Nelson welcomes/threatens Italian guests with RWC ‘howler’

After ‘pinkfistgate’ and ‘Adidebacle’, the nation is on high alert for more RWC-related marketing clangers. And while nowhere near the same degree, we felt duty bound to tell you about one that’s just been outed in Nelson. 

Nelson is hosting the Italian team, as well as the Russians and Americans, and the city council put up a load of posters around town featuring the phrase “In Bocca il lupo”. The English translation was meant to be good luck, or in English parlance “break a leg”. But they used “In Bocca al lupo” instead, which was the equivalent of using the phrase “break an arm” instead of a leg. So, as the Nelson Mail points out, this poster achieved the opposite of its intention.

According to a Nelson City Council operator, there have been plenty of variations on what the actual mistranslation was, as evidenced by the email we received from someone who’s just been down in Nelson that features a much more entertaining ‘howler’.

The Italian banner has Italian words on it that apparently were meant to say welcome to our house. Instead they say something like the wolf will eat your head.

Everyone is hugely embarrassed in Nelson and irate Italian visitors keep going into stores displaying the banner and complaining. Pays to double check before printing, eh?

No doubt there will be a few anxious translations taking place around the country.



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