Translation mistakes

Global Brands Mistranslation Traps!


Well, it’s time to expand and enter new markets. Gathering the whole Marketing team, spending so much time in creating new marketing strategies, Market Research, in translating the brochures, all the marketing content,…etc. Well great, but make sure you don’t miss out those two criteria; “Translation” & “Localization”

Many companies fell in the trap of Mistranslation, thinking that it’s only about the language matter, but what actually really matters is “Localizing” your product to meet the targeted audience language and cultural differences.

If your company is willing to expand globally and outreach new markets, then you should consider translation risks that might affect your brand exposure and identity. Translation is not the only criteria you should lean on when exposing your brand to new markets. You should focus on:

• Researching a lot about that new market’s core values and culture

• Making sure that your brand name, slogan doesn’t reflect any other misleading or confusing message for the new market.

• Make sure to localize your product and match it to the new market cultural differences and sensitivities.

• Learn from the other companies previous mistranslation and wrong Localization mistakes

Many big Multinational Companies fell in Mistranslation and wrong Localization trap, when they expanded to a new market which resulted in their low revenues, and affected their brand exposure and sales for a while. Let’s show some previous unsuccessful new market entry trials:

Mercedes Benz: the worldwide famous auto brand when they tried to enter into Chinese market with a brand name Bensi. Unfortunately mistranslation led to in appropriate meaning “Rush to die”

Coca Cola: In China, the Coca Cola pronounced like “Ke kou ke la” which has a hilarious meaning “female horse stuffed with wax”. This created the biggest confusion as the brand has nothing to do with what it sounds like

Nike; had to recall thousands of products when a decoration intended to resemble fire on the back of the shoes resembled the Arabic word for Allah.

Apple; Apple’s entrance into the Japanese market. In an effort to beat IBM to the market, they failed to adapt their computers to Japanese requirements or to translate their user manual into Japanese, which resulted in increased sales and exposure of IBM.

Pepsi’s “We bring you back to life” translated into Chinese as “We bring your ancestors back from the grave”

Those examples mentioned above are some of the fatal mistakes done by big reputable MNCs entering new market. So every decision you take now has its own consequences in the future. Every day, a new opportunity knocks on the door but are you ready to open?

Here at Torjoman, we make sure to add core values to our products, we make use of each opportunity knocking the door because we believe that opportunity knocks once, so we must be ready to receive it so generously and make use of it so wisely.

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