Translation Mistakes That Can Ruin Your business


Translation mistakes can cost much more than you’d think. With so many languages and people speaking them,translating from one language into another can cause language mistakes. This is occurs in international advertising campaigns all over the world. Sometimes a small mistake made due to cultural difference can lead to a serious misunderstanding and bring all the million dollar campaign to a complete failure within the target audience of the specific country.

Sometimes translation mistakes made in advertising lead to company’s business loses due to miscarrying the initial message. For example: KFC has a slogan – “Finger-lickin’ good.” However, when translated into Chinese, the slogan literally means “Eat your fingers off.”Bringing some sort of grim double-meaning, they lost a lot of customers due to the poor branding translation and not completely understanding how the local language works.

Translation Mistakes Happen More Often Than You Think

Another instance when translation with a slogan was not ideal for the company was when the Pepsi company started doing business in China. Their slogan was – “Come alive with Pepsi.” However,when translated into Chinese, it meant “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from dead.” This did not go well and Pepsi’s sales dropped, and eventually their entire promotional campaign was a flop.

Due to this, it is recommended that those responsible for advertising in other countries always to consider the accurate translation and specific issues of local culture. This can make a huge difference in not only the current, but also the perspective audience.

Translate the phrases, not words, avoid double meanings. Find someone that is a native speaker and test the translated slogan or ad on them before putting it out for all to see. Catching mistakes earlier might just save your campaign in the long run. Many smaller mistakes could have been avoided if someone professional wold give a closer look to what is going to be said and how it is going to be said.

Translation and Interpretation Mistakes with Huge Consequences – Infographic