Language is tricky. Sometimes when you try and translate from one language to the other, the meaning and context can get lost and you end up with a literal translation that might make no sense to the other party. As if that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes you could end up with a translation that has a completely different meaning, and in some cases it might be offensive.
Such is the case with Apple’s iPhone 7 ad in Hong Kong. It has been noted by users that when trying to translate “This is 7” to Cantonese, it actually ends up saying, “This is penis”, which we’re pretty sure is not what Apple had in mind. This is due to the fact that “seven” in Cantonese is pronounced as “chat”, which in turn is apparently an euphemism for “penis”.
According to The Daily Mail, “The number ‘seven’ is a common euphemism of a Cantonese profanity word referring to penis, which only differs slightly in the tone.” Apple is not the only company who has unfortunately had a poor choice of words. As pointed out by Quartz, Samsung ran into similar mistranslations themselves with the Galaxy Note 7 which sounds like “a stick of penis” when translated.
Granted in these instances, the ads are unfortunate but funny, However in some cases, like Tesla’s ads in China, words used to indicate “autopilot” have been mistranslated into “self-driving” which has caused some confusion and even some accidents in the country.