As an end of the week moment, here are a few, possibly apocryphal, tales of products that got ‘lost in translation’, written as an accompaniment to an article about multi-lingual SEM.

This is a reminder to all that, when attempting to conduct internet marketing overseas, it is wise to use someone who knows the lie of the land!

Car Companies

When Vauxhall tried to launch the Nova in Spanish speaking countries, there was of course general choking on sangria as anyone who speaks Spanish knows that No Va means “doesn’t go”.

Rolls Royce made a similar mistake with the Silver Mist, many years ago, and obviously didn’t need sales in Germany where mist means “manure or dung”. It was renamed the Silver Shadow!

Ford made a similar mistake with the Pinto in Brazil, where pinto means “small or undersized male genitalia”.

And Mitsubishi had to rename the Pajero in Spanish countries and call it the Montero or Shogun….you can look that one up yourselves.

This series will no doubt get added to over time and extend beyond the automotive industry….feel free to add your ‘Lost in Translation’ brand and marketing errors.

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