***NOTE: Some of these slogans have been reported as "Urban Legends," so take them with a grain of salt.
|When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in leather," it came out in Spanish as "Fly naked."|
|The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish-speaking countries. "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish.|
|When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave."|
|When Coca-Cola first shipped to China, they named the product something that when pronounced sounded like "Coca-Cola." The only problem was that the characters used meant "Bite the wax tadpole." They later changed to a set of characters that mean "Happiness in the mouth."|
|A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.|
|When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as here in the USA - with the cute baby on the label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside since most people can't read.|
THESE ARE ACTUAL SIGNS POSTED IN VARIOUS PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENTS AROUND THE WORLD. THESE ARE EXAMPLES OF HOW TRANSLATION BETWEEN LANGUAGES CAN BE VERY CONFUSING.
|In a Tokyo Hotel: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.|
|In another Japanese hotel room: Please to bathe inside the tub.|
|In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.|
|In a Leipzig elevator: Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.|
|In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.|
|In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.|
|In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.|
|In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.|
|In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.|
|In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastry: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.|
|In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.|
|On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.|
|On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.|
|In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend coureous, efficient self-service.|
|Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.|
|In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.|
|Outside a Paris dress shop: Dresses for street walking.|
|In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation.|
|In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.|
|In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.|
|In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.|
|In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.|
|Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan: Stop Drive Sideways.|
|In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice cream.|
|In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.|
|In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.|
|In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.|
|On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.|
|In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.|
|At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.|
|In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.|
|In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.|
|In a Tokyo shop: Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.|
|From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates. If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.|
|From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.|
|Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance |
- English well talking.
- Here speeching American.
|In an East African newspaper: |
A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.
|In the office of a Roman doctor: |
Specialist in women and other diseases.
|From the Soviet Weekly: |
There will be a Moscow Exibition of the Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic Painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
|Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan: |
Stop: Drive Sideways.
|On the box of a toy made in Hong Kong: |
Guranteed to work throughout it's useful life.
|In the window of a Swedish furrier: |
Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.
|Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: |
Would you like to ride on your own ass?
|In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: |
Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.
|In a Roman laundry: |
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the rest of the afternoon having a good time.
|In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: |
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
|In a Zurich hotel: |
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
|A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: |
It is strictly forbidden in our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.
|In a Vienna hotel: |
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.
|***THE WORST OFFENDERS***|
Here are some of the worst faulty translations.
If you're a young person, you may not want to read these.
|Chicken magnate Frank Perdue's line, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," sounds much more interesting in Spanish: "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."|
|When Vicks first introduce its cough drops on the German market, they were chagrined to learn that the German pronunciation of "v" is f - which in german is equivalent of the F-word.|
|Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce its product, only to learn that "Puff" (pronounced "poof") in German is a colloquial term for a whorehouse. The English weren't too fond of the name either, as it's a highly derogatory term for a homosexual.|