Posted in International Communication on June 10, 2010 by Ann-Christin Lindstedt
Have you seen these famous examples of translation gone wrong?
"Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" (Swedish company marketing vacuums to the USA)
"Bite the Wax Tadpole" (Coca-Cola's first try at translating it's product name into Chinese)
"It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant." (Parker Pen marketing a ballpoint pen in Mexico)
Obviously, these highly visible mistakes can devastate an international marketing campaign. What you don't often hear about are the less visible writing mistakes that can slowly bleed your company dry. The ones that aren't plastered all over billboards and magazine ads, but handed directly to individual clients, prospects, and business partners.
I'm talking about the business communication you generate on a weekly or daily basis: letters, proposals, emails, newsletters, blog articles, memos, etc. Although not as visible as public marketing messages, writing mistakes in your international business communication are just as toxic to your brand.
Weak International Business Writing Undermines Your Brand's Image.
► Your marketing is your brand's image. Your business communication is your brand's voice. Do they match?
If you've spent countless hours and dumped your whole budget into a slick image, how will people react when what comes out of your "mouth" sounds terrible. Suddenly, your brand isn't looking so pretty anymore.
Weak International Business Writing Lowers Your Brand's Income Potential.
Weak International Business Writing Decreases Your Brand's Credibility / Authority / Influence.
One more thing:
Weak International Business Writing Can Destroy Your Personal Brand, Too.
► In the next blog post, we'll talk about what can make your international business writing weak — and we'll discuss ways to strengthen yours as it crosses borders.
What funny (or just bad) translation mistakes and weak writing have you seen from international companies?
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