To see Mistranslated Advertising #1 click here
I love Fridays! As per tradition, I bring you the Fun Friday post where I find humor stemming from quirks in the English language and the joys of translation. Today we have yet another chance to laugh at advertising gone wrong from around the world. If you missed the first list, click on the link above.
Chevrolet wanted a car with an out of this world name. They got it with the Chevy Nova. They hit a snag when trying to market the car in Mexico. In Spanish ‘no va’ literally means ‘no go’ or ‘it doesn’t work.’ They later renamed the car the ‘Caribe.’ [Update: a rather pedantic reader pointed out that this is actually untrue. There’s even a Snopes article about it. It’s still funny.]
If that’s not bad enough, Vauxhall motors, based in the UK, also tried to market their car called, you guessed it, the ‘Nova’ in the Spanish market. They didn’t have much success either. [I’m guessing someone might call foul here as well…]
Another British car manufacturer, Triumph, ran into problems when marketing their new car ‘Acclaim’ to the German market. ‘Triumph Acclaim’ translates to ‘Sieg Heil’ in German – the hallmark battle cry of the Nazis.
Coors successful slogan ‘Turn it Loose’ didn’t do so well in the Spanish Market. The Spanish-speaking drinkers were instead encouraged to ‘Get Diarrhea.’
Parker Pen made a critical error when they assumed that the Spanish word ’embarazar’ meant ‘to embarrass.’ The ads were supposed to say: ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.’ Instead they read: ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.’
Braniff International Airways tried a new marketing angle by bragging about their upholstery. The slogan read ‘Fly in Leather’ but came out in Spanish as ‘Fly Naked.’
Microsoft ended up almost too honest when translating it’s slogan into Japanese – it read: ‘If you don’t know where you want to go, we’ll make sure you get taken.’
English speakers aren’t responsible for all mistranslations. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used this slogan in an American campaign: ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”
Have a great weekend everyone!
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Material for today’s post found at: