Expanding your business into global markets can be tricky. You need to develop a strategy, business plan and establish a beachhead team. If you want to launch your products abroad successfully, you will have to speak the language of your customers.
Let’s not forget that the right slogan can help your company achieve success. Coming up with one can be difficult even in your native language. What’s about creating slogans in a foreign language? Sometimes they can get completely lost in translation. Interpretation mistakes in the business world can lead to fatal consequences.
The Coca-cola Company in China
Launching the product on the Chinese market is a goal of most growing corporations. The Coca-cola company isn’t an exception. Not paying to much attention to linguistic characteristics of Chinese language, they translated the name of the company as Ke-kou-ke-la. This phrase literally means “female horse stuffed with wax” or “bite the wax tadpole” depending on the dialect. The company discovered it only after thousands of signs had been printed. Its representatives researched more than 40.000 Chinese characters to find a close phonetic equivalent. Now the company’s name sounds like ‘ko-kou-ko-le.’ It can be translated as ‘happiness in the mouth.’
The same trouble happened to the major Coke’s competitor.
PepsiCo in China
When Pepsi tried to bring its product to China, its brand slogan was lost in translation. The original slogan ‘Come alive with the Pepsi Generation’ came out as ‘It will bring your dead ancestors back to life.’ The Chinese consumers were probably very surprised to see this kind of ‘killer campaign.’ When PepsiCo discovered their horrible mistake, it was too late.
Check out the infographic below to learn more about interpretation mistakes, according to Lighthouse Online: