There are times when things just don’t translate well or those in marketing at a company don’t bother to stop drinking their Starbucks for five minutes to realize that there is a big world out there with a lot of languages. Most people are aware of the blunder in calling a car the Chevy Nova, which while an actual word in Spanish can also mean, “no va” as in, “it doesn’t go”. Of course, that’s not nearly as bad as the Mitsubishi Pajero which most people in the US will know at the Montero because “pajero” means “wanker” in Spanish and while a fitting name for your typical SUV driver, it didn’t do much to sell the vehicle in Spain.
Now things have taken on a Slavic twist. As was initially reported in East Ethnia (which is a great read for Balkanophiles), Ford has come out with this car called the Kuga. I’m not exactly sure where they came up with this word, although I think it’s one of those things that a computer spits out for them like the Altima. Maybe they thought it was a very ‘urban’ way of saying ‘cougar’? Because, the unfortunate thing about this name is that without any change to the word, it means, “plague” in BCSM. If you don’t believe me, check out the Wikipedia page for this thing. I mean, it’s only a market of some 25 or 30 million people, but still, it’s a bit of an oversight.