Global Claim Checks: Do Not Bend Your Clients

Christophe Fricker , 18.03.2016

Advertising slogans and company claims can contain unwanted messages – especially when a foreign-language version has not been properly checked. A new service offers protection against the ‘omnishambles’ moment.

What do you do if what is written between the lines suddenly jumps out at you? Sometimes your customers discover messages that you had not intended to send, but there they are, on a giant billboard. Once someone has pointed it out, it is obvious to everybody, and there is no denying it.

You may have already guessed what I’m talking about: the ‘omnishambles’ moment. There are two ways of dealing with it, one being substantially cheaper than the other.

A quick reminder of the all-too-plausible incident in The Thick of It, the fictional series about top-level administrators in an unspecified UK government: Nicola Murray MP is on the campaign trail for fellow-politician Liam Bentley. Here she is, greeting the media in front of an election poster – or, more precisely, in front of the letters ‘L’ and ‘ley,’ leaving the viewer with the message: “IAM BENT.” Niola being all smiles, she seems to be very proud of this statement of hers.

Malcolm Tucker, swearer-in-chief and arch-nemesis of mediocrity and pusillanimity, has a go at her, culminating in what has become his most iconic verdict: that the situation is an ‘omnishambles.’

Frage zum Thema?

Sie haben eine Frage oder ein Problem in diesem Bereich oder bei einem ähnlichen Thema? Unsere Expert Community hilft gern!

Schreiben Sie uns an

The situation is awkward, and the take-home message for marketing professionals is clear: don’t just make sure you get words and phrases right, but look at how letter combinations spell out something you’d rather not see associated with your client’s product or service.

While this may be relatively easy to do in your home market, checking foreign-language versions of your claim is trickier. Linguistic, cultural, and visual aspects all have to be considered. And looking up various letter combinations in a foreign dictionary or on Google will deliver patchy results at best.

And what you cannot do for a foreign language is ascertain which additional letters will spoil your message. An English “To Let” sign only needs one letter (i) to turn it into something misleading, and you’ll definitely catch this one (or not be worried about it). Tons more examples can be found here. We recommend being similarly attentive across all the languages you work in.

Our solution is to offer cross-language spell and sound checks for your slogans. This can be combined with our transcreation services, or booked separately. For 65 languages across the world.

Being ouch!

I mean, Be in touch!

For more information and to discuss your project, contact Christophe Fricker, Managing Partner, at our UK offices and at

Image source:

Mehr Lesestoff


Where did the Backpacker Lady go? Turkey's Mobile Communications Industry is Changing

Turkey is changing. Western-oriented elites and middle-class consumers are often at odds with socially conservative, rural milieus. Tech-companies in particular need to tread carefully in trying to reach out to the broadest possible customer base. Recent strategies focus on “values” and “communities” – behind seemingly inconspicuous phrases and images, larger conflicts are lurking.

Von Hami İnan Gümüş, 18.03.2016


„We don’t need more data to make better decisions“

Stop worrying about data, and start thinking about how you can change the world, and how it is changing all around you – advice given by Mihai Nadin, one of the United States’ leading Interactive Technology researchers, in an exclusive interview with Nimirum.

Von Christophe Fricker, 14.05.2018


“What is the role of humans?” – Tech people and people people talking translation at TEF2016

Technological change is turning the world of translation upside down. Client expectations are changing, which leads to the emergence of new job profiles and tasks. What is in store for translation in a multilingual, communication-oriented world? Visions and tools were discussed at the EU Commission’s Translating Europe Forum 2016. A comment by Nimirum Managing Partner, Dr Christophe Fricker.

Von Christophe Fricker, 04.11.2016


Kolumne: Was Charlie mir bedeutet // Ein Bekennerbrief von Nimirum-Inhaber Dr. Christophe Fricker

Attentate und Demonstrationen bewegen die Debatte um Interkulturalität und Integration.

Von Christophe Fricker, 14.01.2015

Keinen Beitrag mehr verpassen

In unseren regelmäßig erscheinenden Formaten präsentieren wir regelmäßig die spannendsten Inhalte und Insights von 20blue.


Ihr direkter Kontakt zum 20blue-Team

Sie haben eine Frage oder möchten mit uns zusammenarbeiten? Dann kontaktieren Sie uns! Wir sind von 09:00 bis 17:00 Uhr für Sie erreichbar. Schriftliche Anfragen beantworten wir binnen 24 Stunden, oft auch schneller.

Ihr Kontakt zu uns