In the history of mobile phone names, some have been good, some have been bad and some have been downright ugly.
But now Nokia has managed to top them all…by inadvertently calling one of its mobile ranges ‘the prostitute’.
The new Nokia Lumia translates from Spanish as ‘hooker’ or ‘call girl’, prompting derision and mockery on the Internet.
The only consolation for the mobile giant is the term is ‘lumia’ is not widely used and only appears in Spanish dialects with a heavy gypsy influence.
By now, however, it has been dragged from obscurity very much into the public eye.
The error first surfaced on Twitter and spawned comments such as: ‘Lumia’ apparently means hooker in Spanish. Discuss.’
Another user posted: ‘If Lumia is prostitute in Spanish, does that all Nokia 710 and 800 owners pimps?’
But in fairness to Nokia, they are not the first mobile company to fall foul of the ‘Lost in translation’ syndrome.
Earlier this year it emerged that he personal assistant on Apple’s iPhone 4S is named Siri, which sounds similar to the Japanese word ‘shiri’, meaning ‘ass’ or ‘buttocks’.
Other firms have also made similar marketing blunders – in 1971 when Ford launched its new model, the Pinto, it was not well received in Brazil.
The name means a horse with white and coloured patches but it also is slang for ‘male genitals’.
Car maker Chevy also blundered when it renamed its Chevy II as the Nova. For years it was thought that the vehicle did not sell well in South America where word Nova means ‘it doesn’t go’.
Sega has faced problems in Italy when it shortened its name from the more dull sounding ‘Service Games’. Unfortunately ‘Sega’ in Italian is slang for male masturbation.
Even hair product giant Clairol came unstuck in 2006 when it launched its ‘Mist Stick’ curling iron.
In Germany sales were far less than expected because the word ‘mist’ translates as ‘excrement’.
Perhaps the most notorious error, however, was by beer makers Coors.
In 1983 it created a mascot called BeerWolf for the Halloween season who had the catchphrase ‘Turn it loose!’
When the campaign was broadcast in Spain something got lost in translation when it came out as ‘Suffer from diarrhea!’
Nokia hopes its Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 will become a challenger to the iPhone and Google’s Android and has billed it as the first proper Windows phone.
Both are to be priced in the medium range but the Lumia 800 has better specifications with an 8-megapixel camera that boasts an f/2.2 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens and an LED flash.
It also has a 3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED display with 800×480 pixel resolution and Nokia’s ClearBlack to stop glare.
by Sasha Dubronitz