I think I’ll pass.
When the Iranian company Paxam began marketing the laundry detergent they translated the word Snow into Farsi and got Barf. Imagine this Barf is one of the tops selling detergents in the Middle East. You can actually wash your hair in Barf for that fresh as daisy smell.
It’s not uncommon to lose meaning when translating words into a different culture. Thanks to Stacey at The Translation Blog for these other great blunders in word translations and meanings:
A Different Kind of Milk
Years ago, the American Dairy Association ran a famous advertising campaign that included the slogan, ‘Got Milk’. When they attempted to expand this campaign into Mexico, the resulting translation became, ‘Are You Lactating?’ Now I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder if the Mexican’s who saw that ad were scratching their heads in disbelief at the American company who wanted them to line up and donate milk.
Lose A Finger
Kentucky Fried Chicken’s slogan of ‘finger lickin good’ is well known all over the world. However, in China apparently the majority of their patrons took it to mean that KFC was suggesting that they wanted to ‘eat their fingers off.’
Be Careful Of The Drinking Water
The Coors beer slogan ‘turn it loose’ was an instant hit in America. But in Spanish speaking countries, it inadvertently became ‘get loose bowels’. I wonder how many Hispanics recognized the irony that American’s are told not to drink the water in many Hispanic nations for just the same reason.
Unfortunately in the church we too often use words that just don’t translate to the same meaning when we use them in our cultural context.
Words like Faith, God, Grace, Mercy, Sin, Salvation just don’t have the same meaning in culture that they do within the walls of the church.
Do you know what the words mean that you use everyday as you talk about your faith?
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. I Peter 3:15 NIV
Are you prepared to give an answer?
The world is searching for answers and meaning.
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
let ordinary people see the meaning.
Psalm 119:130 The Message
If we continue to remain silent, who knows what meaning will be ascribed to the words you use.
See you Sunday …