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Company names

It frequently amuses, then angers, then saddens me that companies are willing to throw money at TV ads but then neglect to bother to pay a decent translator. Forking out for a reliable person to help make sure that the company image is right would cost (well, not very much) compared to a TV ad...

Sometimes this relates to the name of a company. Some examples that spring straight to mind are MOLESTA, which sounds like 'molester'. I wouldn't choose to name my company after someone who assaults others sexually and I'm guessing you agree. #youtoo?

Screenshot from Oxford Dictionaries online: OED definition

When I first arrived in Lithuania, there was a beer called KOFF. This sounds like 'cough'. Not something I would like to put in a red can and then drink. I think I'll pass. It might have been Finnish, but I don't think it was a great success.

Maybe it demonstrates an underlying immaturity on my part, but I love finding translation fails in menus. So here are a couple. The company is a well-known pizza chain and part of a larger restaurant group. The name of the company has some unfortunate connotations which I might not have thought of until I saw their menu. Pick the meaning you like best: fools, boobs, or cocaine.


Not the #taikliausias decision for a company name (in my humble opinion). I'm currently half watching the basketball on TV and during every ad break, there is an ad for this company. So I don't mind pointing out how I think this company could have done better. And I am fully aware that my Lithuanian language skills are hopeless considering how long I've lived here. However, I will not let this stop me from sharing the joy of this menu with you...

So which sin would you choose?

I think this one is even better.

This is brilliant. Choose your garnish - great idea; customer choice is pretty much always a good thing. Pick your own garnish - even better. I have in mind some fresh herbs growing in the restaurant and you can pick what you want. Garnish picked up by customer (OK, by 'the customer', but we'll ignore that for now) - this sounds as if the garnish has been on the floor and you must pick it up from the kitchen/restaurant floor. Fantastic. Sounds lovely.

So what have we discovered?
Company names can sound funny in another language.
Choose, pick, and pick up are not the same. There are multiple meanings of the word 'pick'. Here are the ones that I associated with this image:

Choose something - make a selection from the available alternatives
Pick something - make a selection from the available options
Pick a flower, pick a herb, pick vegetables - remove them from their stem/the ground/where it is growing
Pick up - collect something that has fallen onto the floor or left elsewhere

It's not so easy to explain, which is why everyone needs a good dictionary. The examples here have been taken from

The last one is one that Veryga should be proud of, because burgers are not the healthiest. The powers that be seem to like banning things so should approve of this.

Have you found any gems on menus? If so, please share them!

As well as teaching, I am quite happy to advise your company on what you menu may sound like to foreign ears. Sometimes for a modest sum, and often in return for a burger or Chicken Kiev (just as long as I get to pick my own fresh garnish)!