сряда, 26 ноември 2008 г.

There is no such translation!:)

Some time ago I read an article about a translation blunder that made the city of Jerusalem disappear. Here's how:

Tourism officials in Israel did little to sell the city of Jerusalem as a must-see for visitors when a brochure suggested it did not exist.
The sightseeing pamphlet was translated from Hebrew and should have read: "Jerusalem - there's no city like it!".
But instead the slogan in English read: "Jerusalem - there's no such city!", reported the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

Apart from being just the next translation anecdote, this story made me realize that such a "literal" translation could be also possible, if we were translating from Bulgarian: „Няма такъв град!“. It's a fact though, that in Bulgarian the phrase sounds too ...colloquial. It would be nice if someone who knows Hebrew, could elaborate on the original phrase that led to this translation mishap.

My discoveries in the there-is-no-such-translation land did not stop there. Not long ago I found a small group on Facebook that offered 13 more of these. Enjoy:



13. Parker. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads 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."

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

11. Clairol. 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."

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

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

8. Gerber. When Gerber started 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, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read.

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

6. Frank Perdue. 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."

5. American Airlines. 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.

4. American T-shirt maker. 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).

3. Got milk. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are You Lactating?"

2. General Motors. General Motors had a very famous fiasco in trying to market the Nova car in Central and South America. "No va" in Spanish means, "It Doesn't Go".

1. Coca Cola. 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 "kokoukole", translating into "Happiness in the Mouth."