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Here are a few amusing examples of localisation and translation that have gone wrong.

Here's a funny site dedicated to English-Japanese translation errors -

Pepsi Coke's
"Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.

Notice on wall of hotel room in Japan:
   • Is forbitten to steal hotel towels. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notice.
   • Please do not bathe inside the tub.
   • You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

On the menu in a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

In a Rhodes tailor: Order your summer suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict order.

In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

When Gerber began selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, most firms routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, because large numbers of the population are illiterate.

Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.

Sign from a Majorcan shop entrance: -English well talking. - Here speeching American.

Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a hair curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Few German people had use for the "Manure Stick."

The USA Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention that the Spanish translation of "Got Milk?" read "Are you lactating?"

Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhoea."

Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."

An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa).

The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokou kole", translating into "happiness in the mouth."

Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."

When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its adverts were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!"

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.


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