Some Popular IKEA Product Names Offensive in Thailand - as part of the news series by GeoBeats.
Translating product names can be a tricky business in the new globalized economy. Swedish furniture maker Ikea is finding out just how tricky it can be with their fifth largest super store in the world opening in Thailand. Ikea is known for using hard to pronounce Swedish words to name their various home décor products, but a few of the names have had to be altered so as not to offend Thai customers. For instance, an innocent pot for plants is called "Jattebra" in IKEA languge, but is slang terminology for sex in Thai language. One of the Ikea team members said, "The Swedish…words are important because they bring a unique character to the brand," but she says, “We've got to be careful, some of them can be, well, a little rude."
Ikea is not the only company to struggle with the issues of translating their product names to other languages. Vick’s cough medicine was changed to Wick’s in Germany because the original name sounds like a German slang term for sex, and when Coca-Cola expanded to the Chinese market in 1928, phonetic advertisements for the drink translated as “bite the wax tadpole.”