Costly Mistakes in Translation

Published 25th April 2017
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Costly mistakes in translation

We all know how important it is for a company to get their message across accurately.

Translation services enable businesses to effectively communicate with their target markets. It is important to consider cultural values, norms, etiquette, humour and slang when establishing a brand presence for international audiences. The fact that a product campaign is successful in one country, does not guarantee that it will be in another one.

Got milk?

Got Milk? is an American advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of cow’s milk. It was created by the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board in 1993 and it ran until 2014. The campaign increased sales of milk in California. When the board decided to target the Latino audience, due to a mistake in translation, “Got Milk?” became “¿Estás lactando?” (Are You Lactating) which is very offensive for the Latino audience.

Nova

General Motors introduced their Chevrolet Nova model of automobile into a Spanish-speaking market and then wondered why it was selling so poorly. Finally, someone pointed out that “Nova” sounded like “no va” which translated into Spanish as “don’t go or doesn’t work”. Spanish speakers would naturally see the word “nova” as equivalent to the phrase “no va” and thought: the car doesn’t go! The automobile giant changed the model name to the Caribe, and sales of the car took off.

KFC

When Kentucky Fried Chicken opened their first restaurant in Beijing in 1987, its famous slogan “Finger-lickin’ good”(used in the USA since the 1950s) was translated to “Eat Your Fingers Off!”. KFC clearly did not want to promote cannibalism in their Chinese establishments. The problem was fixed and they became the leading Western fast food enterprise in China.

SCHWEPPES

Schweppes, known for its for its carbonated water and ginger ale, made a terrible mistake when marketing their leading tonic water product in Italy. Due to a mistranslation, “Schweppes Tonic Water” became “Schweppes Toilet Water”. Italians were not thrilled about the idea of mixing their gin with toilet water.

Gerber

When Gerber’s baby food started being sold in Africa, they chose to display a picture of a baby in their packaging, the same as the one used in the USA. What they didn’t know is that in Africa, packaging usually displays what the product being sold contains as many people are illiterate.

These are just a few examples of many. If you are making a marketing campaign targeting a foreign country, avoid making mistakes like the ones above. We have the right professional language services to help you venture in a new market with all the language support you need. To see what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

 

ERRORES COSTOSOS EN LA TRADUCCIÓN

Todos sabemos lo importante que es para una compañía transmitir su mensaje adecuadamente.

Los servicios de traducción permiten a los negocios comunicarse de manera efectiva con sus mercados objetivos. Es importante tener en cuenta los valores culturales, normas, convenciones sociales, humor y argot para establecer la presencia de una marca en entornos internacionales. El hecho de que una campaña tenga éxito en un país no garantiza el triunfo en otro.

Got milk?

Got milk? (¿tienes leche?) es una campaña publicitaria estadounidense que anima al consumo de leche de vaca. Fue creada por la agencia de publicidad Goodby Silverstein & Partners para la the California Milk Processor Board en 1993 y duró hasta 2014. La campaña incrementó las ventas de leche en California. Cuando decidieron dirigirse al público latino, debido a un error de traducción, ¿tienes leche? Se convirtió en ¿Estás lactando?, lo cual es muy ofensivo para el público latino.

Nova

General Motors introdujo su Chevrolet Nova en el mercado hispanohablante y después se preguntó por qué sus ventas eran tan bajas. Finalmente, alguien remarcó que “Nova” sonaba como “no va”, lo que se traducía al español como “no funciona”. Los hispanohablantes veían la palabra como la frase “no va” y pensaban: ¡este coche no funciona! El gigante automovilístico cambió el nombre de su vehículo a Caribe y las ventas empezaron a crecer.

KFC

Cuando Kentucky Fried Chicken abrió su primer restaurant en Pekín en 1987, su famoso eslógan “Finger-lickin’ good” (Para chuparse los dedos, usado en EE.UU. desde los años cincuenta) se tradujo como “¡Cómete los dedos!”. KFC no quería incitar al canibalismo en sus establecimientos chinos. El problema se arregló y se convirtió en el primer restaurante de comida rápida occidental en China.

SCHWEPPES

Schweppes, conocida por su agua carbonatada y ginger ale, cometió un terrible error en su campaña de márquetin de su producto estrella de tónica en Italia. Debido a una mala traducción, el “Agua tónica de Schweppes” se convirtió en “agua de baño de Schweppes. A los italianos no les hizo gracia mezclar su ginebra con agua de lavabo.

Gerber

Cuando la comida para bebés de Gerber se empezó a comercializar en África, escogieron mostrar la imagen de un bebé en su envase, la misma que se utilizaba en EE.UU. Lo que no sabían era que en África, los envases suelen mostrar lo que el producto contiene ya que mucha gente es analfabeta.

Estos son sólo algunos ejemplos. Si está llevando a cabo una campaña de márquetin dirigida a un país extranjero, evite cometer errores como los anteriores. Tenemos los servicios de idioma profesionales que necesita para aventurarse en un nuevo mercado con todo el soporte lingüístico necesario. Para descubrir lo que podemos hacer por usted, no dude en contactarnos.

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