10 Food packs we DIDN’T translate

Translating food packaging isn’t easy – we should know because we do over a thousand products a week. These guys have got it so wrong its funny but could you imagine your product on shelf saying something stupid in a different language? Nor could we, give us a call and we’ll sort it out for you.

For now… here are the top ten disasters we’ve seen this week. In no particular order…

Biscuit Anyone?

anyone fancy a buscuit?

Interesting Target Market

yum! soup for sluts

It says its a classic?


Peruvian Man Goo

man goo

Pass the Nachos!

dip dip dip

Fancy a cuppa? (erm, no thanks)

pee pee tea

Guaranteed fresh

dog, cats, anything

No idea what this is?


Are they nuts?

are they pork scratchings?

Last but not least

I think you can get a cream for that?



If these failures in design start to make you think about how seriously your business takes translation, maybe you should take a look at our specialist services for food retailers.

13 replies
  1. Joseph Lemien
    Joseph Lemien says:

    I can’t comment on most of these, but The Jew’s Ear Juice is actually fairly accurate. (see The trouble there is that not many English speakers (as far as I’m aware) know what jew’s ear is. Perphaps similar to few people knowing pomelo or acai merely because it is uncommon in their part of the world. I was only introduced to jew’s ear it after living in China for a while, and then I knew it as wood ear. I suppose this illustrates the difficulty not merely of doing a good translation into a particular language, but also making sure that the target audience understands it.

  2. Billy Ross
    Billy Ross says:

    There’s a ‘sports drink’ in Japan called POKARI SWEAT. In the gruelling Japanese summer humidity it’s intended to replenish the liquids, minerals and salts your body loses through perspiration. PET SWEAT sounds like a bit of a rip-off, due to the fact that dogs don’t actually sweat. As for Pokari Sweat, it’s popular with the Japanese, but unfortunately tastes like it’s described. Like sweat.

  3. Bäver
    Bäver says:

    About the “Finger Marie” example:
    In Sweden “Mariekex” (“Mary’s biscuits”) are a true classic. We’ve all had them as kids. In England, there’s nothing weird in having “tea fingers” with your cup of tea. Hence I think these biscuits are “Mariekex” in the shape of tea fingers and such a biscuit could be called “finger-Marie” in Swedish. A bit odd admittedly, but possible. (The hyphen really needs to be there though.) In Swedish, “finger” cannot be a verb, only a noun. So I think perhaps that this is funny only in English — in Swedish it’s just a little odd + they’ve missed the hyphen.

  4. Selfish Troll
    Selfish Troll says:

    Also, about the “Urinal” drink – it is actually not meant to be English. The name is used with Czech and Slovak pronunciation and it is a medicine for urinary tract inflammation and such… Hence the name.

  5. Joanna Pawulska Saunders
    Joanna Pawulska Saunders says:

    These are so funny, I’m still laughing! It’s interesting to read the explanations and of course the brands, if marketed in the Anglophone world, may not be taken as seriously as the manufacturers intend. But it does us all good to have a giggle now and then – so thanks so much for sharing!


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  1. […] 10 Food packs we DIDN’T translate 199 views […]

  2. […] drink. Apparently, there is a certain type of wood ear fungus that is called “Jew’s ear.” Jew’s ear juice is a beverage made from the juice squeezed out of the fungus, along with hawthorn, dates and honey […]

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