The airline that used the slogan "Fly Naked" in its Spanish-speaking market had meant to promote the high-quality upholstery on its airplane seats with the line it used in English, "Fly in leather."
We don't know how many naked customers bought airline tickets, but it's easy to see why Universe Technical Translation only allows its translators to translate into their native languages and why every project is carefully proofed by experts before it leaves our offices.
|Here are a few more horror stories of text that was, uh, lost in translation:
It Won't Go!
When General Motors exported its popular Nova line to South America, sales suffered. In Spanish, "no va" means "It won't go!"
Careful attention to detail in translation means the difference between success and failure.
The following sign was posted in a Bucharest hotel lobby: "The lift is being fixed for the day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable."
Good translations are part of good customer service for any international company.
A boast on a Swedish restaurant's menu: "Our wines leave you nothing to hope for."
Maybe we could hope for a French wine? Or at least a good proofreader for the translation.
Stop! Drive Sideways.
In Kyushu, Japan, this detour sign must have rerouted traffic in strange ways.
Clarity is the most important consideration for translating directions, procedures, or technical documents.
Have you anything of value left?
In Basra, Iraq, a notice on a restroom exit door read, "Have you left your ring? Have you left your watch? Have you anything of value left?"
A poor translation has little value for anyone and can leave you feeling cheated no matter how good a deal you got. Make sure that your documents are translated by professional translators well acquainted with your industry.
Before the fall of the Iron Curtain, a Soviet newspaper ran an advertisement for tourists. The ad was for "A Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years." Sometimes mis-translations can be fatal!
Making a Splash
An East African newspaper printed the following announcement: "A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers."
Don't throw the bulk of your employees into one small job. Use only a qualified translation agency that can provide efficiency and good service.