Lost in Translation


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Now that I spend a fair amount of my time at work navigating the charming world of foreign language-to-English translations (and assumptions), I think I understand how it is that "Ritter Sport" was named. I like to imagine it went like this:

CEO Klaus Ritter: Wir müssen den Namen unserer neuen Schokolade verursachen! (We need to come up with a name for our new chocolate company!)

VP Helga Ritter: Ja! Ich schlage einen Namen vor, der Vergnügen bedeutet! Unterhaltung! (Yes! I'm thinking something that says pleasure! Enjoyment!)

Klaus: Es ist zutreffend, unsere Schokolade ist sehr angenehm... (It's true, our chocolate IS very pleasurable...)

Helga: Boris! Benutzen Sie das Internet, um ein englisches Wort zu finden, das Genuss und Vergnügen bedeutet! (Boris! Use the internet to find an English word that means enjoyment and pleasure!)

Admin Boris: OK! (OK!)

...google google google...

Boris: Sport?

Klaus: Sport! Ich mag dieses Wort. Ich erinnere mich das an Wort von den Olympics. Die Olympics sind sehr erfreulich! Wir verwenden es. (Sport! I like this word. I remember it from the Olympics! The Olympics are exceedingly enjoyable! We will use it.)

And the rest is history. Once Ritter came out with the Sport line of chocolates, all the other European candy companies followed suit. Toblerone Athletic, Lindt Exercise, Nestle Obstacle Course... every one just as pleasurable and enjoyable as the last. Sigh. I love sports.

5 comments:

Elisabeth (and Tyler) said...

I can never come up with anything to clever after my mind's been blown by your wit..

Elisabeth (and Tyler) said...

Apparently, my mind is so blown I can't even put together a complete non-clever sentence..

Jill said...

Not kidding, I googled toblerone athletic. dun dun duh

Brian Hall said...

I'm afraid of American candy makers trying to capitalize on this European chocolate/sport pairing because you just know that they would forgo the process of making it enjoyable in any way. Ritter Sport? Delicious. Toblerone Athletic? Doesn't sound so bad. 5 Hour Energy M&M's? Eh. Hershey's Power Kisses? Muh. Snickers Marathon Runner Protein Goo? Nah.

the letters i wish i'd written said...

You deserve a mystery machine for solving this.