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Lost in translation

Even seasoned multinationals sometimes get translation wrong.

Scandinavian vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux launched an American advertising campaign with the strapline “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.

When Pepsi launched in China, their “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” slogan was translated less than well as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”

And Coca Cola did little better when they broke into China. The Chinese characters selected, when spoken aloud, sounded most like “Coca Cola”. Unfortunately, those characters actually mean “taste the wax tadpole”.

The corporate giant soon changed the name to characters that mean “happiness in the mouth”.