Lost in translation

UK companies eager to tap into foreign markets have rather been letting themselves down with local language versions of their web sites marketing materials.

Proving that not all online translations services are up to the job, UK translation firm Lingo24 has released a list of translation blunders.

The UK-based Parker pen company, for example, trying to promote that their products will not leak in users’ pockets, mistook the meaning of the Spanish word ’embarazar’ so ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you’ became ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant’.

Japanese gamers playing “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”, in turn, were shot down by a translation error. In the American version, a comment by one leading character “Remember, no Russian,” was translated as “Kill ’em; they’re Russians “, which left Japanese players killing Russians rather than attempting to talk to them. Game Over.

US firm Pepsi has made a number of translation blunders in its time, too, but nothing competes with the products launch into the Chinese market. They translated ‘Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation into ‘Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave’.

“These examples should be a wake-up call to British businesses attempting to translate their marketing materials and websites using internet translation machines,” says Christian Arno, managing director at Lingo24.

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.