With the help of an on-line or video-remote interpreter, over the phone interpreting (OPI) is a service that connects individuals who don’t share a common language. OPI is a simple and affordable solution for effective communication between you and your foreign language speaking or limited English proficiency (LEP) clients, employees, patients and vendors. OPI is critical in the global business community as it can help you communicate your message effectively, affordably and within moments, and avoid embarrassing language blunders that could ruin your reputation.
OPI could have saved time, money, and embarrassment when Coca Cola first translated its advertising in China. The name Coca-Cola was first transliterated* as “Ke-kou-kela.” But because the company didn’t get on the phone with their ad agency to discuss the chosen term, they printed thousands of signs that translated to “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax.” After this blunder Coke finally hired a translation company that found a close phonetical equivalent: “ko-kou-ko-le”, which can loosely be translated as “happiness in the mouth.” Still not perfect, but a much more acceptable cultural fit for the brand.
* to write words or letters in the characters of another alphabet.
The Coke story is perfect example of translation gone bad, which often is a result of a lack of communication and understanding, and which could have easily been avoided if they had just called Paragon. Obviously, Paragon wasn’t around at that time, but you get the point. Hopefully you can avoid similar issues in your company by picking up the phone and letting Paragon handle your over the phone interpreting. If it can happen to Coke, it can happen to you, but not on our watch.
Do you like word games? Do you speak Spanish? Here's a little puzzle for you. Stay tuned for different puzzles in other languages in future newsletters.
Directions In the following sentences, some words have been omitted, and only the first letter of the word remains. Try to find out what the correct words could be.