auerbach intl blog

Happy February!

It’s time for a funny lesson…

Imagine that you run Mazda and have a new car for export.  The Laputa is a proven success in Japan.  It’s safe, reliable, comfortable, inexpensive and is a high mileage vehicle – sure to be a hit overseas.


You run a huge advertising campaign to introduce the Laputa to U.S. buyers.  The initial sales results come in and they are…  awful.  Why are sales poor everywhere? Projections are off by more than 30% in major markets like California, Texas and Florida!

What your staff failed to recognize is that the name “Laputa” is being recognized as “la puta” which is Spanish for “the whore”.  Spanish speaking customers in the United States apparently don’t want to drive “the whore” over to Mom’s house for Sunday dinner.  This actually happened when Mazda attempted to export the Laputa to Spain – and it really was a disaster.

The chart below shows a partial list of states and the percentage of the population of each that speak a language other than English at home as of 2019.

Published by Statista Research Department, Jan 20, 2021

Don’t let your “Laputa” aspiration become your “la puta” nightmare. Make sure your brand is protected by accurately communicating through spoken word (interpreting) and in writing and digital presence (translating) your messages to all your customers.  Drop us a note ( and we at Auerbach international can set up a call to discuss your business’s language challenges at home and abroad.




Chris Hempel

Director of Client Success

Auerbach International

415.592.0042  x125

818.445.4451 (mobile)

415.592.0043 (fax)