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Subject:Re: [Humor] Translations From:marsha durham <m -dot- durham -at- UWS -dot- EDU -dot- AU> Date:Sun, 26 Feb 1995 12:33:38 +1100
Many of the clangers in advertising that Bev Parks wrote about are in the
article, Interlingual Taboos in Advertising: How Not to Name Your
Product. This is by Reinhold Aman, who runs (or did run) Maledicta, a
Research Centre for Verbal AGression. He also published the Maledicta
journal, which offered taboo words, sexual slang etc from around the
world. His article is from an Ablex book, Linguistics and the
Professions, ed. Robert Di Pietro, printed in 1982.
Sometimes it's hard for English speakers to understand the problem in
translations. Aman provides an example the other way, a Japanese soft
drink marketed in California as CALPIS (just pronounce it and you'll hear
the problem in English). It was later remarketed as CAL-PIKO.
On Fri, 24 Feb 1995, Bev Parks wrote:
> I can't vouch for the accuracy or truthfulness of any of the
> following, but I thought some of you translators out there might
> get a kick out of it.
> =*= Beverly Parks =*= bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil =*=
> =*= "These opinions are mine, not my employer's." =*=
> =*= =*= =*=
> ----- Forwarded Message Start
> LIST OF AMERICAN SLOGAN TRANSLATIONS INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES
> Here is a look at how shrewd American business people translate their
> slogans into foreign languages:
> 1. When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in
> Leather," it came out in Spanish as "Fly Naked."
> 2. Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was
> read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
> 3. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue's line, "It takes a tough man to make a
> tender chicken," sounds much more interesting in Spanish: "It takes a
> sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."
> 4. When Vicks first introduce its cough drops on the German market,
> they were chagrined to learn that the German pronunciation of "v" is f -
> which in German is the guttural equivalent of "sexual penetration."
> 5. Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce its
> product, only to learn that "Puff" in German is a colloquial term for a
> 6. The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries.
> "No Va" means "It Does Not Go" in Spanish.
> 7. When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back,
> they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" pretty
> literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your
> Ancestors Back from the Grave."
> 8. Then when Coca-Cola first shipped to China, they named the product
> something that when pronounced sounded like "Coca-Cola." The only
> problem was that the characters used meant "Bite The Wax Tadpole."
> They later changed to a set of characters that mean "Happiness In The
> 9. A hair products company, 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 manure stick.
> 10. When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used
> the same packaging as here in the USA - with the cute baby on the label.
> Later they found out that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures
> on the label of what actually is inside the container since most
> people can not read.