New Psychiatric Sign
Q: What sign do you find on the door to the psychiatric ward?
A: "Please do not disturb further."
Dear Ann Dilemma
I am facing a very serious problem. You see, I am a Vietnam-era deserter from the U. S. Marines, and I have a cousin who works for Microsoft. My mother peddles Nazi literature to Girl Scouts, and my father - a former dentist - is in jail for 30 years, for raping most of his patients while they were under anesthesia. The sole supports of our large family, including myself and my $500-a-week heroin habit, are my uncle Benny (a master pick-pocket nicknamed "The Fingers"), my 70-year-old aunt Hester (a shoplifter), and my two kid sisters (who are well-known streetwalkers.)
My problem is this: I have just gotten engaged to the most beautiful, sweetest girl in the world. She is only 16 years old, so we are going to marry as soon as she can escape from reform school. To support ourselves, we are going to move to Mexico and start a fake Aztec souvenir factory staffed by child labor. We look forward to bringing our kids into the family business.
But, I am worried that my family will not make a good impression on hers. Should I, or shouldn't I, tell her about my cousin who works for Microsoft?
Hunter Shot By a Fox
The following is supposedly a true story. To be included, besides being true, the story is most likely strange, weird, surprising, or funny.
Hunter Shot to Death By a Fox, Belgrade, Associated Press
A fox shot and killed a 38-year-old hunter in central Yugoslavia, the official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported yesterday. Salih Hajdur, a farmer from the village of Gornje Hrasno in the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina, went to a nearby forest Sunday to shoot a fox, Tanjug said. Hajdur wounded a fox in the leg, the agency said, but to spare the skin he did not fire again. Instead, he hit the animal with his refle butt. The struggling animal triggered a shot that hit Hajdur in the chest and killed him instantly, Tanjug said. The fox died later, Tanjug added.
True Marketing Errors
Below are fine examples of what happens when marketing translations fail to reach a foreign country in an understandable way.
- Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose" into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea."
- Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick" a curling iron, into German only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "manure stick".
- Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.
- The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem-Feeling Free", was translated into the Japanese market as "When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty."
- When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside, since most people can't read English.
- An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of, "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I saw the potato" (la papa).
- In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water."
- Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave," in Chinese.
- When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."
- The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."
- Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."
- When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.
- Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
Buckeyes vs Wolverines!
In the Ohio State Buckeyes locker room in Columbus, there's a sign stating, "Play like champions today!"
There's also one in the Michigan Wolverines locker room that says, "Don't forget your HELMET!"