Yorkshire businesses have massive growth potential in China

The phenomenal growth of the Chinese market continues to amaze the global business community. Most companies who trade internationally know they should get a piece of the action if they can, but the first difficulty is knowing where to start.

There is particular potential for several key sectors:

Food safety – After several highly publicised food quality failures, from tainted milk to expired meat, many Chinese people are focused on the quality of their food. Forbes says “while the quantity and quality of China’s food supply is one of the country’s most pressing problems, it also presents one of the biggest profit-making opportunities for companies and investors alike.”

Healthcare - An ageing population is raising new issues. Medicines, medical equipment, and any products designed to help the elderly stand a chance in the Chinese market.

Retail - A wealthier population has led to an increased demand for luxury goods. Companies willing to invest in a localised eCommerce system will benefit more than companies who don’t make any effort.

IT & Telecoms – There are more mobile phones in use in China than in any other single country. Statista, in October 2014, found that China had over 1.2 billion mobile phones. Compare that to 327 million in the US, and you can see how massive the Chinese market is.

China is not in need of customers, but in need of technology & services to meet consumer demands. Yorkshire has strong food safety, healthcare, retail and IT sectors, so by reaching out to China, Yorkshire-based businesses have massive growth potential.

Lost in translation: untranslatable words across languages

To translate between two languages, it is not enough for a translator to simply be bilingual; they also need to understand the best ways to communicate an equivalent message from the source language into the target language. One common equivalence problem is the existence of ‘untranslatable’ words- words in one language which cannot be translated with an equivalent word in another, but rather require a longer explanation. Here are some of our favourites:

Backpfeifengesicht (German) – a person with a face that you’d like to punch.


Friolero (Spanish) – a person who is always cold.

Jayus (Indonesian) – a joke that is so bad, it’s actually good.

Schnapsidee (German) – a (often somewhat misguided) plan thought up whilst drunk.


Yaourter (French) – to improvise a song when you don’t know the words.

Kyoikumama (Japanese) – a mother who pushes her child to do well at school


Menefreghista (Italian) – a person who is indifferent.


Kummerspeck (German) – literally translated as ‘grief bacon’. To gain weight because of comfort eating.

sad pig

Got some language-specific terms in one of your own texts? Why not get in touch with the Live Translations team to see how we can help you get your message across clearly.

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 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!



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.