KIA, the Korean car manufacturer released the KIA Provo model in the UK in 2013. They decided against releasing it for sale in Northern Ireland when it was pointed out that “Provo” is a name associated with the Provisional IRA. (Ironically the car had an orange sunroof).
Toyota MR2 – French: MR2, when spoken sounds similar to “merde”
Mitsubishi Pajero – Spanish: Pajero is rather close to a swearword
Vauxhall Nova – Spanish: Nova sounds like “no go”
Ford Pinto – Brazilian Portuguese: Pinto means “tiny male genitals”.
Volkswagen Black Up! – To “black up” in English recalls a different era when it was acceptable for Caucasian actors to dress up as black people
The list of car names which have led to embarrassing situations for corporations is stunning. There is a rather extensive list of companies in all industries who have under-estimated the need to adapt the name of their product or their slogan to the local market. However, appropriate translation/transcreation is only one of several elements of the localization process.
Localization, as defined by the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market, may also include:
- Adapting graphics to target markets
- Modifying content to suit the tastes and consumption habits of other markets
- Adapting design and layout to properly display translated text
- Converting to local requirements (such as currencies and units of measure)
- Using proper local formats for dates, addresses, and phone numbers
- Addressing local regulations and legal requirements
Localization goes beyond merely translating website content. Localization, allows companies to use appropriate words and phrases, suitable images, accurate data, and a fitting navigational style to build your brand image in a way that is both accessible and unique. In short, localization is about building trust.
Euro-Com International does not just translate. We localize.