The world needs you!

Perhaps you have gone traveling and noticed a translated sign that doesn’t quite make sense. Or maybe you’ve seen an advertisement at home, where the name or accompanying text has strange implications beyond the product that is being sold. If either of these have happened to you, you’re not alone, as mistranslation in advertising is relatively common. That’s why the world needs you! Terminologists can help ensure that the correct words, terms and phrases are chosen for international marketing, for instance, so that mistakes, such as the following, do not occur.

Here you can find some instances where a terminologist would have been very useful:

  • The following IKEA furniture was not necessarily misnamed. However, the words chosen for the names had unfortunate connotations. The following showcase some examples of this in English and in German. This workbench uses the word fart in its name, which, in conjunction with the word full, makes it seem as if the bench is full of flatulence.

fartfull

  • Parker pens wanted to bring their Quink pen to Spain as a product. Their slogan in English was “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” However, when this was translated into Spanish the company used the word embarazar in place of embarrass. While, the two words sound alike they are actually false cognates, as embarazar means to impregnate. The translated slogan promised that the pen would not leak in your pocket and would make you pregnant.

parker

  • When attempting to write the phrase “exit only” in Spanish, Starbucks used the word éxito. While the words look similar, éxito actually means success.

exito aqui

  • Often direct translation tools, such as Google Translate, give a translation that is too literal, or that chooses the wrong translation for the context. The resulting translation is often confusing to readers. This can be seen in the following two images:

evil water

thunderstorms

  • KFC opened stores in China, where the English slogan “Finger Licking Good” was mistranslated into “Eat your fingers off”.

eat fingers off

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