Advertisers and marketers do a great job of convincing consumers to buy products (often products they do not even require); however, through the accounts of history they have gotten things wrong, occasionally. Product naming is an imperative part of marketing and branding. This is where a lot of brands may make expensive mistakes if they fail to understand the local language and slang of the country they are planning to market their products. Here is a list of few such names that turned into international boundary blunders.
Mazda LaPuta (in Spanish: ‘the whore’)
The name is taken from the book Gulliver’s Travels written by Jonathan Swift, however, it is difficult for the brand to explain this to Spanish speakers. For them, the word means – ‘the whore.’
FITTA (in 3 Nordic languages: ‘Woman’s private parts’)
FITTA was ultimately renamed ‘the Jazz’ for the Scandinavian market after Honda discovered that FITTA is actually a colloquial term for woman’s private parts in around 3 Nordic languages.
PINTO (a Brazilian Portuguese slang meaning: ‘small male genitals’)
The carmaker Ford thought the better of this name as soon as they come to know that the word is a Brazilian Portuguese slang, which means ‘small male genitals.’ This is definitely not the image they were trying to promote. The car was renamed ‘Corcel’ afterword, which means ‘horse.’
Buick LaCrosse (in French: ‘masturbating teenagers’)
When Buick launched the ‘LaCrosse,’ they didn’t think that it may turn out to be an embarrassment. In French-speaking Quebec, the meaning of the word is ‘masturbating teenagers.’
Mentioned above are just few of the examples of car names gone wrong for international automobile lovers. When it comes to language, even a single word with incorrect meaning can harm your sales. Do you have any more examples of brand names gone wrong? Share in the comments section.
Understanding two or multiple languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate like a native speaker. Translation is a unique skill that professionals spend years to develop. Apart from creating an embarrassing situation, minor translation mistakes may also cause huge problems such as sending incorrect information, and breaking business deals, among others. Even if you call yourself a polyglot – an individual who can communicate in two or more languages fluently – you may still say things that a native speaker would avoid. Here are some common language translation mistakes that may sound unnatural to a native speaker.
English – German
English and German belong to same family, which makes the process of translation easy. However, you may face a situation where word-by-word translation would be wrong, even though it sounds correct.
Example: English word ‘so’ is often used to connect sentences such as ‘He woke up late so he missed the school bus.’ The word ‘so’ exists in German as well, but is used in a different manner. Instead of saying ‘Er war spät,so hat er den Bus verpasst’ the correct usage of the word would be ‘Er war spät, also hat er den Bus verpasst.’
This case shows that knowledge and practice is important.
English – French
The stats clearly show that France has always been a significant business partner to English speaking world. For organizations that are dealing with French companies, it is important to have a basic knowledge and understanding of French. However, basic mistakes may happen even if you speak French really well.
Example: In English, most of us start an official letter by addressing someone with ‘Dear Mr. or dear sir or madam.’ The French translation for the same would be ‘Cher Monsieur ou Madame.’ However, a native of French would be surprised to read the word ‘dear’ at the beginning of a business letter. In French, the proper phrase to use is ‘Madame, Monsieur.’
“The limits of our language means the limits of our world.”
Increased globalization is forcing a growing number of organizations to interact across linguistic boundaries. Since, language affects almost all aspects of everyday life, it is important to focus more on communication barriers. In a multi-cultural organization, simply expecting all employees to communicate in one common language decreases the potential of international talent and leaves monolingual employees ill equipped.
Over the last few decades, a lot of countries worldwide experienced increase in the population of immigrants, which makes language barrier a common challenge in international business settings. Use of strategies below will help you overcome the language barrier and ensure that you are not putting-up your own roadblocks while communicating.
How to Avoid Language Barrier
Business language is usually contextual, and hence, culture specific. As a general rule, if the phrase you are using needs knowledge of other information – be it a metaphor or a game such as baseball- remember that this may make your communication a little more difficult.
Be Careful of Jargon
If you are using abbreviations or other organizational words that may have different meanings, it is important to provide a description, so that others may learn to use the same words that you do. You may also avoid use of such words completely.
Cross-cultural communication may require patience. It may improve with time but you cannot expect your communication to occur with the same speed as when you are communicating with someone in your own country.
Regardless of whether you are communicating with someone professionally or otherwise, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity.
Have you ever experienced language barrier, or have tips for overcoming such barriers? Share your views and experiences with us in the comment section.
The world at large is becoming smaller by the day. Increased accessibility and easy communication have opened new avenues that allow people to travel, work and live in foreign lands to shape their lives as per their dreams. However, those who leave their nest to find success and solace in another country often face the need to translate and transform their expressions into locally familiar phrases, and in such scenarios, there is always the risk of the essence of the information getting “lost in translation”, or even worse, getting a completely different meaning.
To better understand, sample this:
An elevator in China had the following sign hung outside, written in Mandarin
“Work in progress”
Sparing a thought for the foreign guests, the next line was written in English, a strict translation at that
“Execution in progress”
Fortunately for the workers, the doors were open and the guests could see them mopping the orange juice stains from the floor rather than blood!
However, when dealing with official or academic documents, accurate and empathetic transcripts translation services assume a much greater role. The content needs to be clearly structured and must focus on the logic as well as the context in which it was written. Professional translation service providers employ expert personnel who have a thorough grasp of different languages and the regions of their origin, both of which they leverage to carry out translation work.
This is one the main reasons to hire a professional to do the job rather than using a software solution that may have the aptitude to provide a word-to-word translation, but has no vision to see the context, thus rendering the document meaningless, and establishing the need for accurate and understanding translation services.
The great philosopher and logician Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” The world has become limitless, and through correct translation services, even inhibitions of communication will be fully eliminated.
Finding a good translator for the translation of legal documents can be challenging, particularly because it becomes difficult to judge their acumen of the second language. Here are a few ways that can help you identify and select the best translator for legal document translation services –
While selecting a translator for legal services, it is important to ensure that they have some legal knowledge. Your selection should depend upon the kind of work for which you need translation. If you need translation of legal documents, then it is best to hire a native speaker. A reputed translation company can also help you find a reputed translator.
If you want the best services, then you must look for Language service provider experience (LSP) and ISO certification. This shows that the company meets all the requirements and is licensed to provide translation services.
Experience is a great way to ensure that the team at the company knows their job. How much experience and what kind of experience does the company have makes a lot of difference in the kind of quality you will get.
Regardless of whether you need translation of your legal documents or driver’s license translation, consult Languageoasis.com for all sorts of translation needs.