"Bite the wax tadpole."
-Coca-Cola as originally translated into Chinese
"Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave."
-"Pepsi Comes Alive" as originally translated into Chinese
"Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notice."
-In a Tokyo Hotel
"Please bathe inside the tub."
-In a Japanese Hotel Room
"The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable."
-In a Bucharest Hotel Lobby
"Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up."
-In a Leipzig Elevator
"To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order."
-In a Belgrade Hotel Elevator
"Please leave your values at the front desk."
-In a Paris Hotel Elevator
"Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily."
-In a Hotel in Athens
"The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid."
-In a Yugoslavian Hotel
"You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."
-In a Japanese Hotel
"You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday."
-In the Lobby of a Moscow Hotel Across from a Russian Orthodox Monastery
"Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension."
-In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers
"Our wines leave you nothing to hope for." -On the Menu of a Swiss Restaurant
"Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup" with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion." -On the Menu of a Polish Hotel
"For your convenience, we recommend courageous, efficient self-service."
-In a Hong Kong supermarket
"Ladies may have a fit upstairs."
-Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop
"Drop your trousers here for best results."
-In a Bangkok dry cleaner's
"Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation."
-In a Rhodes tailor shop
"There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Aets by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years."
-From the Soviet Weekly
"A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers."
-In an East African newspaper
"In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter."
-In a Vienna hotel
"Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose."
-In a Zurich hotel
"Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time."
-In a Rome laundry
"Would you like to ride on your own ass?"
-Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand
"Stop: Drive Sideways."
-Detour sign in Kyushu, Japan
"Special today---no ice cream."
-In a Swiss mountain inn
"Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts."
-In a Tokyo bar
"We take your bags and send them in all directions."
-In a Copenhagen airline ticket office
"When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor."
-From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo
When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."
Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux."
Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "Manure Stick."
Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read.
Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken," was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."
When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.
An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa).
The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are You Lactating?"
General Motors had a very famous fiasco in trying to market the Nova car in Central and South America. "No va" in Spanish means, "It Doesn't Go".
The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Female Horse Stuffed with Wax". Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokoukole", translating into "Happiness in the Mouth."