Tuesday’s Terrible Translations

cats and dogs

It is notoriously hard to translate sayings and slogans. These types of phrases have an implied meaning and if you translate them word for word, you are unlikely to make much sense!

For example the famous phrase, “it’s raining cats and dogs”.  It is obviously not raining animals, it is just an expression for a large amount of rain and that has to be reflected in the translation.

Tough, but not impossible!

A few famous brands have fallen victim to literal translations of their slogans over the years, here are just a few…

KFC

KFC got rid of its world famous Finger Lickin’ Good slogan just a few years ago. Unfortunately when this was translated in to Chinese the message of tasty delicious chicken was somewhat lost. Instead of the chicken being so good you had to lick your fingers, it was translated too literally and became “Eat Your Fingers Off!” Not only incorrect but also considered rather rude in China!

KFC

Braniff

Braniff was a Dallas-based airline that made a mishap when translating a promotion. The slogan they used was “Fly in leather” highlighting that the airline boasted leather seats. However, the Spanish translation “Sentado en cuero” fails to imply that the customers will be sitting in leather seats, but suggests that they are sitting naked! Cuero is literally translated as leather, but also means hide, or even just skin.

Oops!

chairs

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