In 2013, KIA, the Korean car manufacturer released the KIA Provo model in the UK. 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 that lovely orange sunroof).
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.
Ludejo offers our clients a specific name localization service. Marketing specialists in each country/linguistic region, will evaluate product name choices in terms of:
- Connotations (Negative or Positive)
- Pronunciation (Ease or Difficulty of)
- Keyword search
Before you run headlong into an embarrassing, costly, and potentially market shriveling mistake, let the specialists at Ludejo give your product name the ‘once over’. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive analysis of the product name for each and every market/region you plan to launch in.
What’s your favorite (?) fail in product localization? Here are a few of mine 🙂
Toyota MR2: MR2, when spoken in French, sounds similar to “merde”
Mitsubishi Pajero: Pajero is rather close to a swearword in Spanish
Vauxhall Nova: “Nova” sounds like “no go” in Spanish
Ford Pinto: Pinto means “tiny male genitals” in Brazilian Portuguese
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…