Translation and Localization Services Are in Place to Avoid Business Failures
Last Updated On: December 21, 2021 by The Migration Translators
Adapting a business message for another country in a different language isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. Many errors have been made because companies try to avoid spending too much on translation so they just get their business message across using the simple word for word translation. There is far more to a successful translation than just words, as there are the cultural aspects of a language group to consider as well. It’s extremely important to localize your marketing materials by using professional localization and translation services from reputed language service companies!
Where has international marketing failed?
- One of the top examples of a failed international marketing strategy was in 1994 when Orange, the telecommunications company, launched a marketing campaign with the following advert. The “future is bright, the future is Orange.” Unfortunately for the company this advert was destined for Ireland’s market and didn’t go down well at all. This is because the color orange represents the Protestants in the country, thus implying the future in Ireland was for just Protestant and not the Catholic.
- The number two failure is the LifeFitness Logo. This business manufactures exercising equipment and its logo is LF which is too close to 4F. This later symbol is to do with the U.S. military categorization of its personnel and 4F means that an individual isn’t considered to be physically fit enough to be drafted into the army. Quite inappropriate for the marketing of a fitness machine.
- Third, comes the marketing of Pepsi in Gujarati in India. One of the adverts depicted a youngster serving out Pepsi to an Indian cricket team who was celebrating a win. This was considered to be in poor taste as it glorified child labor so Hyderabad, the city where it was posted on a TV channel, sued Pepsi.
- This is the marketing failure for Smith Crayola International, Crayola Crayons. In 1962 this company was pressurized to alter the name of its flesh-colored products to peach colored to make them suit different colored skins.
- A Gerber marketing campaign fell by the wayside too in France because the word Gerber almost means vomiting which of course would be totally unsuitable for a healthy baby food product. French speakers in Quebec found it unacceptable as well.
- IKEA is a global name and represents a Swedish furniture making company. One product a workbench with wheels was marketed by IKEA under the most unsuitable name Fartfull. The word is fine to use in Swedish as the meaning of Fährt is a vehicle that moves using wheels but rather off-putting if used when marketing to English speaking markets.
- The internet dating site JokeSeventh is an Israeli business that refers to it being an “Intimidate Dating Service” in English. This sounds entirely unattractive to an English speaker but not so for a Hebrew speaker because in this language intimi means intimate which is fine to use in a website targeting Israelis.
- Irish Mist Liqueur International took its marketing campaign to Germany, not realizing the word mist when translated means “dung,” so the phrase “Irish Dung” was not really that appealing amongst the German market.
- Traficante Mineral Water is a water processing company from Italy and “Traficante” is one of its brands of mineral water. When targeting the Spanish market the product name sounds quite similar narcotraficante which is a word used for a drug dealer. So the mineral water was not so popular after all.
- Sharwoods sauces have a range of sources called “Bundh.” When these were marketed in India, Punjabi speakers were not happy at all as the word “bundh” resembles a similar word in Punjabi which means one’s backside. Sharwoods were hesitant about changing the name as it was up to the Punjabi market to taste the product before expressing an opinion about it.
These 10 failures which would have cost the businesses both reputation and money are in part due to the companies failing to emphasize the importance of localization when getting marketing material translated and ready to be deployed to the markets of non-English speakers.
Localization prepares a translation so it fits the cultural characteristics of the targeted market. Anything from colors to words directly influenced the way different cultures view the world. Only if a market strategy is just right will it have a powerful influence on the buying intentions of the global market.
Sometimes, businesses think they are marketing a product that has a well-known name. This could be true, but this doesn’t prevent potential customers from shifting away from a product if the advertising material doesn’t suit their cultural preferences. So it is wise to get your business website translated and localized by a professional translation service so you get off on the right footing.