BLUNDERS BY INCOMPETENT TRANSLATORS
(Also known as: Google Translate, Systran, Prompt, Microsoft Translator, Bing Translator, Reverso, and others)
Creation Date: 25/Jun/2011
For a client a translation is a serious topic.
He needs to get the most out of a text he
doesn't understand, or he needs to communicate
a message in another language as best possible.
Beyond the cost, there is a higher value:
solving a problem.
However, there are times when a translator,
either human or a machine, instead of solving
a problem, causes it.
From the clients’ perspective, there's nothing funny about it. From a distance, it has a shade of humour, and we all get tempted to laugh or LOL, or even laugh our head off.
(Some expressions might be considered vulgar. If you might feel offended by the use of vulgar words please stop reading here).
Here I introduce you to some blunders that prove how money is wasted when a client uses non-professional services:
- When Pepsi presented its slogan “Come
alive with Pepsi” in Taiwan they found it
had been translated into Chinese as:
“Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead”.
- WANG, the US computer company from the
70's, created a new slogan “Wang Cares”.
The British branch didn't want to use the slogan because it sounds very much like “WANKERS” (someone that masturbates (UK), although also used similarly as “asshole” or "idiot").
- The Japanese car company, Honda, presented its new model “Fitta” in the Nordic countries. It had to change its name because in those countries the word means “pussy”, in slang, not exactly a cat.
- A Swiss company (LOCUM) wanted its logo to look more playful, by replacing the “O” with a heart. The result was “I CUM”.
- The container of a US medication distributed in Great Britain had instructions that were not appreciated very well. The message said “Take off top and push in bottom”. In the US it referred to the bottom of the container; in the UK they were not very sure what they had to do with the contents of the container.
When you travel to foreign countries it's advisable that you adapt to the culture of the country you are visiting, so you must be observant of the instructive information available: