McDonald's Learns It Shouldn't Trust Free Web Translators When It Comes To Its Billboards

So far as the needs of an average person who say, needs an approximate translation of a YouTube video summary that’s in another language, turning to the free Internet tools is just fine and dandy. But McDonald’s is learning the hard way that it maybe should’ve coughed up the dough to hire a real professional after biffing two billboards aimed at the Hmong population in St. Paul, Minn.

McD’s says it was just trying to do something special for its Hmong customers when it attempted to translate the slogan: “Coffee gets you up, breakfast gets you going.”

That effort isn’t going over well with members of the Hmong community who say it wasn’t written the way anyone actually speaks in the their language — apparently the billboards are missing spaces between words and the whole thing is just a garbled mishmash of nonsense that doesn’t mean a darn thing, reports CBS Minnesota.

The chain is apologizing now and stressing that it didn’t mean to offend anyone and will work on correcting the billboards before they go up again next week. Here’s where the professional translator would come in handy, McD’s. Or just ask someone who actually speaks the language, perhaps.

McDonald’s released this statement:

“We strive to reach our guests in relevant ways including the use of in-language messaging. While it was our intention to create a special message for our Hmong population in Minnesota, we now realize that an error was made in the translation of ‘Coffee Gets You Up, Breakfast Gets You Going.’ It was not our intention to offend anyone and we apologize for the error. We are working with our local advertising agency to correct these billboards and will re-post next week.”

McD’s Apologizes Over Hmong Billboards [CBS Minnesota]