Amazon is one of the most popular companies around the world and has been racking in profit, especially during the pandemic. They recently decided to launch in Sweden and made one of the biggest mistakes ever. They did not put a budget aside for professional translations and became a laughing stock, along with failing to win over the Swedes.
Here are some translation fails:
- USB cable chargers were named with terms like ‘die cast’ becoming död (death) or dödlig (deadly).
- Calvin Klein underwear was named as ‘men’s luggage space’ män bagageutrymme from the English term ‘trunks’ which refers both to men’s underwear and suitcases.
- A strap used to secure cargo to transport became a knark spännband or ‘drug strap’.
- The video game Legend of Zelda was translated as ‘the savage’s breath’. Another game, ‘Watch Dogs 2’ became ‘Look at Dogs 2’, and ‘Star Wars Battlefront 2’ became ‘Star War: Battery Front’.
- Nintendo’s video game console called the Nintendo ‘Switch’ – became the Nintendo ‘Circuit Breaker’ instead.
If a company as big and successful as Amazon could make this mistake, then a lot of small and medium sized companies can too. It’s better to be on the safe side and invest in a professional translator to raise awareness of your company by speaking other people’s language effectively rather than your reputation going downhill.