The Hilarious Translation Mistake KFC China Made With Its Slogan

If you've ever used online translation services, you know that they aren't always totally accurate. In some cases, the results can be confusing. In the best-case scenarios, an error gives us a good laugh.

Language Connections shared a series of amusing mishaps with translation services. One sign in China was meant to keep visitors off the grass, but the English translation referred to the grass "dreaming." A door sign at a Russian hotel said: "Please do not worry" instead of "please do not disturb." Another interesting (and sometimes perplexing) variation on translation mistakes involves idioms and well-known slogans. For example, one popular German saying translated to English is "I only understand train station," but the original phrase is intended to mean something similar to "it's all Greek to me" (via Upworthy).

When these phrases get translated literally, meaning is frequently lost or dramatically altered. In the case of restaurants using their slogans for overseas business, the same marketing plan doesn't always work everywhere.

Wait, what is KFC China serving?

We know and love KFC for its crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fluffy biscuits. You hear the phrase "it's finger-lickin' good," and you immediately think of the food chain, and for a good reason. Before it pressed pause in 2020 on using the famous slogan in ad campaigns, it had been in use for an impressive 64 years, according to the chain.

However, this isn't the first time KFC's slogan made people scratch their heads. According to Business Insider, KFC made a bit of a translation boo-boo when it first opened in China in the 1980s. "Finger-lickin' good" was somehow translated to "eat your fingers off." Far from appetizing, right?

Fortunately for this fried chicken chain, the mistake didn't scare off too many customers. By 2011, KFC made up about 40% of the fast food industry in China, per the Harvard Business Review