Axe body spray wanted to take one of their popular campaigns to Europe and South America, but it quite literally didn’t translate. The English copy uses a fake disorder for men who can’t get women’s attention. This “disorder” also forms an acronym, which is a non-existent word, but it doesn’t sound nice.

aLanguageBank created new acronyms in Castilian Spanish, a general Latin American Spanish, Swiss French, Greek, Brazilian Portuguese, German for Germany, and Swiss German. We transcreated new fake disorders in each language that met similar cultural negative stereotypes. But their acronyms had to also sound like a made-up insult in that language.

We suggested several options to the client, each accompanied by their literal translation, the connotation of the term, and feedback from small focus groups in each target cultural group about the overtones of each acronym. This helped the client choose the right acronym based on how each market would react to it.