Watch Those Translations!
Communicating with a target market means more than tossing out catchy slogans. A few companies learned this the hard way when they tried to translate their catchy English slogans directly into Spanish.
- Braniff beckoned its passengers to “Fly in Leather,” and Eastern Airlines proclaimed that “We Earn Our Wings Daily.” Both of these now-defunct airlines were terribly mistaken. A Spanish speaker would think Braniff was asking its riders to “Fly Naked,” and a Spanish translation of the Eastern slogan evoked a final destination in heaven, following death.
- A few classic marketing blunders: General Motors discovered too late that “Nova” literally means “Doesnt go” in Spanish.
- Coors encouraged its English-speaking customers to “Turn It Loose,” but the phrase in Spanish meant “Suffer from Diarrhea.”
- Budweisers “King of Beers” becomes “Queen of Beers” in Spanish because the Spanish word for beer, “cerveza,” has a feminine ending.
- And when Frank Perdue said, “It Takes a Tough Man to Make a Tender Chicken,” Spanish speakers heard “It Takes a Sexually Stimulated Man to Make a Chicken Affectionate.”