The majority of marketing mistakes in translation are, of course, unintentional and often represent something that has been missed even by professional translators hired by large corporations like BMW or American Motors. Thankfully, there are several ways to avoid them and ensure that a socio-cultural aspect is taken into consideration.

  • An accurate content localization. As a rule, if a company or an individual does not turn to machine translation services, things are not likely to go berserk in terms of incorrectly translated slogans or product descriptions. All the website translation services that offer localization help will focus on social and cultural aspects of the translation, which will help to eliminate any mistakes.
  • Failing to meet the country’s customs and traditions. A good example is Chevy Nova, which sounds good to most people, yet in the Spanish language it sounds as “no va”, which literally means “a something that would not go”. While the experts in marketing probably meant well as the car received its name, the people in Spain found it pretty bizarre. Therefore, it is good to at least check the phrase or a certain expression through international language databases to eliminate such unintentional mistakes.
  • It won’t always work. The most common mistake is using a slogan or a motto that can be read or understood differently. If it sounds controversial or provocative, it can result in an international scandal in countries like China, the UAE, or Japan. Always choose your marketing campaigns wisely because a translation of a harmless phrase common for the Western audience may be perceived literally by the foreign audiences.
  • Use already existing international memes. If anything, these have been already tried and tested on social media or even among the large corporations. While it is a new initiative, the creation of something new on Facebook or Instagram may not have the same effect or will even sound odd. Check this original site to learn why a famous meme that is known in the country with a little change to meet your company’s vision can lead to marketing success!

How to Act When a Mistake is Spotted?

 How to Act

If it is something offensive or the content that has been misunderstood, make a public statement with an apology. The general rule is to act according to international ethics and avoid any conflicts. The best thing you can do to avoid marketing mistakes in the first place is to turn to professional and certified interpreters for any marketing translation purposes.


Mark knows how to make business successful or what marketing tricks work internationally. Using technology, education, and simple business tips, he explains how to address marketing issues. Follow him to become inspired and learn about innovative solutions.