Lost in Translation: Nokia Lumia, and The 5 Worst Name OversightsBy Dave Smith | October 26, 2011 7:40 PM EDT
Source: The International Business Times
Nokia unveiled its first-ever Windows Phones at the Nokia World conference in London Wednesday, the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. Unfortunately, Nokia learned too late that Lumia actually means “prostitute” in Spanish. Oops.
Coors invented a mascot called BeerWolf to market its beers during the Halloween season. That year, the company erected statues of its cartoon werewolf in bars and supermarkets, and at the time relied heavily on its slogan “Turn it Loose!” Management wasn’t happy when they learned the phrase in Spanish meant, “Suffer from Diarrhea.” Soon after, the company changed the slogan to “You bring out the beast in me.” Coors retired BeerWolf, but still uses werewolf imagery to this day, calling its beers “The Silver Bullet.”
Ford Pinto: In 1971, Ford introduced its two-door subcompact car, the Pinto. The name is derived from the pinto horse, which is a horse with a coat consisting of patches of white and any other color. Folks in Brazil didn’t see it that way, however, probably because “pinto” is Brazilian slang for “male genitals.”
Chevy Nova: In 1969, Chevy replaced the name of its Chevy II compact car with a new name, the Nova. Until March 2011, it was widely believed that the Chevy Nova didn’t sell well in South America because the name Nova literally means, “it doesn’t go.” Snopes has since debunked this rumor, stating that the Nova actually “sold well in both its primary Spanish-language markets, Mexico and Venezula.” On the contrary, Venezuelan sales actually surpassed GM’s expectations.
Clairol Mist Stick: In 2006, hair products company Clairol introduced a curling iron to the world called the “Mist Stick.” The Mist Stick didn’t sell too well in Germany, mainly because “mist” in German translates to “manure,” or “excrement.”
Sega: Tokyo-based game developer Sega is actually an abbreviation of the company’s original name. The company started developing games in 1940 under the name Standard Games, which was renamed to Service Games when it moved its headquarters from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Tokyo in 1951. When Service Games merged with Rosen Enterprises, the company decided to rename itself once again, taking the first two letters of Service Games to create “Sega.” Unfortunately, Sega in Italian is a widely-used slang term for male masturbation. Even today, the company still alters the pronunciation of its name to “see-ga” in all of its advertisements.
Besides Nokia, these other companies didn’t have Google search at the time to cross-reference their names with possible meanings or translations. Nokia, however, has no excuse.
Nokia’s will reportedly sell its “prostitute” 800 model for about $584, and the “prostitute” 710 model for roughly $376. Both phones will be available in the U.S. in “early 2012.”