International marketing is tough because you typically don't know the languages and cultures of the countries in which you want to do business. I remember hearing classic stories years ago when trying to get some catalogs translated. For example, Chevy marketed the Nova in South America, where the brand translated as "no go."
Swedish e-commerce platform Tictail hired U.K.-based translation agency Kwintessential to create a list of English words and phrases that can be offensive if used in the wrong place. Here's all 23, in alphabetical order, with their other meanings and the countries in which you'd look foolish by using them.
In Dutch, this means a nanny or children's care giver and has nothing to do with baked goods.
Another problem in the Netherlands--the word sounds exactly like bil, which means a rear end.
It's French slang for a penis.
Russians use the direct translation of this term as a vulgar way to refer to vomit.
Go to France, use this term, and confuse some people because it means arm.
Cometa means kite, as in the flying children's toy, in Spain.
Cool can be uncool in Spanish-speaking nations, where the similar-sounding culo refers to a woman's rear end.
Another one to avoid in Dutch, where it's a homophone for vulgar slang referring to a woman's private parts.
The Portuguese word delito means a criminal action.
Say this in France and people will assume you mean the illegal, not prescription, type.
In Portugal or Brazil, this would sound like enjoar, which means to sicken.
Again, in Portuguese, it's probably not a good choice, because exquisito means weird.
A vulgar reference to a woman's private parts in Norway.
Gift may sound positive, but in Germany it means a poison.
Whether referring to ice cream or the late Grateful Dead leader, this term in Japan is diarrhea.
Beer? Not in the Netherlands, as it means storage.
German slang for an erect penis.
Excrement in Germany.
Across the European continent, residents might associate this word with condoms.
Culinary in English and a willow tree in Spanish.
Having nothing to do with the idea of looking sharp, in many European countries as well as in Russia, smoking means a smoking jacket--a dinner jacket.
Both Italians and Spaniards would turn your tremendous savings into terrible or atrocious savings.
People in Spain associate the term with student groups that sing to raise funds. In some Central American countries, it means drunkenness.