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The Horrors of Cross-Cultural Advertising Translations

When it comes to translating a word or a sentence to another language the quickest way is to use an online translator that gives you a hopefully near-perfect translation. But what happens when these go wrong?

Brands and agencies spend millions of dollars each year translating their content to precisely share their message with speakers of a foreign language, or residents of another country. However, the high expense does not necessarily mean that the message will directly translate and be culturally relevant to the consumer. As we examine deeper, American companies have made some funny, yet horrible cross-cultural advertising translations to Spanish speakers worldwide. These errors have likely cost the companies dollars as well as lost opportunities to make relevant cultural connections with potential new clients.

Parker Pens won’t make you Pregnant

parker penA prime example of a historical translation error was when Parker Pen marketed their ballpoint pen in Mexico. Their English ad slogan was, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” Though, the company mistakenly thought that the Spanish word for ’embarrass’ was embarazar, which actually means to be pregnant. The Spanish ad comicly stated, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”…

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