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Bite the Wax Tadpole

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"Lesson learnt. Next time will look at British meaning of words too."
Nonce Finance

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 and the Trope Namer itself — are in fact Urban Legends with no basis in truth. But there are a few actual cases out there.

Known as a "brand blunder" on The Other Wiki. A subtrope of "Blind Idiot" Translation. 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. Have a Gay Old Time is a subtrope (or at least a related trope).


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    Beverages (non-alcoholic) 
  • This trope is named for one of the classic examples (蝌蝌啃蠟, Kēkēkěnlà, actually meaning "tadpole chews wax", not "bite the wax tadpole"), one of the unofficial attempts to transliterate "Coca-Cola" into Chinese before a formal name was introduced;note  the right sounds were used, but the meaning of the characters was disregarded, with the result that instead of advertising soft drinks, the mastication of paraffin by larval amphibians was encouraged; another unofficial variant was "Mare stuffed with wax" (騍馬口蠟, Kèmǎkǒulà). 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.)

    The eventual official transliteration—可口可乐, pronounced Kěkǒu Kělè—ends up being a fairly close approximation (they couldn't actually transliterate it exactly and have a good name, as the only character read as "La" that has a meaning that sounds like anything you'd actually want to put in your mouth means "hot," as in hot sauce note ), with the added bonus of actually meaning something along the lines of "let your mouth rejoice."
  • Pepsi has a similar myth, the slogan "Come alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation" was allegedly mistranslated in China as "Pepsi brings your ancestors Back from the Dead." This 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 yogurt-based 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. That said, Aussies had called the drink Sars for decades before the illness became news and have continued to call it that decades afterwards. 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'. Interestingly, in the US sarsaparilla is pronounced 'SASS-parilla', thereby avoiding the problem (and very few Americans actually drink sarsaparilla anymore since nowadays it is considered a niche soft drink compared to its more popular successor, root beer).
  • 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. The "sweat" part is because, like many energy drinks, it's designed to replace electrolytes lost that way, while Pocari is from the onomatopoeic word for the sound of falling droplets (of sweat, or possibly a tasty energy drink). There's also a spin-off drink called Pet Sweat.
  • The French lemonade Pschitt (pronounced "shit") is onomatopoeic in French, but has been a cause of giggles for generations of visiting British schoolkids.
  • When Herschi brand soft drinks (originally Dutch) were introduced in Russia, many people realised that it sounded very close to "kher", a popular rude word (which is an euphemism for penis). As such, "Herschi Cola" entered slang for a while, meaning "why, for what reason"; it helps that Herschi Cola had a very memorable TV commercial.

    Beverages (alcoholic) 
  • Cockburn's Dry Tang:
    • The port 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 even had to make an advert just to clear up the confusion: the proper pronunciation is 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."
  • Irish Mist:
    • This Irish whiskey-based liqueur was marketed in Germany under its English name until the makers realized that "Mist" is the German term for manure.
    • 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'.
    • Interestingly enough, 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.
  • Intentionally invoked with the case of the Austrian town of Fucking (officially pronounced "Fooking," but you know). This inspired someone in Germany to market a beer called "Fucking Hell." Hell means "pale" in German and refers to a type of beer. The apparently humorless residents of the town were not amused and tried to sue them, but lost. EU authorities also initially refused to grant the trademark on the grounds that it contained an expletive, but the company successfully argued that "Fucking" referred exclusively to the town, and if anyone confused it for the English expletive then that was their own problem. The Austrians are apparently not alone in this, as a little over 100 miles away is a German town called "Wank." Fucking changed its name to Fugging in 2020, because they were tired of being made fun of on social media.
  • The Irish town of Fecking in County Limerick had woes when trying to establish an online presence, as its name invariably set off profanity filters. "We're not fecking amused here, you feckers", summed up their attitude.
  • Then there was the Japanese whiskey brand that chose to adopt another name when they noticed that Black Nikka didn't quite meet expectations of political correctness in the USA.

  • 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'. Caprino is not a common word however, unlike "cortina", which means "curtain." (The car was named after the town of Cortina d'Ampezzo, where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held.)
  • 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 safe for work, if not kid-friendly).
    • Also, instead of using an umlaut 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, which operates in the United States, was the subject of many jokes on video game forums. Go Lamers!
    • There's also a bus company called "DAU" in Germany. Not all that funny, unless you know that "DAU" is a common slang term, a play on the nuclear facility term "GAU" (Größter Anzunehmender Unfall) meaning the "Biggest Imaginable Accident/Disaster". (Chernobyl was considered a Super-GAU). "DAU" means "Dümmster Anzunehmender User" (literally "Stupidest Imaginable User"). It's used by computer- and electronic-savvy people, as well as by tech support workers, 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 buses 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, named after the sport, was renamed Buick Allure in Canada for the first generation, because in Quebecois slang, not only is crosse a word meaning "to fraud, swindle, rip off" (which, for obvious reasons, is a bad name for a car, much like the "no va" urban legend), but can also refer to crossing your hands around "la verge". 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.
  • 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 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 German word Fahrt can be found on numerous traffic signs and related literature, as it translates to "travel", "ride", or "traffic", depending on the context.note  Some other Nordic languages drop the "h", resulting in a Danish reminder to slow down or a Norwegian sign about speedbumps containing the word.
  • 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.
  • The Nissan Moco (snot) and Mazda Laputa (the whore) had unfortunate names.
  • The Mazda Laputa was named after after the fictional island of Laputa in Gulliver's Travels. Supposedly, Jonathan Swift was actually aware of the name's meaning. This is also the reason why most Spanish versions of the book end with the Brodignan arc, with the remainder of the story restricted to rarely-found classic versions as well as very short Abridged for Children editions (less than 10 pages), where the proper name is not given. Those editions simply call it "the floating island".
  • 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. note 
      "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.
    • Lampshaded by a pilot in a now-legendary air traffic control exchange.
      Tower: United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.
      United 239: Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this… I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.
    • Also exploited by Iron Maiden in the dogfight song "Tailgunner", featuring the line "Nail that Fokker, kill that son".
    • "Fokker" is an actual word not unrelated to "fucker." It means "breeder of animals" (the Dutch word fok, meaning "to breed", has the same root as "fuck").note 
  • The Toyota MR2 performance car was renamed to simply the Toyota MR in France. The reason is that MR2 is pronounced "em-air-deux" in French, or "est merdeux". Although the word isn't considered too scandalous to say in French, nobody would want a car called "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".note 
  • The Alfa Romeo 164 was sold in Asia as the 168 due to Four Is Death connotations. More specifically, 164 in Chinese means "On the road to death", while 168 is "On the road to prosperity".
  • An Indian carmaker's name, Tata, means "Dad" in Polish, and "Goodbye" in some South-East Asian pidgin slangs. In American English, "ta-tas" is childish note  slang for "breasts". Meanwhile, in European French, it's childish for "aunt", but in Quebec French, it's equivalent to "dumbass".
  • A particularly unfortunate example is the German freight shipping company PAKi Logistics. They were very upset when they were banned from registering their name as a Europe-wide trademark due to its British English meaning: a very, very, offensive racial insult for a South Asian person, on the same level as "the n-word" in the USA.
  • The Soviet brand of cars, Zhiguli (named after Zhiguli Mountains, a hills/short mountains formation in Southern Russia) was renamed "Lada" when they realized the former name sounded like "gigolo".
  • Various automobile companies, such as "Nissan" and "Ssang Yong", are apparently unaware that the "ssan" syllable means "covered in piss" in Russian.
  • Audi's "e-tron" range of electric and hybrid cars may raise a few chuckles in France and Quebec, as "étron" is the French word for "dung".
  • There is an Ass Transport trucking company in Estonia.
  • The Working Title of a car developed by the Brazilian Volkswagen was Tupi, after a local Indigenous tribe. It was released as Fox, with rumours that it was partly because they couldn't export a car that in English would earn chuckles for the name "to pee".
  • The American bicycle manufacturer Sram has a name which, in Polish, sounds exactly like "I'm shitting".

    Electronics and related 
  • Wii:
    • The name was intended to invoke playing with other people; as they say in the commercials, "Wii would like to play". However, it inspired all kinds of jokes about piss, and gamers "running home so they can play with their Wii". While initially subject to relentless mockery, it didn't sink the product, the joke played itself out, and soon people were saying "Wii" with all seriousness and solemnity.
    • 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.
    • Americans, meanwhile, while they know of the aforementioned usage, are more likely to think in terms of "playing with their Wii", as in masturbation. 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.
    • Because Wii sounds like "wie" (how) in German, it lead to some Who's on First?-esque jokes.
    • It also sounds like the French word "oui" (yes). Which lead to some jokes among French gamers.
    • The same happens with Catalan speakers, as "hui" (today) is pronounced in the same way. This also allowed to recycle the existing wordplays with the aforementioned french word "oui".
    • The Wii U didn't help, as even if you leave out alternate meanings of "wee" it sounds like two pronouns in English and will therefore give you a case of Who's on First?. Alternatively, it can be interpreted as an onomatopoeia for a siren, as pointed out by Ashens.
  • TrekStor renamed an MP3 player in its i.Beat line — namely, the i.Beat Blaxx — due to the unintended racial connotations of the name.
  • GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. "Gimp" is also derogatory slang for a disabled person. [[ The FAQ acknowledges this. It's also a BDSM term, so expect to get awkward looks if you answer "What are you doing?" with "Just messing around with my GIMP."
  • 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. Also note late American race car driver Tiny Lund.
  • 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. It gave hilariously concerned looks from people unfamiliar with Unix hearing developers casually talk about killing orphans.
  • Sega:
    • The name of the video game company 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. Although given Sega's love for double entendres and raunchy jokes, you'd think they would have embraced this coincidence with open arms. The Italian soccer team U.C. Sampdoria did the same thing for the same reason, which is also why all Italian commercials always pronounced "Sega" as "seega".
    • The Portuguese word "Cega" (pronounced exactly the same as "Sega") means "blind" (female form).
    • 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.
    • This trope is also why Sega went straight from Saturn to Neptune (the latter being used for a Megadrive/32X combo unit that didn't get very far in the development stage due to fears it would siphon off sales of the Saturn) during the planetary phase of their internal hardware development days—Uranus sounds like the Japanese word for "won't sell".
  • When Apple announced that its tablet was to be called the "iPad", it elicited many groans from all sides - half who were fans of MADtv, 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. For example, the native Newfoundland Canadian accent pronounces both "iPod" and "iPad" almost interchangeably. But the worst case is probably in Erzya language, spoken by an ethnic minority in Russia. Here, "pad" (with an "ah" sound, which is how iPad is pronounced by those who live in Russia) means vagina.
  • 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."
  • 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 giggle at the similarity to the word "semen."
  • Commodore VIC-20:
    • It 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.
    • Their first line of computers was called the PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) range, which looks like the French word for "fart". The line was renamed CBM in European countries, albeit for a different reason; Philips owning the trademark on the PET name.
  • There was a late-8-bit-era game called Vixen which, for its German release, was renamed to — She Fox. Cue much hilarity in British computer magazines (one remarked "I bet she does").
  • The location bookmarking app Rego got publicity in Brazil when people noted that their name means "drain" or "gutter" in Portuguese and, in Brazilian Portuguese, is slang for butt crack. You try reading the app's feature list with that mind.
  • Probably intentionally, a programming language compiler made in the Netherlands is called the Free University Compiler Kit, but since the Dutch word for "free" starts with a V, it's abbreviated VUCK. "VU" (for Vrije Universiteit) is the usual abbreviation for the University in question. Although their compiler seems to have been quietly renamed to the Amsterdam Compiler Kit, or ACK.
  • Google is often made fun of in France where the name sounds a lot like "gogol" (French for "retarded").
  • Likewise, Facebook has become the Butt-Monkey of many French jokes due to its close resemblance to the phrase "fesses de bouc" (goat's butt).
  • Iceland's largest telecommunications company is named Síminn, which means "the phone" in Icelandic, and is pronounced almost identically to English "semen".
  • The cryptocurrency startup Nonce Finance was going for a cryptography-related name, but received a lot of mockery once it was pointed put that it's also British slang for "sex offender". The company has since poked fun at its own blunder, adding "Struggling with brand names" to its Twitter bio and posting this tweet. It was later renamed to Nibbl.
  • Poco, a brand of Xiaomi, means in Spanish "few"/"little".

  • Apparently, the new name chosen by the Sci-Fi Channel, "Syfy", is Polish slang for "pimples," "acne," or "dirty stuff". Therefore, the Polish version of the channel maintained the name "Sci-Fi Universal", even as the Syfy name was being used worldwide.
  • Both Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi had the character "Chachi," whose name sounds a lot like a Korean word for penis ("jaji").

    Films — Animation 
  • The main character of the films Rio and Rio 2 is called Blu, which is a slang for "penis" in Russian. Cue the Russian Rio fans joking about macaw penises.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Greece, Charlton Heston's name is spelled "Charlton Easton" due to his regular name sounding like Greek for "shit him" or "fuck him."
  • In Brazil, Count Dooku's name was changed to Count Dookan, as Dooku sounds like "from the ass" in Portuguese. Captain Panaka did not have the same luck, and he kept his name, which is a slang word for idiot or sucker.

  • Ben and Jerry's:
    • When they 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.
  • Caribbean food company Grace advertises their "cock soup" mix in the USA.
  • This can even take place between dialects of English, such as with faggots.
    • Scotland does one better with cock-a-leekie soup (do try to avoid thinking about it too much). (It's just a chicken soup with leeks. A good soup, but nothing alarming—which is saying something when you're talking about Scottish food.)
    • 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, since pasties ("PAY-stees") are also an item of clothing for strippers/burlesque dancers/etc. which covers only the nipples.
  • 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. Except on The Ren & Stimpy Show, where it's a popular breakfast cereal.
  • The Latin American bread corporation Bimbo, which owns many American and Chinese brands, is after their mascot teddy 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!'"
    • In Southern California, where these snacks are found in every convenience store, truckstop, and grocery, nobody thinks twice about the name, largely because the word "bimbo" is becoming more and more archaic as time passes.
    • They should be glad they are not selling it in Germany, since "Bimbo" is a very rude term for black people there.
  • A German food corporation tried to market a very successful product, a vitamin-boosted hot chocolate mix, to English-speaking countries at one point. It neglected to change the name, however, which was the rather unfortunate Scho-vit.note 
  • Taco Bell once sold a tasty burrito with chili and cheese under the name of "Chilito" in some locations. After much snickering, they learned that "chilito" was Hispanic slang for "small penis" and went to "Chili Cheese Burrito" for the product name.
  • West Africa produces a strong pepper sauce, available through expat food stores in Great Britain and elsewhere. People from places like Ghana and Sierra Leone are also perfectly aware of what the name sounds like in English but see no reason to change it. In fact, they are very proud of Shitto Sauce. ("Shitto" just means "hot pepper").
  • A popular brand of German chocolate-coated marshmallow treats is called "Super Dickmann's". While the German word "dick" quite innocuously means "fat" or "thick", the name is a frequent cause for amusement among English speakers, for obvious reasons.
  • The Polish "Krówka" brand of caramel sweets packages their products into wraps with a picture of a cow, as "krówka" = English "little cow". Unfortunately, when they entered the Indian market, they discovered that the Hindi wouldn't eat food with such packaging, as cows are believed in India to be sacred. Because of that, the company changed the packaging to single-color green. Unfortunately, in India green is the sign of mourning.
  • There used to be a Spanish brand of potato crisps called Bum (pronounced like "boom" indicating a "taste explosion"), but they changed their name, having got fed up with British tourists making fun of them.
  • In 2013, Burger King tried to do an advertisement in Russia that showed red poppies being crushed by a Whopper, arguing that the poppy "was popular once, but now its time has passed". The ad was meant to be an oblique attack towards a certain other fast food chain (the word for "poppy" in Russian sounds like "Mac"). However, Russian broadcasters skipped past the Visual Pun, and rejected the ad because poppies are used to produce opium (and thus, the ad implied that the Whopper was better than drugs). What made their objection even more bizarre is that it's white poppies that are used in the production of opium, not red.
  • Turkey has their (in)famous "Topkek" brand of snack cakes. While the "kek" means cake, the word is better known as a taunt among online gamers.
  • In 2016, Japan-based Glico had specially-named Pockys to be given as different types of gifts, such as for good luck, love, friendship, and even ones for parents. These names were amalgamations of certain words with "Pocky". One, however, intended to be given by an admirer, had the unfortunate name of "Sukky".note 

  • The bassoon, in most languages, translates either into something similar to the original French word "basson" or into something close to "faggot".note  The Wiktionary lists those translations in its entry for "bassoon". To be fair, English has multiple meanings for "faggot," including "bundle of sticks for firewood" and "meatballs from Oop North".
  • The Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut trope was mocked by the Swedish comedy duo 'Anders And Måns' with 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 a gay nightclub.)
  • La Roux is named for singer Elly Jackson's flame-red hair and her androgynous look (roux is the French word for a male redhead;note  la is the feminine definite article). However, "roux" also means a sauce base/thickener made from flour and butter or some other sort of fat. 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. Calisia pianos had to be sold under a different name in Finland, since the name sounds very much like "kalisija", which translates to "a clattering thing", "a clatterer", which doesn't exactly promise a high quality musical instrument.
  • Not a translation error per se but more a cultural misunderstanding. In Irish the name "Keira" is spelt "Ciara" so naturally people assumed that singer Ciara (pronounced "Sierra") was called Keira and many still do.
  • Lady Gaga is the subject of jokes by Filipino fans, as "Gaga" is the female slang for "asshole" in the Philippines.

    Household items 
  • Electrolux's slogan for their vacuum cleaners, "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux," took on a rather negative connotation in America. Similarly used in the joke "The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck will be the day they start making vacuum cleaners."
  • One attempt to create a visual, text-free ad for laundry detergent backfired somewhere 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, these countriesnote  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.
  • 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". Strictly speaking, it's better than the alternative, yet someone is clearly doing their job horribly wrong.
  • 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. It's still backfired, though:
    • IKEA got in trouble when it advertised its "Gutvik" brand bunk beds in Germany — because while "Gutvik" is the name of a town in Norway, it's an explicit sexual reference in German, 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.
    • 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, which dates back to the original series.
    • 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.
    • "Jerker", "Fartfull" and "Lessebo". "Jerker" is a male name, "Fartfull" translates to "Speedy" and "Lessebo" is a place name. All in Swedish.
    • The "Sarna" chairs are quite the joke in Spain, considering it means "scabies". "Sarna" also means "roe deer" in Polish.
    • IKEA also hit the news in Czech Republic when their ads announced the "sale of Hoven" (a carpet named after a 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 the Czech Republic.
    • At one time when it was in stores, there was also a storage box called "Knep." In the native Swedish language, it means "trick," but Danish-speaking customers were amused at the name as in their language, it literally means "fuck." Due to the proximity between Denmark and Sweden, their languages are so similar that Danish people sometimes poke fun at the Swedish with In My Language, That Sounds Like... or Separated by a Common Language jokes whenever IKEA sells certain products with Scandinavian titles that result in unintended amusement.
    • The "Trampa" doormats. "Trampa" means "crap" in Portuguese. "Trampa" also means "trap" in Spanish.
    • 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 infamous for high murder rates. The pronunciation used for "Ikea" in America sounds very much like certain dialectic pronunciations of "I kill ya."
    • IKEA once sold marshmallows called Godis Skum, which sounds a lot like 'God is scum'. ("Godis" just means candy—basically "goodie"—and "skum" means foam or froth.)
    • In December 2013, IKEA's annual charity plushie, the stuffed Big Bad Wolf Lufsig, gained attention in Hong Kong after someone threw one at unpopular Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (nicknamed "the wolf" by his particularly large opposition). While the juxtaposition was funny, Cantonese speakers realized that its name (a corruption of a Swedish word meaning "to lumber") as listed on IKEA's Mainland China website, "Lù mǔ xi", was pronounced as "Lo Mai Sai" in Cantonese, which could be read as a pun of "Lo Mai Hai" ("your mother's cunt"). Even worse, the Cantonese word for "throw" is a homophone of a word commonly translated as "fuck" ("Diū"). The expected response was subverted, as the resulting Memetic Mutation caused Lufsig to fly off store shelves in Hong Kong and the mainland (with people lining up in the morning to buy them and support IKEA's causes). The Chinese name was later changed to a closer transliteration that averted the Cantonese wordplay.
  • Many Star Trek fans were amused with the "Koppla" power strips, since it sounds similar to "Qapla'", the Klingon word for "success".
  • There is a brand of lightbulbs called Osram (a portmanteau of "osm" [osmium] and "wolfram" [tungsten]). In Polish it means "I will shit on [something]". One Polish joke goes "What hangs from the ceiling and makes threats? An Osram lightbulb." And in Russian "Osram" may be construed as "O, sram!" which means something like "Oh, the shame!"
  • 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-chel-ik'.)
  • In Norwegian and Danish, shaving cream is called "Barber Skum".
  • Fans of Red Dwarf are familiar with the all-purpose, obscene-sounding word "smeg"; "Oh, smeg, this is smeggin bad." "You're a smeggin idiot," etc. Grant and Naylor insisted that they were unaware that "smegma" is often shortened to "smeg" in some regions of England, and chose it because they wanted a "futuristic" slang that had no existing English meaning.
  • 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.
  • The Swedish word for "compartment" is "fack", and yes, it's pronounced exactly as "fuck". Other things are "kant" ("edge", pronounced "cunt") and sex being the same word used for the number six and intercourse. So if you ask a Swede how many they have of something, and they answer "Jag har sex" ("I have six/sex"), try not to laugh too much.
  • Yebane, the Spanish manufacturer of curtains, has a name that sounds obscene in Polish: it sounds like the word "jebane", i.e. "fucking".

    Video Games 
  • The cover of Left 4 Dead 2 shows a zombie hand holding up two fingers seen from the back, which happens to be the British equivalent of giving the middle finger. Valve did figure it out in time for the UK release though, and reversed the hand so it's seen from the front, becoming the victory/peace sign. Strangely, in Ireland some shops had the "fuck off" boxes and some shops had the "peace" boxes. The Japanese and German covers simply have the thumb tucked away rather than torn off, due to stricter ratings for violence and the former country's 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." They changed it to "Touch Dictionary" in the final release, but not before the original box art spread over the internet.
  • There's a PlayStation game titled Irritating Stick. The title actually describes the game fairly well (and is a fairly literal translation of the game's Japanese name), but it's very easy to ridicule.
  • The original Myst concerns itself (although distantly) with a lost civilization called D'ni. Since the files for the game's various ages were visible in the CD-ROM's directory (Channelwood Age, Stoneship Age, etc.), the creators disguised the presence of D'ni — a far more outlandish name — by naming the folder "Dunny Age", after the name's pronunciation. Unfortunately, "dunny" is Australian slang for "outhouse".
  • Pokémon:
    • In Iceland, the "pika" part of Pikachu's name was spelled approximately (and pronounced exactly) like the native word for female genitalia. 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, that could mean translating the entire franchise.
    • In Brazil, "pica" (pronounced the same way as "pika") is one of the dirtiest slangs around for penis. As such, the franchise and its mascot are the butt of many jokes among Brazilians since the series' debut, since there was no effort to change the aspect.
    • In Czech, "Pichu" is pronounced like the word for female genitalia (the Country Matters equivalent). When the second generation of Pokémon arrived at the Czech Republic, kids everywhere had to joke about Pikachu's vagina. Pichu was censored out in some instalments, but no-one thought of changing the name. Later the pronunciation was adjusted to Pixu (x standing for the sound like 'ch' in German 'lachen', Spanish 'j' in 'Javier', or Scottish 'ch' in 'Loch Ness') or Pic-chu.
    • While not nearly half as bad, in Spain there used to be children's jokes about Pikachu being the dumbest Pokémon ever because he kept saying "pica" (it itches) but he never scratched.
    • In English, Pikachu's name is often misconstrued as referring to the pika.
    • The "Tanga Berry" roughly translates to "Stupid Berry" in many Filipino languages. Cue the laughing Filipino Pokémon fans.
    • Also from the Philippines: the first 2 syllables of the word “Pokémon” have produced quite a few chuckles in the Philippines as it sounds a lot like “Puke”, which means “Pussy” in Tagalog.
    • The name Beedrill sounds pretty close to Russian for "of fags". When Ash encountered a swarm of Beedrill in an early episode of the anime, it led to some snickers from Russian audiences.
    • Surskit is often the butt of jokes from Swedish fans because its name means "sour shit". While not as bad, Snorlax also gets a few chuckles because its name means "snot salmon".
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception was renamed Mortal Kombat: Mystification in France due to the French word "déception" meaning "disappointment".
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: There's a character in this game named Doopliss. To Polish speaking people it sounds hilarious because it reminds them of "Dupoliz", meaning "ass licker".
    • It's already been bad for years with the word "Koopa" sounding like "kupa" (poop), made even worse with "Koopa Troopa" sounding like "dead man's poop".
  • World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is generating quite a laugh in Germany; Mist is German for "dung".
  • This is unconfirmed, but it is possible that Tomba! was renamed into Tombi! for the European markets because "tomba" is Italian for "grave" (as in cemetery).

  • Australian singlet (what Americans call wife beaters or tank tops) 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. And then, like last night’s vodka, time only went and made it way, way worse, with the gesture becoming a de-facto symbol of white supremacy in Australia and New Zealand due to the Christchurch shooter.
  • In another example of the trope going both ways, at least when averted, there was supposedly some Taiwanese maker of men's underwear which had to be dissuaded from using the literal translation of its brand name when it introduced its line to the American market: Little Yellow Pansy.
  • A German bag manufacturer started producing a type of bag in the 1990s which an Anglophone would call a messenger bag. This manufacturer named it bodybag. In American English, this means the plastic bag used to seal up corpses and transport them.
  • There's a British brand of leggings based in Manchester called Kukubird. In Singapore and Malaysia, that word is childish slang for the penis. The name also gets some giggles from Brazilians, because the first syllable is pronounced like the word "cu", meaning "ass".

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls: One in-series product is called "Pitt Cola". Completely clean in English, but to Swedish-speaking people it's not. It's pronounced and spelled exactly as the Swedish equivalent of "dick". With this in mind, it's off-putting that they didn't censor it in the dub, nor tried to change it.
  • Season 3 of 12 oz. Mouse has a character named Kiki, which is a slang for "pussy" in Tagalog. Cue the Filipinos joking about Kiki's vagina.
  • Pingu's sister is called Pinga, which is a slang term for "penis" in some Latin American countries.
  • South Park: The name "Kupa Keep" gets a lot of laughs from Polish viewers, because the first word literally translates to "poop".
  • The main character from The Boondocks is called Huey, which sounds like the Polish word "huj", meaning "dick".
  • A bit of an example of Separated by a Common Language: in Britain "bender" is a slang term for homosexual. While the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender changed its title to "The Legend of Aang", the movie adaptation was not so lucky, and since 'bender' is used constantly in both versions, it can be quite amusing for British audiences. Interestingly, "bender" has a slightly less commonly used slang meaning for American audiences, which refers to a prolonged period of excessive alcohol (or other drugs) use combined with undesirable behaviour: eg. "to go on a three-day bender" would mean to stay obnoxiously drunk for three days straight. Not as funny as the British version, but still worth a chuckle.
  • Rugrats (1991) had a character named Kimi Finster. Her first name gets laughs from Germans because it sounds like "kimme", a slang word for "asscrack" in some parts of Germany.

  • There is a popular laundry detergent brand in the Caucasus and Central Asia called "Barf" (which simply means "snow" in Farsi). Cue tourists from English-speaking countries unable to control themselves when they tell their friends and family they washed their clothes in Barf.
  • The lotion "Sarna" confuses Spanish speakers, as it literally means "mange" or "scabies" in that language.
  • In Venezuela, there are several towns named Morón. It's pronounced different, with emphasis on the second "o". Those Moróns are probably named after Morón, Spain, which is coincidentally the site of a NATO air base. This was used as a joke in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, when Moron briefly appears as one of the first two bases seized by Skynet.note 
  • There's a city in Mongolia called Mörön, 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.
  • Moron is also the Welsh word for carrot, although it is pronounced—as with all Welsh words—with a short 'o'.
  • In The Netherlands, there is a hamlet called "Rectum".
  • 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.
  • "Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkartenfabrik," or ASS, is a popular playing card manufacturer, comparable to Bee or Bicycle in the United States. In German itself, it happens to be Fun with Acronyms, as the acronym simply means "ace".
  • There is a mountain in Bavaria, called Wank (pronounced Vank).
  • This wiki's trope Qurac, when pronounced, sounds exactly like Croatian slang for penis. It also sounds like the Turkish word for arid, which is quite fitting.
  • The currency of Vietnam is the đồng, pronounced more like "dough" with a G at the end rather then like "long" with a D at the beginning. (To date, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times have shown great restraint in avoiding headlines such as "Bank of Vietnam Wants Stronger Dong.") Played for great humour in the Top Gear (UK) Vietnam special, where James May gets given some extra fuel for his bike from a passer-by on a mountain in a rainstorm. James tells the audience of his gratitude, and decides to pay the man ... only to dully realise that 'my dong's going to be all soggy ...'
  • 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.
  • The Commodore VIC-20 was marketed as the VC-20 in Germany. The "VC" branding also meant it could be backronymed "Volkscomputer", an allusion to the car maker Volkswagen.
  • 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. It's the same as Jahnam, Al-Khaddafi native village, is very similar to the Arabic world for hell, Jahan-nam.
  • The Mexican comic book called Memin Pinguin. It's possible you've actually read that last name as Pingüin (similar to "Pingüino", Spanish for penguin). That's because when the comic started being distributed outside Mexico, it was discovered that some South American countries use pinga as slang for penis, making the character's last name something awkward. In Mexico, pingo means something akin to little devil or mischevous kid, the character was named based on this word. Therefore, the surname change broke this cultural reference.
  • The animation studio founded by Hideaki Anno in 2006 is called "Studio Khara", named after the Greek word for "happiness" or "joy". Unfortunately, "khara" is also an Arabic slang word that means "shit".
  • There was once a post in Spanish on a message board whose language was usually English. Unfortunately the poster omitted the all-important tilde from "años", so instead of the intended "I am 25 years [old]", he said "I have 25 anuses"! Much fun was made of this.
  • There is a town in Idaho in America called Nampa, which is similar to "nanpa", a commonly-used slang term in Japanese for the act of picking up a girl for a date, though it is often used to mean "soliciting a prostitute".
  • In Iceland there is an apartment rental company called "Fagmenn" (it means "Professionals"). You can also go down to the mall and see signs outside Hagkaup advertizing "Krap" (which means slushee).
  • Of course, there's always Wackenhut, a security firm named after its founder, now G4S.
  • As anyone with a basic understanding of German will know, the German word for 'Father' is 'Vater', pronounced exactly like 'Farter'. (Americans, who mostly have rhotic accents, may be confused by this claim, since it's only true in a non-rhotic ... think Baahhston ... accent.)
  • There is or was a German automotive-component manufacturer called KKK, initials infamously shared with the American racist hate group Ku Klux Klan.
  • In Finland, the K's used to denote the size of a big box store called Kesko— much like how there is a distinction today between "Target" and "Super Target" in the United States— and the most popular store? The one with three K's. Cue amusement from American tourists buying their staples at the "KKK store".
  • Dikshit is a fairly common surname in India. 'Nuff said. It's pronounced exactly like you hope it wouldn't be pronounced, and this poor news anchor fell victim to the trope.
  • A common Jewish and/or German surname (many surnames are shared between the two) is "Lipschitz," also pronounced exactly like you hope it wouldn't be pronounced. Dr. Lipschitz from Rugrats is a victim of this trope as a result.
  • Apparently there's a Spanish business named "Servicio de Hosteleria Industrial de Terrassa" (Terrassa's Industrial Catering Service) that uses the acronym S.H.I.T. in its sign. Surely the English speaking tourists get a chuckle of it, but it probably is funny even for the locals, because although fluency in English is not widespread in the Spanish population, most of them know enough to understand what "shit" means.
  • An Argentinian political party is known as the "Frente Amplio Progresista" or "FAP". Those who speak English are quick to point it out, since "fap" is slang for masturbation.
  • Walmart's name made many people scratch their heads in Germany, since "mart" sounds like someone utterly incompetent butchered the word "Markt" ("market" in German). That already left a very bad first impression and it only became worse after it.
  • Names are a very common source of this - a name that is normal, or even common in one language, can have fairly humorous and/or embarrassing connotations when carried over to another language.
  • Wang and Dong are common surnames in several Asian countries.
  • Fukyu (pronounced foo-kyoo, though English-speaking ears often hear it... slightly differently) is a surname in Japan, albeit a rare one. It's also the name of one of the most widely practiced karate katas in existence, which is often good for a chuckle amongst new karateka.
  • Even words formed in English from foreign roots (Greek, Latin, and French especially) can run afoul of this, due to both the linguistic phenomenon of false cognates (cross-lingual words that look like they're related but aren't) and the presence in English of many doublets (words formed from roots that have been borrowed more than once, independently, in entirely separate contexts). Thus, to take Greek as an example, "herpetophobia" is the fear of reptiles, not the fear of getting herpes. "Rhinoplasty" refers to getting plastic surgery done on one's nose, and is only related to the large african mammal by the fact that Rhinoceros is derived from its Greek name ρινόκερως, rhinokeros meaning "Nose Horn". And in the eighteenth century there were serious proposals by left-wing ideologues of creating a utopian, libertarian socialist community known as a "pantisocracy" (from the ancient Greek roots that together mean "rule by all"). But to modern-day observers, "pantis" looks and sounds like "panties", which was not an existing word in the 1700s.
  • Some Ashkenazi Jews have noted their personal awkwardness in speaking about Arnold Schwarzenegger, since when said in a Yiddish accent his last name sounds exactly like the offensive (and somewhat redundant) Yiddish phrase for "black nigger."
  • The main right-wing party in Poland is called PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość; Law and Justice). The name is said exactly like "piss".
  • One of Krakow's tourist attractions is the old house of a certain nobility family. Unfortunately, for a few years in the Turn of the Millennium it was named "Boner Palace" after the owners, the Bonerowski family. It was made to simplify the name for foreign tourists, but nobody realized that "boner" is an English crude term meaning "erect penis". After several displays of amusement by foreign tourists the house was renamed to "Bonerowski Palace". A bit cleaner perhaps, but not exactly very kid-friendly.
  • Much like Lady Gaga, Argentine footballer Fernando Gago is the butt of jokes from Filipino football fans, as "Gago" means "moron" or "asshole" in many Filipino languages. You have to feel for those wearing a Fernando Gago jersey in the streets of Manila.
  • Spanish footballer Suso, whose name means "breasts" in Tagalog (the most used Filipino language), and Brazilian footballer Michel Bastos, whose surname translates to "rude" or "vulgar" in Tagalog. Filipino viewers of the 2018 World Cup had a chuckle when they learned that Brazil’s coach was named Tite (which sounds like the Tagalog slang for “penis”).
  • There are quite a few footballers around the world with names that sound rude or funny to English-speaking ears. Examples include Florian Dick, Alphonse Areola, Banana Yaya, Joey Suk, Gladwin Shitolo, Matthias Cuntz, Burackan Kunt, Danny Shittu, and the infamous Argelico Fucks.
  • Immature Filipinos laugh at the mere mention of Lake Titicaca, as the word "titi" is Filipino slang for "penis" Even young Spanish-speakers find it amusing, as it means something like "auntie poopoo" in English. English speakers also snicker at the name, as the first two syllables are pronounced exactly like "titty," a slang term for a woman's breasts, while the last two syllables are a common euphemism for the word "shit." Animaniacs did an entire song about it.
  • Japanese fans of the NHL may not be able to hide their laughter when they watch the Carolina Hurricanes, as Canes star player Sebastian Aho has a surname that sounds like the Kansai Japanese term for “dumbass” or “moron” (ahou).
  • There is a Russian story that a brand of condoms called Visit had to be renamed "Vizit" - because Visit (accent on the second syllable) translates as "hangs".
  • In Germany, exits on a highway are labeled "ausfahrt." Cue a lot of English speakers snickering about how it sounds like "ass fart" everytime they drive by one.
  • There's also the Slovak politician Pavol Paška. His surname unfortunately looks a lot like the Finnish word for shit (paska).
  • In English, aristocratic ranks (and related words such as heraldic terms) are mostly from French. One exception is Earl (from Old English eorl "warrior, leader, chief") because the French equivalent (Count) sounds too much like "cunt". However, the Earl's wife is still a Countess, and the next rank down is Viscount.
  • There's a Polish transportation (truck) company by the name of Trans-man. Which sounded fine when they registered it in 2005, but thanks to the Language Drift, nowadays the word means "a transgender man".
  • Kaga, the name of an old Japanese province as well as of a famous World War II aircraft carrier, often brings snickers to Spanish speakers since there it sounds like a form of the verb "cagar" ("to shit").
  • A former Anime News Network writer and editor is named Bamboo Dong.
  • Danish Oil and Natural Gas, aka. DONG Energy, rebranded themselves "Ørsted", ostensibly because they're moving away from fossil fuels and onto green energy, but also because "dong" is slang for penis.
  • The Norwegian online grocery store "Kolonial" (an old Norwegian term for "corner shop") decided to preemptively avoid Unfortunate Implications by rebranding as "Oda" when they made plans for international expansion, even putting out a mostly English ad showing how certain names don't play well abroad.
  • The Quebec 24-hour convenience store chain Couche-Tard raises some eyebrows if you don't speak French. It merely means "go-to-bed-late" or more idiomatically, "night owl" (and rhymes with "star"). Although it's been buying up convenience store chains across English-speaking North America, there's more than one reason it generally leaves them with their original branding.
  • There's a Swedish-owned advertising agency with a branch office in England with the memorably unfortunate name of Bong Marketing. Presumably they got away with it for most of the company's existence because British stoners preferred to roll joints instead.
  • In Germany, there's a brand of pencil sharpeners called "Kum Onit", as that looks like "cum", a slang term for semen.
  • There is a German toy brand, "Siku". It looks pretty awkward in Polish stores, since "siku" means "pee" in Polish.
  • Pupa Milano is an Itlaian company specializing in skin care products. As it happens, the word "pupa" means "butt" in Polish. Be sure not to apply the products to the wrong body part, dear customers...
  • Seattle has a Bhy Kracke Park, which sounds like "buy crack", a transaction often performed in parks.
  • In 2009, the Radisson SAS hotel chain rebranded as Radisson Blu. Blu is a slang for a penis in Russian.
  • There is a Burmese ethnic group known as the "Karen" people, which sounds like the slang term for an Obnoxious Entitled Housewife.

Alternative Title(s): Awkward Product Translation