Know Thy Customer

One of my colleagues in Beirut, Lebanon forwarded the below anecdote to me.

Due to its relevance to localization, I felt compelled to publish it in this blog. It ties nicely to our recent blog Lack of Quality Assurance! Credit goes to its unknown author. Enjoy…

A disappointed salesman of Cola returns from his Middle-East assignment. A friend asked, “Why weren’t you successful with the Arabs?”


The salesman explained: “When I got posted in the Middle-East, I was very confident that I would make a good sales pitch as Cola is virtually unknown there. But, I had a problem. I didn’t know how to speak Arabic. So, I planned to convey the message through three posters…

Transcreation vs. Translation

1st poster: A man lying in the hot desert sand, totally exhausted and fainting.
2nd poster: The man is drinking our Cola.
3rd poster: Our man is now totally refreshed.



And then these posters were pasted all over the place.

“Then that should have worked!” said the friend.

“Yes it should have!” said the salesman, “I just didn’t realize that Arabs read from right to left!

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