You want to grow your company into an international market. That means taking your branding and advertising to other countries and cultures. Your brand must stay on-message so potential customers can identify and develop a relationship with your brand. Translation services can help with your branding message, which is why you need accurate translation and interpretation. In today’s blog, Akorbi discusses major marketing fails when translation didn’t come through as expected. Prepare to laugh.
Coca-Cola Is Wax
Just about everyone recognizes Coca-Cola’s red logo. The color red fit in perfectly in China when the beverage company started marketing its products there in 1927. Red is associated with the color of luck and prosperity in Asia. Unfortunately, the company sometimes translated “Coca-Cola” into “bite the wax tadpole” in Chinese. That’s because the phonetic letters in Chinese characters that make the sound “Coca Cola” spell out words that are totally different compared to English. Someone needed translation services for the various dialects of written Chinese to more appropriately describe what products Coca-Cola was trying to sell.
Pepsi Creates a Zombie Problem
Coca-Cola isn’t alone in its gaffes during the Beverage Wars. Pepsi’s English slogan in the 1960s was “Come alive with Pepsi.” Much like biting a wax tadpole, the slogan didn’t translate well to Chinese. One version in Chinese translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” Professional translation services could have avoided this zombie-fying mistake.
Braniff Airlines and Flying in the Nude
Braniff Airlines marketed its new leather seats on airplanes with the slogan “Fly in Leather” in 1987. The company flew to destinations south of the border, including South America, Central America, and Mexico. The translation to Spanish is “Vuela en Cuero,” which works well in every Latin American country except Mexico. In Mexico, the same phrase means “Fly Naked.” This is one perfect example of when localization and translation services would have been a good idea.
KFC Is Biting Your Digits Off
KFC opened its first restaurants in China in the late 1980s. Of course, the company’s main slogan is “Finger-lickin’ good.” That didn’t translate well to Chinese. The slogan told people to “eat your fingers off.” The fast-food giant must have hired a translation services company quickly, because it got its marketing back on track and became the top quick-service restaurant in China today.
Translation Services from Akorbi
Translation services from Akorbi help make your translation and interpretation more accurate, whether your company interacts with individual customers, collaborative teams, or clients in other countries. Call us at 1-877-425-6724 or contact us online to discover what ADAPT powered by Akorbi can do for your company.