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Home --> Business --> Mistranslations


Doing business with foreign countries is a tricky undertaking. More than one company has become a source of derision or scorn to other cultures due to a failure to successfully translate their advertising copy or slogan into the local language.

Ratings Key

        Green bullet = true
        Red bullet = false
        Multiple status bullet = multiple truth values
        Yellow bullet = undetermined
        White bullet = unclassifiable veracity

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definition of our rating system.

Red bullet The Chevrolet Nova sold poorly in Mexico because its name translates as "doesn't go" in Spanish.

Multi-colored bullet Coca-Cola translated their name into Chinese as "bite the wax tadpole."*

Yellow bullet Pepsi's "Come Alive With Pepsi!" was understood by the Chinese to mean "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead."

Red bullet The title of the arcade game 'Donkey Kong' was the result of a mistranslation.

Red bullet Southern California Sav-On drug store outlets were renamed Osco, then reverted to the original Sav-On name when their parent company discovered "asco" means "disgust" in Spanish.

Yellow bullet Mitsubishi mistakenly named a model of car 'Starion' instead of 'Stallion' due to Japanese pronunciation difficulties.

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