Translation Funnies

Translation Funnies

Although the following examples are funny, we are sure you don't want to end up with one of them in your company's literature!

Disclaimer: To the best of our knowledge and believe, these translation examples are true and they contain material that some people might find inappropriate or even offensive..... an even better reason to have your documents translated by a highly qualified and experienced translator!!!

** When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". However, the company's mistakenly thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant". **

** An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the Potato". **

** When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go". After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe. **

** Chicken-man Frank Perdue's slogan, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken", got terribly mangled in another Spanish translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused". **

** In an Acapulco hotel a sign read "The manager has personally passed all the water served here". **

** The Mitsubishi four wheel drive marketed in Australia as the "Pajero" was the cause of great embarrassment in Spain where "Pajero" means "Masturbater". **

Sometimes companies get in trouble even when they don't attempt translations

** Traficante is an Italian brand of mineral water that found a great reception in Spain's underworld. In Spanish, it means “Drug dealer”. **

** When 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 "Fly Naked" ("Vuela en cuero") in Spanish! **

** Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose" into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhoea". **

** Mazda's Laputa seems like an odd name for a minivan. Spanish speakers immediately think of "Puta", the word for prostitute. With that in mind the ads claiming that "Laputa is designed to deliver maximum utility in a minimum space while providing a smooth, comfortable ride" and "a lightweight, impact-absorbing body" are humorous. Distributors in Santiago de Chile asked Mazda to rename the vehicle. **

** The Dairy Association'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 "Are you lactating?" **

** Nissan's minivan Moco doesn't do so well in Spanish-speaking markets. Distributors in Santiago de Chile asked that the vehicle be renamed since Moco is the Spanish word for “Mucous”. **

** Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance – “English well talking” & “Here speeching American”. **

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