I was doing some translations from English into Spanish and after many years I still come across words or phrases that I have to think 3 times about. It still amuses us regularly as we find these funny translations on restaurant menus and things.
Amusing translations are nothing new and I thought I’d share a few famous ones with you:
Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan “it takes strong man to make tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make chicken affectionate”
When Parker Pen marketed their range of ball point pens in Mexico there intent was to say “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” Unfortunately ‘embarazar’ does not mean embarrassed so it translated into “it won’t leak in your pocket making you pregnant”
An American T-shirt maker printing shirts for the Spanish market wondered why they didn’t sell many of their “I saw the pope (El Papa)” T-shirts. It seems that “I saw the potato (LaPapa)” wasn’t something they wanted to shout about.
When American Airlines were launching their “fly in leather” campaign, Spanish people thought that it may get a bit chilly to “Vuela en Cuero” (Fly naked).
Ok, one to finish, altho not related to the Spanish language, more a lack of language skills altogether;
When Gerber started selling their baby food in parts of Africa (hmm, yes , ‘selling’ but thats another issue) they used the same marketing and packaging as they do in the US with a picture of a cute little baby on the front..
It was only later learned that the standard practice in these parts of Africa, due to the lack of the 3 r’s (reading writing and arithmetic, (see, i remember schooling)) was not to write on the labels but to use pictures of the food it contained. Ewwwww
I’m sure most of you have come across some of these incorrect translations, let us know of the ones that you found particularly amusing.