As well as words that have multiple meanings, there are also cultural connotations with certain phrases that can have an adverse effect on the message you’re trying to communicate.
Similarly, there’s the risk that your intended meaning will be lost if you attempt to directly translate from one language to another, as the task is rarely a simple case of swapping words from the mother tongue into its target equivalent, or vice-versa.
Investing in quality, proven translation services like Rosetta Translation Ltd shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury for businesses looking to expand overseas, it’s a necessity. Here are some examples of why this is the case and what can go wrong when you end up with a bad translation.
Personal care products supplier Clairol fell on the wrong side of the language barrier when trying to market one of its devices in Europe. In the UK, the company’s hair-curling iron – dubbed the ‘Mist Stick’ – enticed consumers with the promise of perfectly-styled locks thanks to special ‘vapour wand’ technology.
However, when bosses decided to use the same name for the tool in Germany, they obviously failed to consult a translator first. ‘Mist’ is slang for ‘manure’ or ‘excrement’, which isn’t exactly an enticing picture to paint for budding beauty queens!
Similarly, this unfortunate translation also caught out the Irish whiskey liqueur Irish Mist. Understandably, there weren’t many Germans caught ordering this from their local bar.
All of the above are examples of why it’s not only important to do your research before launching into a foreign market, but also why the services of a good quality translator on your team should never be underestimated.