germany.

When the name of the Toyota MR2 is pronounced in French it is phonetically similar to “mede” in French, which is their word for “shit”.

Motoring manufacturer Mitsubishi found that their Pajero product name as the same as the Spanish word for “wanker” when they launched in Spain.

Japanese motor company Honda initially launched their Honda Jazz as the Honda Fitta. However when their marketing team contacted their Swedish office with the name they found out that Fitta is a slang word for “vagina” in Swedish and Norwegian. They promptly decided on the Jazz although Japan kept the “Fit” brand for it’s home market.

I know what your thinking. How rude. How profane. However Fucking Hell is the name of a German Pilsner beer brewed in Germany. When they launched the brand in 2010 they upset the European Union due to the nature of the word and it’s expletive nature in the English language. However the brand name refers to an actual town in Austria which is in fact called Fucking whereas as Hell in Germany refers to pale lager. They launched an appeal against the original EU decision to disallow this name and they won.

Below is a short list of some actual products that are available on sale in various countries. Are they marketing mistakes or are they genius in advertising? Decide for yourselves!

  • Crapsy Fruit, a French breakfast cereal
  • Alu-Fanny, a French aluminium foil

  • Pschitt, a French fizzy soft drink

  • Atum Bom, a Portuguese brand of tinned tuna

  • Kack, Danish confectionery

  • Plopp, a Swedish chocolate bar

  • Mukk, an Italian yogurt

  • Bimbo, a brand of bread in Spain and the Americas

  • Slag, a Belgian lager

  • Kum Onit, a German make of pencil sharpeners

Food for thought

 

How much do you think the ‘cock-ups’ cost each company?  Get in touch with us for professional translations, that are localised and right on the mark – every time! 

International French Fries Day

International French Fries Day

Today is one of the best day of the year: the international French Fries Day. But let’s find out something about most people’s favourite guilty pleasure.

Apparently, French fries are not French at all. Their origin can be tracked back to Belgium, where potatoes were allegedly being fried in the late-1600s. The legend says that poor villagers in Meuse Valley used to eat small fried fish they caught in the river but, as the river would freeze during winter, they had to find an alternative source of food. When the potato was introduced in the continent, the villagers began preparing the root plant in the same way they used to treat the fish: slicing and frying it. And this is how the earliest “French” fries were born.

So, how come they’re called FRENCH fries? It seems that it’s Americans’ fault. When American soldiers were stationed in Belgium during World War I they were introduced to the fried goodness and, as the official language spoken by the Belgian army was French, they started calling it “French fries”. As most misunderstandings in history, once the name was spread there was no way to correct it. And we still call them “French” after centuries, and will probably keep on doing so for quite a while.

But is this a mistake that only English speakers make? Let’s have a look on how everybody’s favourite side dish is called in different countries.

France/Belgium (French): les pommes frites / les frites

Belgium (Dutch): friet/fritten

China: 薯条 shu tiao (potato stripe or stick)

Czech Republic: hranolky (little prisms)

Denmark: pomfritter

Finland: ranskalaiset perunat (French potatoes) or ranskalaiset (French)

Germany: Pommes / pommesfrites

Greece: τηγανιτές πατάτες tiganites patates

Italy: patatine fritte

Japan: フライドポテト furaido poteto  (Fried potatoes)

Korea: 감자 튀김  Gamja twigim  

Latin America: papas fritas

Columbia/Mexico: papas a la francesa

Portugal: batatas fritas

Romania: (Belgian) cartofi prajiti

Russia: картофелем фри  kartofel’ fri

Sweden: franske kartofler (French potatoes)

The Netherlands (Dutch): patat frites / Vlaamse friet (Flemish fries)

 

 

Iceland – The Land of Ice and Fire

Iceland – The Land of Ice and Fire

Iceland, the land of ice and fire, counted 350,710 inhabitants in 2016. The crazy thing is that, last summer, Iceland hosted 2 million tourists. Why are there so many people willing to visit this Nordic island? Here are some pieces of information that might interest you.

Iceland has a very rich culture and a breath-taking scenery which appeals to any travel lovers. If you decide to go, expect to remain speechless all along. You’ll see mountains, glaciers (Europe’s largest glacier is in Iceland), rivers, waterfalls, craters, volcanoes, geysers, geothermal areas, hot springs, lagoons, icebergs, black sand beaches and more. What is crazy about visiting Iceland in summer time is that the sky remains bright all-night long. Indeed, the sun rises at around 3am and sets a little bit before midnight, allowing only a few hours of half-darkness. Let’s just say that it can be a bit disturbing… However, if you decide to go in winter time, you are more likely to see amazing northern lights and the land covered with a thick coat of snow. Two completely different worlds!

Iceland’s traditional dishes include lamb, fish and skyr (a yoghurt-like cheese).

If you love animals, you can expect to see sheep and Icelandic horses all around the country. Watch the sheep while driving, they are free! Also, Iceland’s only native mammal is the Arctic Fox.

Sport is an important part of Icelandic culture. The main traditional sport in Iceland is Glíma, a form of wrestling. Popular sports are handball, basketball and football. The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. Thus the 2018 FIFA World Cup is very important to Icelanders (I’ve heard 98% of Icelanders watched the games of their national team). Iceland has excellent conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing, rock climbing and hiking. Iceland is also one of the leading countries in ocean rowing, Icelandic rower Fiann Paul became the fastest ocean rower. He has claimed 24 Guinness World Records in total for Iceland. Swimming is also popular in Iceland, as geothermally heated outdoor pools are widespread, and swimming courses are a mandatory at school.

 

I hope you’ve learned a lot by reading this article and that you are already booking your flight to Reykjavic! Besides, one thing that you have to experience at least once in your life is a relaxing moment in the stunning Blue Lagoon.

Flag Day – USA 2018

Flag Day – USA 2018

Flag Day

The fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday. However today, the United States are going to celebrate their flag day, which was first created on June 14, 1777.

On that day the resolution read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. ”

 

The first celebration of the U.S. flag’s birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the flag resolution. However, it is believed that the first recognition of the flag’s birthday dates back to 1885, when the school teacher, BJ Cigrand, organised a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14. Cigrand is now known as “Father of Flag Day”.

The anniversary of the flag resolution was officially established by the proclamation of the President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. However, the flag day is not considered as an official federal holiday, except for New York and Pennsylvania, which on June 1937 became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. On the other side, New York statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.

 

              Flag Day parade

 

The 68th Annual Appleton Flag Day Parade was held on June 9, 2018. Appleton Wisconsin, claims indeed to be the oldest National Flag Day Parade in the nation, which is held annually since 1950. Nevertheless the oldest one probably takes place in Fairfield, Washington, that began in 1909 or 1910.

This year the Appleton parade was preceded by a patriotic concert and flags were handed out along the Parade route one hour before the Parade began.

Nowadays, Parades do not only celebrate the flag. They are also to celebrate the army, honouring men and women that are serving the army forces and also veterans.

 

If today you feel the Americanism in the air, do not forget the Danish Day Flag tomorrow 15th of June!

 

Are you aware of your country’s Flag Day?

Here few examples:

 

 Italy: 7th of January

 England: 23rd of April

 Wales: 1st of March

 Scotland: 30th of November

 Romania: 26th of June

 Canada: 15th of February

 European Union: 9th of May

 Lithuania: 1st of January

 Moldova: 27th of April

 Norway: 17th of May

 Portugal: 1st of December

 Ukraine: 23rd of August

 

Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

The French open 2018

Roland Garros is almost here!

 

 

On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could it be the comeback year for Novak, will Roger take the title to add to this years Aussie open, or will Andy be fit enough to try and win his first French open title?Serena Williams is back from having a baby, and will be looking to get her title back! She has shown that her time away from the sport hasn’t slowed her down as she’s been on fire since returning.

So, how many of the players would have been familiar with French tennis vocabulary?

All should by now be familiar with the scoring system as it is called out after every point. But what about other vocabulary, such as the type of shots they were playing, or even the type of court they were playing on?

I thought it would be good to include a list of some important vocabulary related to the sport as, who knows, maybe one of the games stars will read this and find it useful! Or, perhaps more likely, it could come in handy to those studying the language, or could maybe be interesting to those who enjoy a game of tennis, or maybe a mixture of the two.

So here goes:

  • le court de terre battue   clay court
  • le court en dur   hard court
  • le court en gazon   grass court
  • le filet   net
  • la ligne de fond   baseline
  • la ligne de service   service line
  • la balle de tennis   tennis ball
  • le carré de service   service box
  • le couloir   alley, tramlines
  • la raquette   tennis racket
  • un ace   ace
  • un amorti   drop shot
  • le coup droit   forehand
  • la deuxième balle   second serve
  • une double faute   double fault
  • un effet   spin
  • une faute   fault, error, out
  • un let   let
  • le lift   topspin
  • un lob   lob
  • le revers   backhand
  • le revers à deux mains   two-handed backhand
  • le service   service, serve
  • le slice   slice
  • un smash   smash
  • la volée   volley
  • la balle de break   break point
  • la balle de jeu   game point
  • la balle de match   match point
  • la balle de set   set point
  • un jeu décisif   tie-breaker

 

and finally, a few verbs for you:

  • donner de l’effet (à une balle)   to put spin (on a ball)
  • être au service   to have the service, to be serving
  • frapper   to hit
  • jouer   to play
  • prendre le service de quelqu’un   to break someone’s serve
  • servir   to serve
  • tenir le score   to keep the score

 

Roland Garros women’s final is on June 9th, with the men’s final on June 10th- more than enough time to learn some helpful phrases to understand the umpire!

 

What could you interpret? A birth?

What could you interpret? A birth?

Could you interpret a birth?

These days interpreters are needed for everything! As an agency we get various requests for legal proceedings, events, interviews, football players, medical issues… the list goes on. The range of needs for interpreting is immense. But what could you interpret? Legal can be a difficult area to interpret as you can be dealing with some very technical and sensitive situations. What about interpreting a labour? Could you do that?

 

birthI was casually watching ‘one born every minute’ (preparing myself for when I’ll be in labour in July!) and there was a Persian family requiring an interpreter for the birth of their child. It made me think, could I interpret something like that?! It is a special time in the parents lives and you’d be there helping them understand what is going on, and helping the doctors and midwifes understand how mum is feeling.

To give a bit of history of the family

They had two children in Iran through caesarean under general anaesthetic. They then moved to Britain and were learning English and became pregnant with their third child. Although, between them they could understand a lot of what the midwifes were saying, there was still a language barrier. An interpreter was needed to help the labour run smoothly.

 

They were planning on having a caesarean for the 3rd child, but unlike in Iran, we do not use general anaesthetic for the procedure. As you can imagine the woman was a little worried about being awake for the procedure. The interpreter was there to help them understand what the consultants, doctors and midwifes needed the mum and dad to understand, along with the mum being able to explain how she feels and what was happening with her.

From a language point of view, the conversation would’ve been easy for any medical trained interpreter to assist with. The difficult part for the interpreter would’ve to be present during what it a very special and unique time for the parents. Especially considering in Iran the fathers are not normally allowed to be present for the births.

Sometimes we forget how vast a profession interpreting can be. On the news we only see interpreters in a legal point of view, but there are so many areas of life where interpreters are needed. So, my question is: what could you interpret? At Lingua Translations we aim to find the best suited interpreter for of our clients. Could you interpret something as unique as a labour?