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…
Interesting Target Market
It says its a classic?
Peruvian Man Goo
Pass the Nachos!
Fancy a cuppa? (erm, no thanks)
No idea what this is?
Are they nuts?
Last but not least
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 or look at our ultimate guide to international labelling.
13 thoughts on “10 Food packs we DIDN’T translate”
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.
But pomelo is Grapefruit. Missing something here I think.
Actually, pomelo is different from grapefruit. Self-explanatory link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomelo
黑木耳 is indeed the Jew’s ear. It is also known as the black fungus, wood ear, or jelly ear. It is a very common type of edible mushroom used in Chinese cuisine.
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.
I just returned from Japan and can vouch for the abundance of Pokari Sweat – I personally prefer Sour Calpis XD
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.
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.
Yep, exactly. Not a fail at all, in fact.
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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