Prevent Marketing Translation Mistakes with IL Consultancy Translation Company

Translated marketing is essential when businesses want to take products or services to an international market. Unfortunately, marketing translations can sometimes include mistakes that can either be humorous and easy to fix or misleading and offensive to the target audience. Either way, marketing translation mistakes can result in the loss of your new target market or a tainted reputation for a business. We have highlighted the top 10 examples of marketing translation mistakes that took a toll on major businesses from around the world. Avoid any translation errors in your marketing with the expertise of IL Consultancy translation company.


Top 10 Marketing Translation Mistakes:

Marketing translation mistakes can have major impacts on a business. Sometimes, a business can brush off the translation blunder, but in most cases, the business will have to spend a lot of money fixing the transgression or will lose a lot of money due to the failure of their product in the target country. We have outlined some well-known businesses that made a faux pas in their marketing translations.

1) Sharwoods Made an “Ass” of Themselves:

Sharwoods, a food manufacturer based in the UK, launched a ready-made curry called “Bundh” and was advertised widely as being inspired by Indian cooking styles. Sharwoods received a nasty surprise when their Punjabi-speaking fans informed them that “Bundh” had the same sound as the Punjabi word for “ass”. No one wants an “ass” curry sauce no matter how much the marketing states that it is “deliciously rich”.

2) The Magical Powers of Pepsi:

Pepsi lovers will all agree that there is a little magic in the sweet caramel- flavour and sparkling fizz of sipping on a cold Pepsi Cola, but the taste is where the magic ends unless you live in China. Pepsi’s marketing campaign, “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation”, was mistranslated into Mandarin and read “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead”. That might be more magic than you bargain for when you take a sip of your can of Pepsi.


3) KFC’s Terrifying Translation:

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) made a horrifying blunder in its marketing translation when it launched in China. KFC’s well-known slogan “Finger-Lickin\’ Good” is widely appreciated for its intention that the crispy chicken is so delicious that you will be linking every last morsel off your fingers afterward. In China, the translation told a scarier version of the story. The translation read “eat your fingers off”, a far from appetising marketing campaign.

4) Braniff Airlines Takes Comfortable Flying Too Far:

One aspect of preparing for a flight means choosing clothing that will ensure that you are comfortable for a long duration on the airplane. Braniff Airlines, an American airline that is no longer in operation, promoted that clothing was not necessary at all if you felt more comfortable in your birthday suit! Their marketing campaign “Fly in Leather” to highlight the comfortable, leather seats in their airplanes gave the wrong message in South America as the marketing translation stated “Fly Naked” in Spanish.

5) “I’ll have a gin and Schweppes toilet water”:

What better accompaniment is there to gin than combining it with a can of sweet, sparkling tonic water. That crisp taste of an ice-cold gin and tonic on a hot Summer day can quickly turn sour when the tonic water is advertised as toilet water. Schweppes, an international and iconic tonic water brand, made a major mistake in their marking translation when launching their tonic water in Italy. Instead of tonic, the translation read “toilet water”, which is the last thing any Italian would want swirling around with their gin as they gaze at the Amalfi Coast.

6) Death-trap Mercedes-Benz:

Any car manufacturer will agree that marketing a car as safe is essential for target audiences across the world. Mercedes-Benz, the German-designed international car brand known for its luxury, did not seem to agree when it launched its brand in China. They rebranded themselves and marketed themselves as “Bensi”, which when translated by the Chinese target market, sounded like the equivalent in Mandarin meaning “rush to die”. No amount of luxury finishes, high-speed capacity, and the latest technology could convince you to purchase a car that will speed you to your death.


7) Impregnating Parker Pens:

The Parker Pen Company, the American highly prestigious pens, aimed to delight their customers with the superiority of the pens in the marketing campaign “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. When they took this marketing campaign to Mexico, the response was far from delightful. The Spanish mistranslation read “It won’t leak in your pocket and impregnate you”, resulting in a lot of confusion and deterrence from this luxury pen brand.

8) Electrolux Sucks:

Electrolux, a Swedish manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, missed the mark on their play on words in their marketing translation when they launched in America and the United Kingdom. Their marketing campaign stated, “Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux”. While we can see what they were trying to do with this comical translation mistake, the last thing any business wants their new target market to think about their product is that it sucks.

9) Late-night Calls with Nokia:

Who misses the panache of flipping up their Nokia 2720 Flip to answer a call? While Nokia as a phone brand may be slipping into the dark ages of technology, Nokia used to have a firm footing in the mobile phone industry. During its successful days, Nokia released a new phone called the Nokia Lumia. South Americans were shocked at the name choice of their latest launch. “Lumia” in Spanish translates to prostitute, giving all the wrong impression about who you may be calling with your new phone.

10) Stationary Chevrolet:

When you picture purchasing a new car, you imagine yourself driving off the showroom floor with the windows down to feel the wind on your face as you zoom away on your new set of wheels. That picture comes to a crashing halt if you were planning on purchasing a Chevrolet Nova in South America. Spanish is the most widely spoken language in South America, and “nova” in Spanish translates to “no go”. Luckily, this missed translation on Chevrolet’s part did not affect their car sales in South America.


How Do Marketing Translation Mistakes Happen?

You may be wondering how internationally-recognised businesses such as Pepsi, Mercedes-Benz, or Parker Pens could make such hilarious, embarrassing, or offensive mistakes in their marketing translations. No matter how affluent, international, or successful a business may be, translation mistakes can unfortunately still happen. We have highlighted the two main reasons why translation mistakes occur in business marketing.

Lack of Localisation: Language and culture are not separate from one another and translations should always acknowledge this close connection. Localisation for marketing is the adaptation of the marketing campaign to ensure the language used is idiomatic, sensitive to local cultures, politically correct, and more. It is imperative, especially in marketing, that localisation is included in the translation to ensure accuracy and relevance to the target audience. If the translation company you have used for your marketing campaign does not pay careful attention to localisation, you will end up in the same situation as Chevrolet or Nokia.

Unprofessional Translation Company:  No matter how massive a business may be, anyone can fall victim to the unprofessional services of an unreliable translation company. When you need your marketing translated, you are placing your trust in the translation company that they have an adept grasp of the language, culture, and your industry to provide an accurate translation. Unfortunately, certain translation companies will commit to more than they can handle, and this can result in mistakes in marketing translations that are impossible for you to pick up on before it is too late.

IL Consultancy Translation Company For Your Marketing Translations:

IL Consultancy is the translation company that you can trust for your translated marketing to be error-free. We are an accredited translation company with The South African Translators Institute (SATI) which holds us to the credibility of international standards. We are here to assist you to take your business to an international level with accurate, timely, and affordable marketing translations.

We pride ourselves on our skills as a translation company to provide you with total accuracy in your translations. We do this by selecting only the best translators who are mother-tongue speakers of their language, are post-graduate qualified in their profession, and are actively working in their specific field. This ensures that we can have your marketing, financial, legal, sworn, educational, or general information, expertly translated.

To ensure that your marketing is not only accurately translated but also relevant to your target audience, we offer you our localisation service. We will ensure that the language used has the correct vernacular for your audience and is appropriate to your target culture. You will easily avoid any embarrassing mistranslations when you partner with us as your translation company for your business marketing.

With us as your translation company, you will receive marketing translations of the highest quality. Once your marketing material has been translated, it will be sent to an independent quality control process to ensure that you only receive translations of a professional standard. We are the translation company that will take every step to prevent any mistakes in your marketing translations.

The possibilities for your marketing translations are endless with IL Consultancy translation company. From English into Zulu or Portuguese into Spanish, our translation company offers a diverse array of language combinations in our translation services. We have listed our available languages for your marketing or other translations.

South African Languages: We offer all major South African languages, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Ndebele / IsiNdebele, Xhosa / IsiXhosa, Sotho / Sesotho / Sothern Sotho, Setswana, Xitsonga, Tshivenda, SiSwati, and Sepedi / Northern Sotho / Sesotho Sa Leboa.

African Languages: We translate English into ‘African’ French, Swahili, Igbo, Shona, ‘African’ Portuguese, and Chichewa.

International Languages: Our translators are experts in German, French, Arabic, Dutch, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), English, Italian, Hebrew, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Urdu, Hindi, Japanese, Gujarati, and Spanish.

About IL Consultancy:

Alongside being a translation company, we also offer a diverse range of expert language services. With IL Consultancy, you have access to editing and proofreading services, transcription services, eLearning, writing services, typesetting, layout, formatting, and TEFL. Every language project of yours will be a success when you partner with IL Consultancy.

IL Consultancy is the language company that will deliver your message clearly. Our managing team is comprised of qualified and experienced practitioners, trainers, and educationalists. We are dedicated to language and our clients, ensuring that you will always receive an expert and supportive service from IL Consultancy.

IL Consultancy is a global language company, which enables us to provide you with our professional services no matter where you are in the world. We use state-of-the-art digital technology to receive and return your documents. You can easily access this technology through our website.

Prevent any marketing translation mistakes with the professional translation services of IL Consultancy translation company.