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Brand name translation

Many global companies choose to use the same brand name in multiple countries, which can often be an advantage but is not possible for every brand.

It’s much harder to localize a brand name for every market to achieve the same results.

Some products may never have the chance to go global because they have already been branded with names that have embarrassing meanings abroad. Automobile names have caused their share of translation headaches because they need to be names that work in a global market.

Here are some brand names with unfortunate foreign translations:

Toyota’s Fiera

Fiera’ means ‘ugly old woman’ in Puerto Rico

Audi E-Tron

Etron’ means ‘excrement’ in French

Chevy Nova

Nova’ means ‘It doesn’t go’ in Spanish

‘Gerber’ means vomit” in French


Colgate’ means “hang yourself” in some Central and South-American Spanish dialects

It is best to make informed decisions about brand names to avoid such problems. Companies should collect all the information needed to choose the best global brand names by surveying linguists and country-specific brand checkers in the various potential markets.

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