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One often hilarious side effect of globalization is that product names and commercial Slogans do not always translate well into other languages and cultures. The problem is frequently compounded by the translator's ignorance of idioms or regional usages that a native speaker would understand and/or avoid. The result is a slogan that insults, offends, or unintentionally amuses the reader.

Note that many of the examples of this trope which can be found on the Web -- like the infamous "Chevy Nova"/"no va" story -- are in fact Urban Legends with no basis in truth. But there are a few actual cases out there.

A subtrope of Blind Idiot Translation. One result of Not Doing The Bloody Research. Compare with Gratuitous English, My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels, In My Language, That Sounds Like..., Clean Dub Name. The entire point of the Homogenous Multinational Ad Campaign is to avoid this, and a Market-Based Title is another way to.

Examples of Bite the Wax Tadpole include:


Beverages (non-alcoholic)

  • This trope is named for one of the classic examples, an attempt to transliterate "Coca-Cola" into Chinese; the right sounds were used, but the wrong characters were written, with the result that instead of advertising soft drinks, the consumption of paraffin larval amphibians was encouraged. (Note that this was never the official name; rather, before there was an official Mandarin version, shopkeepers who sold Coke would use whichever transliteration they wanted). Dave Barry declared "Bite the Wax Tadpole" to be "the best name I ever heard for a soft drink." (The closest "bite the wax tadpole" could ever get to sounding like Coca-Cola would be 齰蝌蚪蜡 - cuòkēdǒulà. Close, but no cigar.)
    • Coca-Cola has had other problems with Chinese. A simple dialect variation on the phrase that provides the trope name resulted in "Bite the wax-fattened mare". The eventual official transliteration ends up being a fairly close approximation (they couldn't actually transliterate it exactly and have a good name, as there's no character reading as "La" that has a meaning that sounds like anything you'd actually want to put in your mouth -- in fact, the most common character for it means "Wax", hence that word showing up so much in these stories) of the original pronunciation, with the added bonus of actually meaning "tasty and fun."
  • In a related story, the slogan "Come alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation" was allegedly accidentally marketed in Taiwan as "Pepsi brings your ancestors Back From the Dead." Gets a Shout-Out in Mass Effect 2, where the soft drink Tupari Sport is advertised with the slogan "Tupari: Brings your ancestors back from the grave!"
  • Calpis, a popular Japanese milky soft drink was derived as a portmanteau of cal from calcium and pis from sarpis (butter flavor in Sanskrit). In English, it sounds similar to "cow piss". The product's name was changed to "Calpico" in Asian supermarkets in English speaking countries, but still retains the original katakana spelling.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, sarsaparilla (which is relatively similar to American root beer) is often abbreviated down to "sars." Apparently no one there is concerned about a soft drink whose name sounds like a disease.
    • A lot of people in Oz & NZ were probably amused about a disease whose name sounded like a fizzy soft drink...
    • This editor has never in thirty years heard the term 'sars' used in Australia for a soft drink.
    • The important difference here is the second 's'. The second 's' in the drink is pronounced as in 'sole', while the 's' in the disease is pronounced as a 'z'.
  • The unfortunately named Pocari Sweat is a popular energy drink in Japan. It actually tastes pretty good, but you wouldn't know it from reading the label.
    • Not to mention the spin-off drink Pet Sweat.

Beverages (alcoholic)

  • A port called Cockburn's Dry Tang got its name changed in Sweden because in Swedish, "tång" means "seaweed" (and is also a rather obscure slang term for vagina, which puts the dryness in a whole new context). It ended up being changed to the hilarious-sounding (in English) "Cockburn's Dry Cock", proving this trope runs both ways. And this didn't solve the problem, because in Sweden, more or less everyone knows enough English to recognize the hilarity.
    • Cockburn's Dry Tang: Do you smoke after sex?
    • Cockburn's even had to make an advert just to clear up the confusion: it is pronounced co - burns. This doesn't change the fact that it looks like it's saying something dirty. We could go on about how the name is derived from an Old English personal name meaning "warrior with black sword," which doesn't help with the dick jokes, but you probably get the idea.
      • Barry Humphries' Les Patterson character once remarked that he was informed of this pronounciation by "A plummy-voiced pom who presumably asks his wife every night for a fuh."
  • The Irish whiskey-based liqueur Irish Mist was marketed in Germany under its English name until the makers realized that "Mist" is the German term for manure.
    • Similarly, Rolls-Royce developed a model called the 'Silver Mist' that was due to be debuted at a German motorshow. A few days before the show opened, the mist/manure issue was pointed out to them. A new name was decided on quickly and new name plates manufactured which were flown to Germany and fitted to the car before the show opened.
    • Another version of this story had Clairol attempting to market a product called the 'Mist Stick'.
      • Even more hilarious, because it is similar to 'Miststück' ('bitch', literally 'piece of manure')!
    • Surely, at least some of these companies Did Not Do the Research -- as any good etymological dictionary shows, the English word "mist" is a word borrowed from Old German and originally had connotations of the steam rising from a freshly-deposited pile of dung. As time went on, the romantic light-fog association remained and the unromantic origin quietly disappeared.
  • This one was mocked by Swedish comedy duo 'Anders And Måns' -- a beverage called 'Nordic Fog'. They seemed to think it would be neat to have a Danish 'Ø', tying in with the Nordic theme -- unfortunately, despite what it seems to be, the Danish 'Ø' is an 'Ö'. They had called their name 'Nördic Fog', which sounds really rather similar to 'Nördig Fog', or 'nerdy fog'.
  • "Hell(es)" means a pale lager beer in German. The Austrian town Fucking now (intentionally) advertises their beer as "Fucking Hell".
    • Not the village itself, note. Its inhabitants (presumably, quite a dour bunch) are actually dead tired of English-speaking tourists stealing their entry signs and generally coming just to make fun of their village's name, and actively contemplating changing it to something less amusing. The brewery using that trick is from Germany, and probably wrestled that permission from Fucking's council under a gunpoint.


Transportation-related

  • The Ford Cortina was originally going to be marketed as the Ford Caprino, until caprino turned out to be Spanish for 'goat-like' or 'goaty'.
    • Well it's not a common word, unlike "cortina", that means "curtain". Kind of ridiculous.
  • Honda has also fallen victim to this. A new model was to be introduced under the name "Fitta", when it was discovered that the word is a crude term for female genitalia used in Norwegian and Swedish. The car was renamed to "Jazz" in certain markets and "Fit" in others.
    • To add even more hilarity, the car was advertised with the slogan "It looks small on the outside, but is huge once you get in".
  • There is a bus company in Germany called Fücker. Many Germans speak enough English to find this amusing. One has to wonder if any of its routes go to the Austrian village of Fucking (linked site is probably SFW if not kid-friendly).
    • Also, instead of using two dots as part of the "ü", the company Fücker uses something resembling a monobrow, resulting in the letter "ü" actually being recognized as a "u".
    • The unfortunately named 'Lamers' bus line used to show up in video game forums all the time. Go Lamers!
    • There's also a bus company called "DAU" in Germany. Not all that funny, unless you know that "DAU" is a common play on the nuclear facility term "GAU" meaning the "Biggest Imaginable Accident/Disaster". (Tchernobyl was considered a Super-GAU). "DAU" means "Dümmster anzunehmender User". Literally "Most Stupid Imaginable User", and is used by Computer and electronic savvy people as well as by the poor guys working in Help callcenters at the companies who produce that stuff, to refer to those really hopeless cases you have heard of who want help and make you want to headdesk - you know, the kind that buys a monitor and thinks that's a computer, etc.. Even more funny since the DAU busses have actually been spotted in the parking lot in front of computer and electronics fairs and conventions - meaning someone actually must have travelled there in them.
  • The Buick Lacrosse was renamed Buick Allure in Canada because in Quebecois slang not only is crosse a word meaning "fraud, swindle, rip off", but the verb also can mean "to jerk off". For the 2nd generation, the name was restored, and GM also began to offer replacement nameplates for those who are silly enough to want them.
    • True, lacrosse is one of Canada's two official sports (hockey being the other). But then consider "tonsil hockey".
  • There is a public transport company in Locarno in Switzerland called FART (Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi, Italian for "Ticino Regional Railways and Buses"), much to the amusement of English-speaking tourists visiting the city. The Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland has a Crowning Moment of Funny with the line "that's the company name, not the means of propulsion". Many locals find this just as amusing, as most Swiss speak English.
  • The wheelchair brand Quickie was actually meant to be a double entendre: one of its first slogans was "You need a Quickie."
  • The Mitsubishi Pajero SUV is marketed as the Montero or Shogun in some regions because "Pajero" is slang in some dialects of Spanish for "Wanker". (One of these is Mexican Spanish, hence the "Montero" labeling in the US. Another of those is European Spanish, which is why the sight of imported Pajeros is always accompanied by a chuckle)
  • Enco was the name planned for a consolidation of the Enco and Esso brands of Standard Oil of New Jersey, until it was learned that "enco" means "stalled car" in Japanese. They decided to rebrand their stations as Exxon, instead.
  • Anthony Fokker's aircraft is a beautiful and historically significant piece of Dutch aerospace engineering. Among its many famous exploits, it was flown by the ace of aces, Baron Von Richthofen. But more importantly, it is a lot of fun to say over the radio.
Cquote1
"And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the very first Fokker airplane built in the world. The Dutch call it the mother Fokker."
Custodian at the Aviodome aviation museum, Schiphol airport Amsterdam.
Cquote2
  • The Toyota MR 2 performance car mysteriously failed to sell in France. It was pointed out to the baffled executives that MR 2 is pronounced "em-air-deux" in French, or "est merdeux". Although a reasonably acceptable word in French nobody wanted a car called the "Toyota Is Shitty".
  • The Nissan Cedric. According to legend, Australian advisors told Nissan that in Australia "Cedric" is or was slang for homosexual, to which the Nissan executives replied: "Australia has many homosexuals, therefore we shall sell many cars!"
  • There is a story out there that when Chrysler began selling cars in Chinese markets, they did inexplicably poorly. It turned out that when "Chrysler" was transliterated into Mandarin Chinese, it became "about to die".


Electronics and related

  • Wang Computers embraced the Double Entendre produced by their company name, airing commercials urging consumers to "play with their Wangs".
    • In an issue of the Badger comic, Mavis destroys Ham's computer, at which he says, "I hope you're satisified Madam! Now I no longer have the biggest Wang in town!"
    • Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!
    • "Thank goodness he's drawn attention away from my shirt!"
    • Do you like my Wang?
    • Similarly, the Wang linker (named of course after the Chinese researcher who pioneered it) is a linking group in solid-state organic catalysis. Guaranteed to raise giggles among chemistry undergraduates when it comes up in lectures.
    • Wang tiles are studied by some geometers and logicians.
    • A man in the Netherlands made a rather modest museum to Wang computers. What did he call it? Why, the Small Wang Museum, of course!
    • Incidentally, though Wang Computers no longer exists, the name lives on as the name of the Wang Theatre in Boston, which led to it being used in a punchline in a local morning DJ's comedy sketch about "Viagra: the Musical".
    • And then there is the story about them trying to rename their support system Wang Care
Cquote1

 Day one of rename

Operator: Good morning Wang Care, how can I help.

Caller: Who the *#£! are you calling Wangcare.




Day 2 - Name change

Cquote2
  • The Nintendo Wii's name was intended to invoke playing with other people; as they say in the commercials, "Wii would like to play". However, it has inspired all kinds of jokes about gamers "running home so they can (play with their) Wii". Unlike Wang, Nintendo hasn't really embraced this one (The shape of the controller does not help).
    • Shortly after people in the UK ran out of piss jokes on the day the name was first announced, somebody else realized that Nintendo's UK distributor - the company charged with the task of steady streams of Wii into the channel - was a German-based company called Koch Media. Hilarity Ensued.
    • "How long until I can have a Wii?" was a common refrain among prank callers to the pre-order line when the Wii was announced. "I don't think I can hold it that long" was their reply when they were told a few months. On a more tragic note, a Sacramento woman attempting to win a Wii in a competition that played on this Double Entendre (whoever managed to drink the most water without peeing won a Wii) died of water intoxication.
      • Said contest was even called "Hold Your Wee for a Wii". This troper, having been a Sacramento resident at that time, confirms that Wii jokes were plentiful after that event.
    • Americans, meanwhile, while they know of the aforementioned usage, are more likely to think in terms of "playing with their Wii", as in A Date with Rosie Palms. Oddly enough, the fact that the connotation is even more dirty may have worked out better overall, as it seems to have caused the joke to have become played out fairly quickly.
      • Saturday Night Live had a season 34 sketch on the Valentine's Day episode hosted by Alec Baldwin (with The Jonas Brothers as musical guests) that had a sketch that equated using the Wii's controls with male masturbation.
    • Because Wii sounds like "wie" (how), it lead to some Who's on First?-esque jokes.
      • Still, potential customers are known to call electronics stores and ask if they have any "dubya-eye-eyes" in stock.
    • It also sounds like the French word "oui" (yes). Which lead to some jokes among French gamers.
    • By the way, this really sends a mixed message from Nintendo, as they chose the name because it was easy to pronounce in multiple languages. But they don't want to embrace the wordplay of those translations. Can't win 'em all, Nintendo!
    • It's interesting to note that the prototype name, Nintendo Revolution, would have eliminated all of these problems.
  • TrekStor was forced to rename the latest MP3 player in its i.Beat line -- namely, the i.Beat Blaxx -- due to the unintended racial connotations of the name.
    • Of course, "i.Beat" by itself could be used in a couple gags a la "Wii". It's obviously nowhere near as bad, though.
  • The word lund is Urdu and Punjabi slang for a man's genitalia, which is fair enough. Some British-Asian dialects spell and pronounce it lan, which causes predictable hilarity when GCSE Information Technology classes are taught about local area networking.
    • Translation from computer-speak to the real world are often unintentionally amusing. Courtesy of the unix command line, one might casually finger a co-worker, then fsck and mount one's hard drive.
      • Indeed, in French, "bit" refers to a private part of the masculine anatomy. Hilarity Ensues regularly in basic binary algebra classes...
    • Also note late American race car driver Tiny Lund.
  • The name of the video game company Sega also happens to be a crude Italian slang term meaning "to masturbate." This is why, when Arsenal Football Club was sponsored by Sega, its shirts sported the logo of the company's then-current flagship product rather than the word Sega itself, Arsenal often finding itself playing in Italy or against Italian opposition.
    • The Italian soccer team U.C. Sampdoria did the same for the same reason, which is also why all Italian commercials always pronounced "Sega" as "seega".
  • When Apple announced that it's tablet was to be called the "iPad", it elicited many groans from all sides - half who were fans of Mad TV, who did a parody commercial about a feminine hygiene product that combined an iPod with a maxi pad a full four years before a product with the name iPad would become a reality. And the other half who realized that if you thought about it, it was "Mac's iPad".
    • It gets worse when thick accents are involved. In Newfoundland, Canada, the native Newfoundland accent pronounces both "iPod" and "iPad" almost interchangeably.
  • The name for the company Pixar. It sounds perfectly clean in English, but in Catalan (the language spoken in Barcelona and vicinity), "pixar" means "to urinate."
  • Sega means to procrastinate or do something slowly in Swedish slang as well as tough in terms of food. SEGA must have had a hard time convincing people that the blast-processing really worked quickly and that Sonic was actually fast.
  • An example that looks funny in English: the German electronics company Siemens. Though the German pronunciation, ZEE-mens, is retained in English-speaking countries, dirty-minded anglophones unfamiliar with German phonetics don't have to stretch their imaginations too far.
  • The Commodore VIC-20 was originally going to be called the Vixen, until Commodore realized it would be unsellable in Germany, since "vixen" sounds like wichsen ("to wank"). They shortened it to VIC and came up with a backronym (Video Interface Chip), but that too wouldn't fly in Germany, because "vic" sounds like Fick ("fuck"). They ended up calling it the VC-20 in Germany, VC standing for Volkscomputer, and VIC-20 everywhere else.


Television

  • Apparently, the new name chosen by the Sci Fi Channel, "Syfy" is Polish slang for syphilis.
    • Specifically, "syf" approximately translates to "filth/dirt", and is used as slang for syphilis. The additional 'y' at the end is the correct construction to make the "syf" word plural. Reasonable translations from Polish to English for "syfy" would include "filthy things" and "syphilitics".
      • The plural word, "syfy", is most commonly used as a slang for "pimples" (the spots on skin).
  • In Iceland, the "pika" part of Pikachu's name was spelled approximately (and pronounced exactly) like the native word for "vagina". The anime series was localized as well and no one bothered to come up with a new name for the poor thing. Although, since the games and trading cards were already there, and that could mean translating the entire franchise.
    • In Brazil, "Pica" (pronounced the same way) is slang for penis. They didn't really change Pikachu's name, though.
    • In Czech, "Pichu" is pronounced like the word for female genitalia. When the second generation of Pokémon arrived at the Czech Republic, kids everywhere had to joke about Pikachu's vagina.
  • Both Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi had the character "Chachi," which sounds a lot like the Korean word for penis ("chaji").


Film

  • In Greece, Charlton Heston's name is spelled "Charlton Easton" due to his regular name sounding like Greek for "shit him" or "fuck him."


Food

  • When Ben and Jerry's first started selling their ice cream in Japan, they couldn't figure out why their "Chunky Monkey" flavor wasn't selling very well. Turns out that the name was mistranslated as "Chunks of Monkey".
    • The "Black and Tan" flavour has never made it to Ireland due to that phrase having certain nasty historic connotations there.
  • Since "chicken" is a Chinese slang term for a prostitute the KFC slogan "We do chicken right" when translated literally into Chinese is "It's right that we become prostitutes".
    • Another KFC slogan, "Finger-Lickin' Good" was translated as "Eat Your Fingers Off."
  • The Sharwoods Bundh curry sauce raised some eyebrows among Punjabi speakers, as it resembles a Punjabi slang term for someone's backside.
  • Marketers of the American toothpaste brand Colgate ran into problems when they decided to advertise in Latin America, as "colgate" (pronounced "call-GAH-teh") translates to "hang yourself" in voseante varieties of Spanish.
  • And, of course, how can we not mention the problem of advertising a "cock soup" in the USA.
  • Supposedly Perdue Farms' "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken" slogan was translated in Mexico as "It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate".
  • In Norway, "sodd" is an archaic word for soup, and has named a major label of canned vegetables. It doesn't have much of a foreign market.
  • This can even take place between dialects of English, such as with faggots.
    • And the Cornish gave us pasties (pronounced "PASS-tees"), a wrapped pastry case filled with beef, potatoes, turnips, and onions. These then spread to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, parts of Minnesota and Montana, and other places Cornish miners went. When people outside these areas read about eating pasties, they may be alarmed, and with good reason.
  • The Latin American bread brand named Bimbo, which is after their mascot, a bear. Snickers among Americans ensue, where "bimbo" is an insult meaning "stupid girl."
    • Bimbo packaging attempts to prevent this by instructing the consumer to "Say 'Beembo!'"

Music

  • The bassoon is called a fagotto in Italian, plural fagotti.
    • As the Polish word for a bassoon is the similar fagot, an English-Polish dictionary has a note warning Polish speakers that the English word "faggot" does not have the same meaning.
    • The same goes for Swedish where it's called fagott, this causes hilarity when Swedes who are not well versed in English insults translate texts.
      • in dutch it's also called a "fagot", which led to "hilarious" yuo=fagot image macros featuring bassoons in the days of jeff-k.
  • This was also mocked by the Swedish comedy duo 'Anders And Måns' -- the band 'Trojan', with an umlaut over the 'o'. This made it 'Tröjan', which means 'the shirt' in Swedish.
  • In the 00s, London had a nightclub called "Huje". This caused some amusement among the local Polish community, as it literally means "dicks" in Polish. (No, it wasn't that kind of nightclub.)
  • Musician La Roux, aka Elly Jackson, whose band is named for her flame-red hair (la roux means "the red" in French, from Latin russus red); it also means a base for a sauce made out of flour and butter or margarine, as seen here. Not quite the effect they were intending for in some countries where Everything Sounds Sexier in French.
  • One of the most prominent Polish piano manufacturers is Calisia. The company's name is the Latin name for its native city of Kalisz. Allegedly, Calisia pianos had to be sold under a changed name in Finland, since the company name was similar to the Finnish word for "long underpants".
    • This sounds improbable, since the Finnish word for long underpants is "kalsarit", which doesn't sound remotely the same. On the other hand the name sounds very much like "kalisija", which in turn would mean "a clattering thing", "a clatterer", which doesn't exactly promise a high quality musical instrument.


Household items

  • Electrolux's slogan for their vacuum cleaners, "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux," took on a rather negative connotation in America.
    • This was done knowingly, but is still damned funny.
    • And paraphrased later by the satirical "The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck will be the day they start making vacuum cleaners."
    • Apple, on the other hand, will one day create a vacuum cleaner called the iSuck.
    • Don't forget the electric fan: the iBlow.
  • One attemp to create a visual, text-free ad for laundry detergent backfired in the Middle East: The advertisement was a before/after picture with the detergent in the center, intended to be read left-to-right (dirty laundry + detergent = clean clothes). However, Middle East countries read things from right to left....
    • There was a similar story, though the ad was for a beverage. From left-to-right, it showed a famished man in the desert, then the guy drinking one of the products, then shows him healthy.
    • Sadly, a simple top-to-bottom order would have easily solved the problem.
  • According to another story, a manufacturer of ball-point pens tried to advertise in Spanish that their pens "won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". But they mistook embarazar ("to become pregnant") as being Spanish for "embarrass", and wound up with ads saying the pens "won't leak in your pocket and impregnate you".
  • IKEA got in trouble when it advertised its "Gutvik" brand bunk beds in Germany -- because while "Gutvik" is the name of a town in Sweden, it's an explicit sexual reference in German. [1]
    • The remake of Battlestar Galactica was perhaps thinking of this when they included the use of the "Frak" mirror set from IKEA in the show. "Frak" is the show's signature Unusual Euphemism.
      • The word "Frak" is in the original 70's series as well, it's just not used every 5th line like it is in the reimagining.
      • "Frak" is also Swedish for "naughty". And, yes, it has the same connotations...
    • Also, some furor rose in Finland after IKEA named a toilet brush "Viren", which also happens to be the last name of a legendary Finnish runner.
      • Even funnier in Germany: "Viren" means viruses.
      • Germans could also laugh about a chair named "Kimme". That is a slang word for "ass crack" in some parts of Germany.
    • Other awesome names: "Jerker", "Fartfull" and "Lessebo". "Jerker" is a male name, "Fartfull" translates to "Speedy" and "Lessebo" is a place name. All in Swedish.
    • Unlike other companies IKEA makes it a point to not relabel their products for foreign markets, no matter how stupid they sound in the local language.
    • The "Sarna" chairs are quite the joke in Spain, considering it means "scabies".
    • IKEA also hit the news in Czech republic when their ads announced the "sale of Hoven" (a carpet named after Swedish town). In Czech, "hoven" is plural genitive case form of the word meaning "shit". The name by itself wasn't funny for grammatical reasons and the sale announcement was the first time the name could be interpreted as a meaningful Czech word in official ads. The carpet was later renamed to Fare in Czech republic.
    • The "Trampa" doormats. "Trampa" means "crap" in Portuguese.
    • It has been noted with amusement on a few occasions that the two San Francisco Bay Area Ikea stores are located in Oakland and East Palo Alto, both having infamy for high murder rates. The pronunciation used for "Ikea" in America sounds very much like certain dialectic pronunciations of "I kill ya."
  • There is a brand of lightbulbs called Osram. In Polish it means "I will shit on [something]".
  • The Turkish appliance company Arçelik sells its products under the name BEKO outside of Turkey due to the percieved pronunciation (ARSE-e-lick). (In Turkish it's more like 'Ar-jell-ik'.)


Video Games

  • The cover of Left 4 Dead 2 shows a zombie hand holding up 2 fingers, which happens to be the British equivalent of giving the middle finger. Considering the massive Fan Backlash when the game was announced, this seems appropriate. Valve did figure it out in time for the UK release though, and reversed the hand so it became the victory/peace sign.
    • Strangely, in Ireland some shops had the "fuck off" boxes and some shops had the "peace" boxes.
    • The Japanese cover simply has the thumb tucked away rather than torn off, due to stricter ratings for violence and the cultural association of missing fingers with the Yakuza.
  • A Korean games company made a dictionary video game for the Nintendo DS. Its name? Well, they shortened "Touch" and "Dictionary" into "Touch Dic".
  • The original Myst contained a world called 'Dunny.' The creators originally spelled it 'Dunny,' but then they realized dunny was slang in Australia for 'outhouse,' and changed it to be spelled D'ni.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception was renamed Mortal Kombat: Mystification in France due to the French word "déception" meaning "disappointment".
  • World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is generating quite a laugh in Germany; Mist is German for "dung."


Clothing

  • Australian singlet (what Americans call wife beaters) makers Chesty Bonds had an ad campaign where the buff model makes an "ok" symbol touching his thumb with his pointer finger to form a ring. Unfortunately when they tried to do business in Greece, they found out this was a symbol for being homosexual. The gesture has the same meaning in several other countries, and is simply obscene in a variety of others.

Other

  • In Venezuela, there are several towns named Moron. It's pronounced different, with emphasis on the second "o".
    • Those Morons are probably named after Moron, Spain, which is coincidentally the site of a NATO air base. This was used as a joke in Terminator 3, when Moron briefly appears as one of the first two bases seized by Skynet[2]
    • There's also a city in Mongolia called Moron, though it is also pronounced differently
      • Fittingly, "Mongo" is German slang for "moron" (stemming from the word, "mongoloid," which is a rarely-used offensive term for someone who has Down's Syndrome).
      • Which comes full circle, considering the offensive origins of the term.
  • At a travel agent's seminar, an anecdote was told about Ireland Tourism trying to come up with a snappy tag line, however, they quickly realized that "Come for the Craic" would probably not go over well in America (craic being Irish slang for fun, pronounced exactly as crack).
  • The logo of the German company Fischers Aktien-Gesellschaft, which makes ball bearings, reads FAG.
  • There is a mountain in Bavaria, called Wank (pronounced Vank).
  • This wiki's trope Qurac when pronounced sounds exactly as Croatian slang for penis
    • It also sounds like the Turkish word for arid, which is quite fitting.
  • The currency of Vietnam is the dong. (To date, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times have shown great restraint in avoiding headlines such as "Bank of Vietnam Wants Stronger Dong.")
  • The brand name Vicks was changed to Wick in Germany, because in German, "vick" is pronounced like Fick, which means "fuck". And they most likely left the "s" out, because "Wicks" would sound like the German word for jerking off.
  • A village in Norway is called "Hell" (meaning "luck" or an archaic word for a specific rock formation, pronounciation is the same as in English). Most of Norway being bilingual, the locals have great fun with it. The effect is slightly lessened by a large number of locations in English-speaking countries also named Hell.

Notes

  1. Albeit a grammatically wrong one; it sounds a lot like the expression "guter Fick," meaning "good fuck" or "good lay." Gut without an ending here wouldn't make sense.
  2. The other is Batman, Turkey
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