Scweppes Tonic Water, Lost in Translation - Translation Mistakes

November 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Translation Mistakes

Schweppes_Soda_Cans_Bottles In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

Be sure to have your translation company translate the words and their meaning before you take your product or service into the global market.

Colgate, Lost in Translation - Translation Mistake

November 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Translation Mistakes

colgate_totalcleanmint Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious pornography magazine.  Not a very good job of localizing the name for the target market.

When taking your products or services global be sure to not only translate but also research the target market to make sure that there aren’t any Lost in Translation moments for your brand.

5 Tips for selecting fonts for your documents that will be translated

Font types Font choice for your source documents is critical as it will need to be used by a foreign language translator and graphic designer.  Keep these five items in mind when you choose a font for translation projects to avoid hiccups in your final translated project.

  1. Try to simplify the total number of fonts used in the document.
  2. Ideally select fonts that are available on both Mac and PC.
  3. Avoid custom and proprietary fonts that can add extra expense to the project.
  4. Remember, character styles used in Western Europe or US English layouts are not always transferable to Asian languages (e.g., bold and italic, upper and lower case).
  5. Decorative fonts can be make accents and special foreign language characters difficult to read or illegible.

There are ways to work around these issues, by sending over your fonts or by converting files to a foreign language font that is similar.  We are used to working in these situations but your forethought is greatly appreciated.

Expansion of Languages when you translate from English

welcome translation Thinking about how your document will look in English is what most of our customers think about.  But there is more when you are translating your documents.  Specifically expansion and contraction of your text when translated.

For example, when translating into a romance language such as French or Spanish, text can expand as much as 20%. Other languages such as Dutch and German tend to use longer words than English and can expand as well. This can present formatting and desktop publishing challenges if not planned well. For example, a table in English that fits nicely on one page may spill over to the next page if translated into Korean.  I have provided approximate expansion or contraction rates below when translating from English into the following languages:

Language % Difference

Arabic                                         104

Chinese                                        61

Czech                                         117

Dutch                                         128

Finnish                                       103

French                                        111

German                                       108

Hindi                                            83

Hungarian                                   113

Italian                                         109

Japanese                                    115

Korean                                        123

Portuguese                                 110

Russian                                       115

Spanish                                       117

Swedish                                        95

Keep this in mind when formatting your English - don’t squeeze all of your text into a cramped space with tiny font as this will cause issues for your translation projects.