Siri for the Apple iPhone 4S – Talking out of a Japanese butt?

The launch of Siri, the “Intelligent Personal Assistant” for the iPhone 4S, has been greeted with all the hype you’d expect from Apple’s latest development. What is more surprising is the faux pas that Apple has managed to commit in naming this new app.

“Siri” sounds similar to the Japanese word for buttocks (“shiri”), perhaps this helps to explain some of the ‘attitude’ that comes from it…

What’s more, it has come to our attention that Siri also means “penis” in Georgian! While this may not be one of the countries Apple intends to target with this new app, it’s quite an oversight to make.

What is incredible is that a multi-national corporation like Apple, established in over 90 countries worldwide, and that spends billions of dollars in product development every year, chose to cut corners on something so important as international branding. It’s a shame no-one offers a service to check brand names for their suitability in an international market…oh, wait a minute….

Siri is currently available in 14 languages, including Japanese – let’s hope they didn’t use the same provider for the app localisation as they did for the brand name!

On a serious note, this episode just goes to show that even the most experienced corporates don’t always get it right. Learn from Apple’s embarassing lesson and research your brand names before you launch your company or product internationally – Apple have built a reputation that allows them to call their products names that may sound silly at first, but in the long run they tend to get away with it (remember the comparisons that were made between the iPad and feminine hygiene products?). Unfortunately, most companies are not so lucky.

If you need help with your international online product launch, or iPhone app, please contact us: sales[at]web-translations[dot]co[dot]uk, T: +44 (0) 113 8150460.

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