"It loses something in the original." --James Thurber
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 93 14:51:05 PST
Subject: "It loses something in the original." --James Thurber
From: email@example.com (Rich Schaefer)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Fleischner)
From: email@example.com (Larry Goldstein)
From "American Demographics" magazine:
Here's a look at how shrewd American business people translate their slogans
into foreign languages:
When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in leather," it
came out in Spanish as "Fly naked."
Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as
"Suffer from diarrhea."
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."
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 gutteral equivalent of "sexual penetration."
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 whorehouse. The
English weren't too fond of the name either, as it's a highly derogatory
term for a non-heterosexual.
The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. "No va" means
"it doesn't go" in Spanish.
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."
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 mouth."
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.
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's inside since most people can't read.
© 1993 Peter Langston