Translation quality: Don’t be the ‘butt’ of the joke

In recent hype over Apple’s latest release, the iPhone 4S, we couldn’t help but notice something that hit close to home. The translation of Apple’s Siri -an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking – seems to fail the test when it comes to foreign languages. As it turns out, Siri sounds a lot like the Japanese word for ‘shiri’, which means… buttocks.

Giggle-worthy, yes. However, the language oversight is also somewhat of a slap on the wrist for Apple’s Japanese brand image. Luckily the iPhone 4S’s Siri won’t be hitting the Japanese market tomorrow like it will elsewhere, giving the phone assistant time for a much needed name change.

This mistake doesn’t come without a price though, with bloggers and tweeters taking their shots at Apple since the product’s announcement last week. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time Apple’s run into translation faux pas, but hopefully they’ve learned their lesson this time around.

It may be easy for one of the world’s largest brands to bounce back from a translation oops, but that’s not the case for everyone. In order to secure a quality brand image when going global you must have a language service team you can truly trust. The last thing you want to do is delay your product’s release date because of ineffective translations. Or worse yet, release an inadequately localized product just in time to watch it get laughed at instead of bought. Learn from Apple’s mistake, and don’t become the “butt” of the joke.

To learn more about translation quality, download our whitepaper: Ensuring quality: The 10 questions you should ask your translation vendor.

Check out some of the buzz here that Apple’s new iPhone capability has created on the translation front.

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About Sajan

Sajan is a leading provider of global language translation and localization services, helping clients around the world expand seamlessly into any global market.
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