auerbach intl blog

As was presented last month, our August newsletter explores some new concepts to help your global expansion.

International Marketing

According to our recent Global Gurus podcast with Ricardo Franco, in Mexico, marketing should be oriented to the well-being of the family, not just the individual. An example is large employers that provide grocery store discount coupons or transportation vouchers, all to maintain employee loyalty.

While Americans pay fixed prices and don’t haggle much (except for cars), Indians, Iranians, Chinese and Arabs come from bargaining cultures. They compare deals, salaries and school grades. It’s important for them to take back a “win” to their families which then can spread to other members of their communities.

AI vs. Acculturation

One reason that AI translations alone are insufficient is because words have different connotations in other languages. Without acculturation that only professional translators provide, your venture could fail. For example:

Individualism is prized in the West but disparaged in Asia where the group, or the collective, is far more important.

“Wilderness” in English is a wild area to be preserved for recreation and enjoyment. In Japanese, it is an area mainly for economic exploitation.

The Spanish word “intoxicado” means “drunk” but it can also mean “having food poisoning.” Hispanic hospital patients have almost been killed because US doctors relied on the common AI meaning.

“Ahorita” in Mexico can mean “now” but it can also mean “later” or “tomorrow.”

Uncertainty is negative in US culture but it is assumed in Brazil.

If you put “I’m going to chat up the bird over there” in Google Translate, you will get a literal translation. But this UK English expression means “talking to seduce someone.” Very different!

If you talk about a hydro bill, US Americans assume it refers to water. But in Canada, hydro means “electricity” as in “hydro wires” and “hydro poles.”

Conclusion and Bloopers

In short, AI has limits. Auerbach International has over 30 years’ experience when you need precise, culturally adapted translating; layouts; transcribing; subtitles; dubbing; websites; and interpreting (on site, remotely by Zoom, or by telephone) in over 120 language pairs. Plus, we consult on global marketing entry and strategies.

Finally, as the Northern Hemisphere summer closes, we are pleased to present some English airport signs that obviously did not use Auerbach International to translate their intent correctly:

  • Instructions on Korean flights: “On arrival at the airport, please wear your clothes.”
  • Reassuring sign in Copenhagen: “We take your bags and send them in all directions.”
  • Sign in an Indian airport: “Please do not eat the carpet.”


To get your own communications done correctly, please contact us.

Best wishes,

Philip Auerbach
Founder, President & CEO
Auerbach International
Headquarters – 415-592-0042 x107

“3 Decades. 2 Billion Words. A+ Accuracy. Superior Translation Services.”

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