Ikea has hired translators in Thailand over concerns its product names could run afoul of the country’s conservative mores.
Redalen, a town in Norway after which a bed sold by the Swedish furniture chain is named, sounds similar to a sex act in Thailand, says a Wall Street Journal report.
As the retail giant continues to expand into new markets, it is discovering that the tongue-twisting Scandinavian names utilized for merchandise may have untoward meanings in other languages, the paper said.
The company, which was unable to respond to questions by the Star Tuesday or Wednesday, realized that terms like Jättebra, for a plant pot, can echo a crude Thai term for sex after it launched its fifth-largest superstore in Bangkok last year.
So, Ikea hired locals to scrutinize product names to see how they sounded in Thai before transliterating them into Thailand’s cursive, Sanskrit-influenced alphabet. In some cases, they changed a vowel sound or a consonant to prevent unfortunate misunderstandings, said the Journal.
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