* Warning: not for the easily offended or those unimpressed by toilet and genital humour. Brands It's understandable that errors can often occur when non-professionals try their hand at translations - it's just (un)fortunate that the results can be so hilariously inappropriate. It's even more embarrassing when translations go awry in adverts, which are after all supposed to be making a product look good. A sense of schadenfreude is hard to resist when the culprit is a huge company and the resulting failure is displayed to millions. Here are a few of our favourites that have occurred around the world. Real life failures – don’t let your certified translation go the same way!
Pepsi Original: "Come alive with Pepsi!" Translation: "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!" (China) KFC Original: "Finger-lickin' good" Translation: "We'll eat your fingers off" (China) The American Dairy Association Original: "Got Milk?" Translation: "Are You Lactating?" (Mexico) Perdue Chicken Original: "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” Translation: "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused" (Mexico) Coors beer Original: "Turn it loose" Translation: "Suffer from diarrhoea" (Spain) Ford Original: "Every car has a high quality body" Translation: "Every car has a high quality corpse" (Belgium) The Jolly Green Giant Original: "The Jolly Green Giant" Translation: "Intimidating Green Monster" (Arabic) Schweppes Original: "Schweppes Tonic Water" Translation: "Schweppes Toilet Water" (Italy) Parker Pens Original: "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you" Translation: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant" (Mexico)
Some brand names themselves prevent problems due to their meanings in other languages when left un-translated, especially so when it comes to Spanish car imports. The Vauxhall Nova and the Mitsubishi Pajero had limited success in the Iberian country due to the respective names of the models meaning, quite appropriately - "It Won't Go", and more bizarrely - "The Masturbator". Menus This is another source of mistranslation beauties which can be great fun to try and spot on English menus when travelling abroad. They’re made all the worse for actually having to put the results in your mouth!
“Potato and Vegetable Curry with Green Pee.” An easy mistake to make. “Fried Horse Crap with Lime.” We hope this Thai restaurant was actually offering a type of seafood! “Chinese Semen Cannabis Drink.” This rather cryptic offering turned out to contain only hemp seed. Lucky that. Or not, depending on your tastes.
“BBQ Porn Sword.” Porn = Pork? Still wrong in so many ways. These few we couldn't figure out - order at your own risk!
“Poached Salmon with Herpes Emulsion.”
“Mixed Prostitute Salad.”
“Gourmet Orgasm without Plastic Surgery.”
Signs Don't believe us? These translation failures were caught on camera.
This seems innocuous enough to non-Welsh speakers, but paste it into Google translate to see where they went wrong. "Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i'w gyfieithu." Why not click below and give it a try. translate.google.co.uk
You may have just used Google translate successfully, but the following sign photographed in China is a warning that machine translations shouldn’t always be trusted.
The following are pretty self-explanatory, if rather unfortunate.
The rest have more of an adult theme, and are all the better for it!
Machine translation A new danger comes in the form of the machine translations offered by Google and Bing et al. Make sure you don't fall for some of the cowboys' trick and end up paying for a sub-standard "Google" certified translation. While these services can be very useful for getting the gist of foreign language texts, as you saw earlier in the article, they are in no way a substitute for a professional translator. They can, however, provide us with some great material for new forms of experimental art! We'll leave you with the Google Translate Fresh Prince of Bel Air Rap to enjoy, and we'll be back soon with a more "traditional" blog post on our usual topic of certified translations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMkJuDVJdTw
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