Translation Mix-Ups Nova in S panish means Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: The Dairy A ssociation’s huge success with the campaign “ Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read, Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as 1970 Nova “ Are you lactating” “ Suffer from diarrhea” “ It Want go.” [no va] “ Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”
Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure . Not too many people had use for the Puffs tissue introduced its product into Germany only to find out that puffs is a German colloquial term for “ Manure Stick.” “ whorehouse.” In England , puffs was a derogatory term for homosexual.
When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the U.S., with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies put pictures on the labels of what’s inside , since most can’t read. Also Gerber is the French word for vomiting . Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue , the name of a notorious porno magazine .
An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” ( el Papa ), the shirts read, Pepsi’s “Come Alive. You’re in the Pepsi Generation” translated into Chinese as: “ I saw the potato” ( la papa ). “ Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”
The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “ Kekekenla,” meaning “Bite the wax tadpole,” or “ female horse stuffed with wax,” depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokou kole,” translating into “happiness in the mouth.” Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as: “ It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
W hen American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its “Fly in Leather” campaign literally, which meant W hen Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” The company thought that the word “embarazar” ( to impregnate ) meant to embarrass , so the ad read: “ Fly Naked” (vuela en cuero) in Spanish. “ I t won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
I n Mexico, Fresca is a term for Lesbian . Jokes abounded but sales weren't hurt. KFC’s “Finger licking good” came off in Chinese as: “ Eat your fingers off.”
In Italy , a campaign for "Schweppes Tonic Water" translated the name into the much less thirst quenching: Ford introduced the Pinto in Brazil . After watching sales go nowhere, the company learned that "Pinto" is Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals." Ford pried the nameplates off all of the cars & substituted them with "Corcel" which means horse. “ Schweppes Toilet Water .”