In Localization, the language, colours, numbers, metaphors, pictures, and slogans on the product packaging, websites and other marketing collaterals have to be adapted and NOT just translated. Numbers carry different meanings depending on which country one wants to localize their products in.
Our previous article “COLOURS – THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LOCALIZATION” has interesting facts about colours and useful marketing ideas during localization. Read this article now, if you haven’t already. This article too aims to educate our readers with some fun facts about the superstitious numbers in different countries.
In China, the pronunciation of the word for the number four is similar to that of the Chinese word for death. Many buildings in China skip a fourth floor, just as U.S. builders sometimes omit floor 13.
Just as the number four has a bad-luck sound alike in Chinese, 9 is feared in Japan because it sounds similar to the Japanese word for torture or suffering.
Friday the 13th is the most believed superstition all around the world. There are many reasons people think this number is unlucky. The first reason is that there were 13 people at the last supper. The tradition has held that the 13th one to take their seat was either Judas or Jesus himself. Such superstitions have made Friday the 13th tough for businesses.
Some Italians are superstitious about Friday the 17th because rearranging the Roman numeral XVII can create the word “VIXI” – translated from Latin to mean “my life is over.”
The number 39 gets a bad rap in Afghanistan. An NPR report explains: “Many Afghans say that the number 39 translates into morda – gow, which literally means ‘dead cow’ but is also a well – known slang term for a procurer of prostitutes — a pimp.” So when Afghans see a car with number 39 on the license plate, they head the other way.
In the Bible’s apocalyptic Book of Revelation, John the Apostle refers to 666 as “the number of the beast.” This “beast” is often interpreted as being the Antichrist—and thus the number is a sign of the devil. There are many brands which had to change their prices, colours, and names only match up with norms in other countries. Big campaigns of known brands have failed because of using inappropriate numbers in some countries. However, the most safe numbers are five and seven to use in marketing.