Biggest Brands Fall Victim
has urged any business searching for a translation service to consider the hidden costs of cheap translations before confirming a supplier. The warning comes after a study by mental_floss magazine found even the world’s biggest brands were not immune to lexicon fails, with the likes of Vitaminwater, Umbro. Clairol and the Got Milk? campaign suffering at the hands of translation mishaps.
Manuel Herranz, CEO of Pangeanic says, “Globalisation presents massive opportunities for any business but it also means that managers and stake holders need to be more aware than ever of supplier selection. While a cheap translation service could be tempting, the reality is that it will often come with hidden costs such as a loss of face, bad PR and even fall in market share.
“With the study showing that some of the most recognisable brands in the world have suffered the consequences of poor translation, it’s worth remembering that translation is about much more than knowing what a word means in a second or third language. Localisation is incredibly important and this firsthand knowledge of the culture, customs and use of language just isn’t realistic with a cheap supplier.”
The examples from the mental_floss report include a huge faux pas by Coca Cola, which printed words in French and English inside caps of its VitaminWater product in Canada. Poor translation meant that when paired together customers were insulted rather than engaged with some finding themselves a ‘retard’ or ‘douche’ – both French words with meanings different to their offensive English connotations.
With offices in Valencia, Tokyo and Shanghai, Pangeanic offers a range of services including professional translation, proof-reading, bilingual database management and language advice . Languages covered include Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Russian.
Manuel Herranz, CEO says, “Cheap translation services can be as damaging to a business as poor design and ill mannered customer services. Language is complex. There are lots of shades and nuances. To accelerate a business in an international market, having a comprehensive understanding of language and using a professional, efficient service is essential. It’s so easy with language to translate the meaning out of something. Proper translation involves keeping the original message intact and delivering it in the appropriate way to a new culture.”