Big Blunders from Big Business

In: Business and Management

Submitted By congcong
Words 1387
Pages 6
Big Blunders from Big Business Mistakes in Multinational Marketing (Irwin series in marketing)
By David A. Ricks: http://aib.msu.edu/fellow.asp?FellowID=46 International marketing can be a tricky business. With the increase in global trade, international companies cannot afford to make costly advertising mistakes if they want to be competitive and profitable. Understanding the language and culture of target markets in foreign countries is one of the keys to successful international marketing. Too many companies, however, have jumped into foreign markets with embarrassing results. Out of their blunders, a whole new industry of translation services has emerged. Faulty translations The value of understanding the language of a country cannot he overestimated. Translation mistakes are at the heart of many blunders in international advertising. Since a language is more than the sum of its words, a literal, word-by-word dictionary translation seldom works. The following examples prove this point. Otis Engineering Company once displayed a poster at a trade show in Moscow that turned heads. Due to a poor translation of its message, the sign boasted that the firm’s equipment was great for improving a person’s sex life. The Parker Pen Company suffered an embarrassing moment when it realized that a faulty translation of one of its ads into Spanish resulted in a promise to “help prevent unwanted pregnancies”. Automobile manufacturers in the United States have made several notorious advertising mistakes that have been well publicized. General Motors learned a costly lesson when it introduced its Chevrolet Nova to the Puerto Rican market. Although “nova” means “star” in Spanish, when it is spoken, it sounds like “no va” which means it doesn’t go. Few people wanted to buy a car with that meaning. When GM changed the name to Caribe, sales picked up…...

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