Confusing Cola from 10 Food Names, Brands, and Slogans That Mean Something Embarrassing in Other Languages (Slideshow)

10 Food Names, Brands, and Slogans That Mean Something Embarrassing in Other Languages (Slideshow)

ItemMaster

Slide 1 of 10
Confusing Cola

Since Mandarin is so different from Western languages, names (for both people and companies) in English are often simply assigned phonetic equivalents. The literal translation doesn’t always gel with the product or person to which it is assigned, but it generally doesn’t create an issue. Coca-Cola, however, had some difficulty when it moved into the Chinese market. Because there was no official Chinese name, shopkeepers (who printed thousands of signs) and consumers began calling it “ke-kou-ke-la,” which can mean either “bite the wax tadpole,” or the even more unfortunate “female horse stuffed with wax.” Clearly neither of these represented Coke (and were both terribly unfortunate and confusing), who eventually made the official name “ko-kou-ko-le,” or, essentially, “happiness in the mouth.”

Click here for 10 famous Coca-Cola myths.