Translation Mistakes in Advertising

Advertisement is an essential part of any firm or brand that seeks sustainability in today’s ever-changing business environment.

If one wants to be permanent in the related area, s/he needs to make sure that correct words reach out to millions of people. Those people may belong to any group and speak any language. It does not matter as firms or brands are aware that it is easy to address to any language speaker by making use of translation services. However, if one needs an advertisement material to be understandable and meaningful in any language, s/he needs to make sure that it conveys the same message in any language. Which means there can be no room for bad advertising translations. There cannot be a mistake in word choices that may change the entire meaning of a sentence. Unfortunately, lack of time and resources or the reluctance of providing time and resources pave the way for unacceptable funny advertising translation mistakes.


Key Factors in Advertising Translation

Imagine trying to run an international firm that provides gift services. First, an advertisement in the mother language of that firm needs to be created. This is relatively the easy part. The advertiser is already fluent and an expert in that language. However, if you depend on the same person solely to translate that advertisement into other languages, translation fails in advertising emerge. The entire effort that person put into creating the advertisement may end up being for nothing. Such problems occur almost anytime. Especially if the user is using a machine translation engine to translate such content.

As we all know, Google provides several translation tools when visiting a website and these tools, although not completely reliable, help the visitor to grasp the general meaning. However, as a service provider, if you rely on machine translation, you may step into a road that may threaten the future of your creation. For example, recently an incident occurred.


The Example

A very well-known foreign website selling cheap products was thought to use abusive or sexually alarming language. That website chose not to translate the advertisements of products properly and left the job for machines. The problem with this attitude is the fact that machines take words separately in a sentence and translate word by word. Thus, an advertisement that suggested the arrival of new child clothing items became an advertisement used inappropriate language to describe children clothing items. The problem was brought to attention on social media. The reputation of the website was seriously damaged. This incident proved how dangerous language translation mistakes in advertising can be.


What About Funny Translation Mistakes in Advertising?

Indeed, not every translation mistake causes a sensation. Many funny advertising translation mistakes are being made on a daily basis, specifically when the subject of the advertisement is food. The rich culinary culture of Turkey cannot be easily translated into any other language, and restaurants that try to bring international attention to a specific kind of food usually end up making international advertising translation mistakes. In fact, such advertising blunders as a result of translation errors were put together many times. Also were published as lists that make people laugh.


The Wrap Up

Regardless, it should be noted that although it may be fun to laugh at such errors, similar incidents may happen to anyone. This could be about advertising and marketing content writing and translations or legal and technical. It may be seen as a burden by many firms to have people that will assist in translating advertisements. Yet, the importance of such assistance reveals itself when you see your rival on those blunders or “brands to protest” lists. It may come as the convenience to use a machine or trust someone with mediocre knowledge of that second language to do the translation of advertisements. But the costs may be higher even if a slight mistake is made.

Language translation mistakes in advertising may cause bigger issues than expected. If things get out of control, it is rather difficult to rebrand and move forward from that mistake. Especially if it becomes something like the example mentioned above. Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, people are at a place where bad advertising translations cannot be accepted or tolerated. Therefore, firms or brands that aim internationality should never ignore the importance of this subject. Same concerns are applicable to catalog and brochure translation which can directly affect the brand and its reputation on the local market.

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