Owch! Auch! Jao!

What do you say when you hurt yourself? What do they say around the world?

It may not have occurred to you that people in different countries say ‘ouch’ differently – it’s certainly not the kind of thing teachers tell you when you’re learning foreign languages! I recently came across this excellent list of pain words, which tells you how different countries express themselves when they get hurt.

Here they are:

Arabicأخ (Aakh!)
Chinese哎哟 Aiyo!
哎呀 Aiya!
Croatian Avaj!Jao!
DanishAv!
Japaneseいたい! (いたっ!いったっ!いったたたっ!いって~)
Itai! (Ita! Itta! Ittatata!)
MalteseAjma! (Ay-ma!)
Persianآخ or واخ (pronounced aakh and vaakh, respectively)
Spanish

Au!

Auch!

Tagalog (Philippines)Aray!
Thai

โอ้ย Oy!

 

Urdu/Gujarati/Hindi

Oh baa!

Oh maa!
(Gujarati): Oh baaprey!

So maybe the next time you stub your toe whilst abroad, you might like to try one of these new words! If you know the word for ‘owch’ in a language that’s not listed here, please share it with us!

 

Christmas around the world: Celebrating Christmas in Russia

Christmas around the world: Celebrating Christmas in Russia

Seven interesting facts you may not know

Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on the 7th January in accordance with the Russian Orthodox Julian Calendar. Christmas-Tree-S-Petersburg 200x300

The Russian advent lasts for 40 days, starting on the 28th November and ending on the 6th January.

The official Christmas holidays in Russia are from the 31st of December until the 10th of January.

In Russian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘s rah-zh-dee-st-VOHM’ (C рождеством!) or ‘s-schah-st-lee-vah-vah rah-zh dee-st-vah’ (Счастливого рождества!).

On Christmas Day, hymns and carols are sung. People gather in churches which have been decorated with the usual Christmas trees ( Ёлка), flowers and coloured lights.

Christmas dinner includes a variety of different meats – goose and suckling pig are favourites.

The ‘Babushka’ is a traditional Christmas figure who distributes presents to children. The word ‘Babushka’ is translated as grandmother in English.

 

German words used in English

Whilst analysing or comparing one’s own language with a foreign language, many people find it helpful to look for words that are well-known or similar to their own language. This stems from the fact that most languages have evolved from Latin. Latin is the mother of almost all languages worldwide, so it is not surprising that it has left marks on individual words. This article does not deal with Latin roots in English, but with German words applied in English.

It is surprising how many German words are known and used in foreign languages (not only in English), and there are various reasons that other languages adopt them. One such reason might be that in a particular language there is no true equivalent word and thus a translation is not possible. Another reason might be that the word is specific to the region where it is from and therefore expresses the original background meaning.

The following are some loan German words used in English. The list below is only a short summary of the most popular words.

Food & Drink

Sport

Dogs

Others

Bratwurst

Foosball

Dachshund

ABS

Brezel

Karabiner

Dobermann

Achtung

Hamburger

Rucksack

Rottweiler

Angst

Hefeweizen

Volkswanderung

Schnauzer

Bauhaus

Frankfurter

Wanderlust

Doppelganger

Muesli

Dummkopf

Pilsner

Hausfrau

Quark

Hamster

(Sauer)Kraut

Kaput(t)

Schnitzel

Kindergarten

Waldmeister

Oktoberfest

Wiener (wurst)

Poltergeist

Weltanschauung

Zeitgeist

Walzer

Wunderbar

to Yodel

On the other hand, sometimes it also happens that a language uses words from a foreign language, but misunderstands the correct meaning, as the following examples show.

“English” words in German

The term Bodybag is used in German language for describing a bag carried close to the body. A small difference to the English meaning of body bag, which is a bag used for dead bodies. Another term, Handy, is used to mean a cell phone by German people, who are unaware that it does not mean the same in English. The last example is the term Mobbing which in German expresses bullying. For a longer list of anglicisms in German click here. The amount may surprise you!

All together it has to be said that is important to know the exact meaning of a word before using a foreign term. However, the best option is to use words from one’s own language (if possible) and to try not to use foreign language words, even if the correct meaning is not known.

Do you know any other German words used in English? Or can you add anything to what I have mentioned here… I am looking forward to reading your comments! Alternitavely, if you’re looking for more information about our German language services then click here.

Food & Drink

Sport

Dogs

Others

Bratwurst

Foosball

Dachshund

ABS

Brezel

Karabiner

Dobermann

Achtung

Hamburger

Rucksack

Rottweiler

Angst

Hefeweizen

Volkswanderung

Schnauzer

Bauhaus

Frankfurter

Wanderlust

Doppelganger

Muesli

Dummkopf

Pilsener

Hausfrau

Quark

Hamster

(Sauer)Kraut

Kaput(t)

Schnitzel

Kindergarten

Waldmeister

Oktoberfest

Wiener(wurst)

Poltergeist

Weltanschauung

Zeitgeist

Walzer

Wunderbar

to Yodel

 

Branding Cockups

We all love a good laugh and branding cockups don’t ever fail to deliver. I bet the new brand decision makers for these well-known brand names most certainly weren’t too happy – but it’s great entertainment for us. Who in their right mind would name their company ‘F***ing Hell’ – I kid you not. Read on to find out about that and many other hilarious branding cock-ups.

Baniff translated a slogan claiming finely upholstered seats “Fly in Leather”. When this was translated into Spanish it comes out as “Fly Naked.”Clairol

Clairol marketed a curling iron as “Mist Stick”. Unfortunately “mist” in German is a slang word for manure.

When Colgate launched a product in France it decided upon the name brand name “Cue”. Unfortunately if they had done their market research they would have realised that “Cue” is also the name of a French pornographic magazine. This must have caused confusion for customers shopping in the supermarket when asking for Cue to brush their teeth with.

The well known American beer brand Coors suffered an unfortunate mishap when it launched it’s product in Spain. Their marketing team chose the slogan “turn it loose” which in Spain is a colloquial term for diarrhoea.

World famous vacuum cleaner manufacturer Electrolux chose the slogan “Nothing suck like an Electrolux” when they launched their product in America. Of course sucks is a reference in American slang that means bad or poor. Of course this is also considered and urban legend of translation but would still be funny if it were true!

Ford launched a car in Brazil called the Ford Pinto. Unfortunately in Brazillian Portuguese Pinto also means “tiny male genitals”

American meat processing and poultry farming company Perdue Farms used the slogan “it takes a tough man to make tender chicken” to try and appeal to some of the masculine male customers in Spain. However when this slogan is translated into Spanish it comes through as “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate”.

Everyone knows Ikea right? Ikea is a world recognised furniture store that began in Sweden. However when they launched in Thailand they didn’t realise that some of their Swedish names mean “sex” or “third base” in Thai. Also in China Ikea’s Chinese website advertised a stuffed wolf toy called Lufsig, or Lo Mo Sai (路姆西). This unfortunately contained a homophobe of Hai (閪), a profane Cantonese word meaning “vagina”. The name itself could be written as Lo Mo Hai (老母閪) which means “mothers Vagina”.

Fast food restaurant chain KFC made some Chinese customers feel uncomfortable or just confused with their slogan “finger licking good”. When the restaurant chain launched in China their slogan translated to “eat your fingers off”.

Mercedes Benz launched in China under the brand name “Bensi”. Which in China means “rush to die”.

Sportswear manufacturer Nike was forced to recall thousands of it’s products when the design on some of it’s products was deemed too similar to the Arabic word for Allah.

Electrical giant Panasonic launched a new web ready PC using a Woody Woodpecker theme. Not too bad in itself except the slogan they used was “Touch Woody : The Internet Ready Pecker”.

The makers of premium pens Parker Pens launched in Mexico using it’s slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. Unfortunately this was mistranslated as “It won’t leak in your product and make you pregnant.

Iranian consumer goods company Paxam marketed it laundry soap using the Farsi word for “snow”. This resulted in packaging been labelled as “Barf Soap”.

American branded Puffs Facial Tissues, from Procter and Gamble, entered into the German market. Unfortunately they didn’t realise that “Puff” is a German slang word for brothel.

The American Dairy Association used it’s slogan “Got Milk?” as it’s slogan in Spanish speaking markets. This was translated as “Are you lactating?”. Bit of a personal question don’t you think?

Procter and Gamble brand Vicks moved into the German market with it’s cough drops. In German the pronunciation of “V” is actually “F” which made “Vick” slang for sexual intercourse in Germany.

When the name of the Toyota MR2 is pronounced in French it is phonetically similar to “mede” in French, which is their word for “shit”.

Motoring manufacturer Mitsubishi found that their Pajero product name as the same as the Spanish word for “wanker” when they launched in Spain.

Japanese motor company Honda initially launched their Honda Jazz as the Honda Fitta. However when their marketing team contacted their Swedish office with the name they found out that Fitta is a slang word for “vagina” in Swedish and Norwegian. They promptly decided on the Jazz although Japan kept the “Fit” brand for it’s home market.

I know what your thinking. How rude. How profane. However Fucking Hell is the name of a German Pilsner beer brewed in Germany. When they launched the brand in 2010 they upset the European Union due to the nature of the word and it’s expletive nature in the English language. However the brand name refers to an actual town in Austria which is in fact called Fucking whereas as Hell in Germany refers to pale lager. They launched an appeal against the original EU decision to disallow this name and they won.

 

Below is a short list of some actual products that are available on sale in various countries. Are they marketing mistakes or are they genius in advertising? Decide for yourselves!

  • Crapsy Fruit, a French breakfast cereal
  • Alu-Fanny, a French aluminium foil

  • Atum Bom, a Portuguese brand of tinned tuna

  • Kack, Danish confectionery

  • Plopp, a Swedish chocolate bar

  • Mukk, an Italian yogurt

  • Bimbo, a brand of bread in Spain and the Americas

  • Slag, a Belgian lager

  • Kum Onit, a German make of pencil sharpeners

  • Pschitt, a French fizzy soft drink

Food for thought

 

How much do you think the ‘cock-ups’ cost each company? Get in touch with us for professional translations, that are localised and right on the mark – every time!

German Tongue Twisters

So, after Polish, Chinese, Finnish, and Italian it’s now time for some German tongue twisters. Anyone who has ever been to a speech therapist will know what I’m talking about. Even if you’re not trying to practice your pronunciation, give them a go, because it’s always funny to listen to the nonsense you’re saying! Let’s start with the most famous example: “Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.“ (“Fischer’s Fritz fishes fresh fish, fresh fish is fished by Fischer’s Fritz”).

Also well known is: “Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid und Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut.“ (“A Wedding dress stays a wedding dress and red cabbage stays red cabbage”), or “Bierbrauer Braun braut Braunbier, Braunbier braut Brauer Braun.“ (“Brewer Braun brews dark beer, dark beer is brewed by brewer Braun”).

Anyone who wants to try something new should try the following:
Tick, Trick und Track trippeln treppauf und treppab. Treppauf und Treppab trippeln Tick, Trick und Track.“ (Tick, Trick and Track are scampering upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs and downstairs Tick, Trick and Track are scampering.) or “Auf dem Rasen rasen rasche Ratten rasche Ratten rasen auf dem Rasen“ (“On the lawn quick rats are running around, quick rats are running around on the lawn”).

As almost every region of Germany has its own accent, many of them have their own tongue twisters. First of all a Swabian one: “Es leit ä Gletzle Blei glei bei Blaibäura, glei bei Blaibäura leit ä Gletzle Blei”(“A block of lead is at Blaubeurens’, At Blaubeurens’ is a block of lead”)

Here’s one from Palatinate: “Die Woch hots Teleringel gfont, donn bin ich die raas runnergetreppt un batsch wedder die bums gedeert.“ (This week the telephone rang, then I ran downstairs and smashed against the door). This one is pretty difficult too! “A Mamaladenammala hamma zwar a ana dahamm, aba a Rhabarbamamalaad hamma kanna“ (We also have a jam jar at home but we don’t have rhubarb jam).

After reading this article, try to say “Möwe” (Seagull) about ten times as fast as you can! Good luck!seagull

 

 

International French Fries Day

Today is one of the best day of the year: the international French Fries Day. But let’s find out something about most people’s favourite guilty pleasure.

Apparently, French fries are not French at all. Their origin can be tracked back to Belgium, where potatoes were allegedly being fried in the late-1600s. The legend says that poor villagers in Meuse Valley used to eat small fried fish they caught in the river but, as the river would freeze during winter, they had to find an alternative source of food. When the potato was introduced in the continent, the villagers began preparing the root plant in the same way they used to treat the fish: slicing and frying it. And this is how the earliest “French” fries were born.

So, how come they’re called FRENCH fries? It seems that it’s Americans’ fault. When American soldiers were stationed in Belgium during World War I they were introduced to the fried goodness and, as the official language spoken by the Belgian army was French, they started calling it “French fries”. As most misunderstandings in history, once the name was spread there was no way to correct it. And we still call them “French” after centuries, and will probably keep on doing so for quite a while.

But is this a mistake that only English speakers make? Let’s have a look on how everybody’s favourite side dish is called in different countries.

France/Belgium (French): les pommes frites / les frites

Belgium (Dutch): friet/fritten

China: 薯条 shu tiao (potato stripe or stick)

Czech Republic: hranolky (little prisms)

Denmark: pomfritter

Finland: ranskalaiset perunat (French potatoes) or ranskalaiset (French)

Germany: Pommes / pommesfrites

Greece: τηγανιτές πατάτες tiganites patates

Italy: patatine fritte

Japan: フライドポテト furaido poteto (Fried potatoes)

Korea: 감자 튀김 Gamja twigim

Latin America: papas fritas

Columbia/Mexico: papas a la francesa

Portugal: batatas fritas

Romania: (Belgian) cartofi prajiti

Russia: картофелем фри kartofel’ fri

Sweden: franske kartofler (French potatoes)

The Netherlands (Dutch): patat frites / Vlaamse friet (Flemish fries)