Translation Mistakes that had huge consequences  

Language is the most common way to build connections. However, when mistakes are made while translating from one language to another, a lot can go wrong if the translator is not experienced enough.

So it is important that large companies take translation of their campaigns seriously, as this can bring harm to their reputation and the potential customers might avoid using the products. If the ad is translated wrong, all the target audience in the new country can turn their back to their services.

There are many examples showing the company failing miserably.

Lost in Translation

Mistranslating is a pretty much common issue for the big brands that manage their business internationally. Checking the motto, product names and, sometimes, even brand names with a help of local translators prior to sending it out to the world is ideal and recommended, though it does not always happen this way.

Some of the brands that had tried to expand into other countries and failed to translate their message correctly. That turned into a great failure of all the campaign.

Coors Beer had a tagline of “Turn it loose!” which was translated into Spanish as “You will suffer from diarrhea!” Definitely not the best slogan to choose for food/drinks advertisement.

Clairol moved the “Mist Stick” curling iron over to Germany. However, in German, the word “Mist” is used as a slang word for manure. No one wanted that in their hair.

Schweppes took their failure in stride when they were trying to sell Italians “Toilet Water” instead of “Tonic Water.” That was a big NO THANKS from them.

It is important that those in charge of the campaign consider hiring a few local people to look over translation and will it deliver the correct message to the local target audience. Because even your second language is completely perfect, but you don’t live within the local environment it may play a cruel joke to the business you’re managing. So try to find some locals to test your translation on them. They will catch inconsistencies you may not have noticed or didn’t pay attention to. This will save you a lot of time and money which is crucial when you’re trying to launch startup. For more examples due to bad translation check the infographic below.