Last year IKEA, the Swedish furniture maker, opened its first store in Bangkok, Thailand. But unlike so many other Fortune 500 companies, IKEA actually did their homework. A special language team spent four years checking to make sure that the names of IKEA’s products would work fine in Thai, and not cause any embarrassment for the Swedish giant.
A few examples, the “Redalen” bed is similar sounding to a Thai word for sex, same with the “Jattebra” plant pot. Neither of which are appropriate for business dealings.
According to a member of the language team, they would try to keep the Thai word as close as possible to the original, often only changing one letter.
This is a great example of a company being truly concerned about the translation of their products, and more importantly about localization, ensuring a successful and sensitive translation.