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Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"  
User currently onlineDesertFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 515 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 3 months 13 hours ago) and read 14779 times:

In a tweet advertising their new flights to Nairobi Korean Air called Kenyans "indigenous people full of primitive energy." They have since tweeted an apology, but some people are quite upset. Did anyone else see this story? Perhaps something was lost in translation?

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/ko...an-airlines-failure-launch-0022250

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineYOWza From Nepal, joined Jul 2005, 4887 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 12 hours ago) and read 14551 times:

Mountain out of a molehill. They've apologized and are looking into it. Chances are excellent it was a poor translation and nothing more.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineaeroblogger From India, joined Dec 2011, 1363 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 12 hours ago) and read 14442 times:

Quoting YOWza (Reply 1):
Mountain out of a molehill. They've apologized and are looking into it. Chances are excellent it was a poor translation and nothing more.

   Demanding an apology from the Korean Embassy is way too far...

That said, this truly is hilarious...



Airports 2012: IXE HYD DEL BLR BOM CCU KNU KTM BKK SIN ICN LAX BUR SFO PHX IAH ORD EWR PHL PVD BOS FRA MUC IST
User currently offlineSSPhoenix From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2010, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 14080 times:

I am Kenyan, and I don't really find this offensive given the CONTEXT in which it was meant .... sometimes misunderstandings happen -

Yes .... there is a fire-storm on Twitter, even some of my countrymen+women are outraged, but hopefully they put this issue aside and see the bigger picture.

Anyway, back to aviation - I am very very glad that KE are providing a direct link to NBO ... This region deserves a link to the Far East apart from the service that KQ offers. I'm hoping the many businesses and NGOs in the region take advantage of this service to connect to Japan.

[Edited 2012-06-18 11:55:01]


There's Method in the Madness ...
User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8565 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 13978 times:
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While I am certain that no offense was intended, it should have been obvious to any halfway competent PR person that 'primitive' is a loaded adjective. International airlines operate in an environment where they need to be aware of the possibilities of causing unintentional offense and airlines need to be very wary of jumping on the social media bandwagon because gaffes such as this one will be spread far and fast.

If Joe Bloggs is too cheap to use competent translators and he ends up making a goof in a sensitive market that is sad but understandable. In a sophisticated business like the airline industry, when an airline undermines a brand new route with a gaffe that any newly qualified public relations graduate should have picked up that is still funny, but a lot less excusable.

How much money is sunk into launching a new route? It seems incredible that KE allowed some random staffer to undermine that by tweeting such a naive and innocent comment. ( They are not the only ones, NZ made some horrendous social media gaffes a few months ago with a ghastly sleazy stereotype puppet character which they finally killed off, but not before offending a lot of people).

The world has changed a lot in the decades since Braniff advertising staff, mistakenly believing that they were competent in Spanish, released ads inviting First Class passengers to fly naked ( they thought they were telling them that they would be flying in leather seats). Back then it was funny/naive these days errors such as this are more funny/embarassing and with the way social media work they are potentially far more damaging.



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5465 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 months 10 hours ago) and read 13758 times:

You would think an intercontinental airline, of all businesses, would know that it had to clear all translations with a native speaker of the language being translated into. Really a "primitive" gaffe.

User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21529 posts, RR: 59
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 10 hours ago) and read 13642 times:

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 5):
You would think an intercontinental airline, of all businesses, would know that it had to clear all translations with a native speaker of the language being translated into. Really a "primitive" gaffe.

You would think so, but years of living in the USA has convinced me that this is just not SOP in Asia. Translations are just piss poor in so many cases, be it product literature, manuals, sales pitches, SPAM, doesn't matter. There's this idea of "good enough" that is almost insulting.

Why can't Sony or LG or Asus hire a native Brit and a native US english speaker to read their stuff and correct it? Is $50k a year too much to pay for a few english lit majors to proof their text? Apparently, it is...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineKaiarahi From Canada, joined Jul 2009, 2998 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 9 hours ago) and read 13460 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 4):
it should have been obvious to any halfway competent PR person that 'primitive' is a loaded adjective

Provided they had an idiomatic command of English and it's nuances. Replacing "primitive" by "primal" conveys the message I suspect they intended.



Empty vessels make the most noise.
User currently offlinespeedbird128 From Pitcairn Islands, joined Oct 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 months 8 hours ago) and read 13176 times:

Quoting Kaiarahi (Reply 7):
"primal"

Being born and raised for 95% of my life in various parts of africa, I can probably assure you that "primal" would likely elicit the same response.

I see often stuff in around here that is pathetically translated into english by some reasonably high end companies. Why they think that a proper translation is too expensive or unnecessary is beyond me. Rather insulting to another language by providing bad translations.



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User currently offlineSenchingo From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 months 8 hours ago) and read 13046 times:

Typical asian mistake (and you could interprete this term as offensive)...

Asians tend to have straight asian management setups and try to do their best on websites, trailers, adds etc without thinking about native speakers checking the stuff first.

Working for an asian airline i think that this most likely was a pure translation/wording "mistake" and not intended to be offensive, as KE offers pretty neat products in all their destinations and classes.

Still i can't understand why their pride is still too high to just let one guy, who is able to speak and understand real english, look over their stuff before posting it on public websites

[Edited 2012-06-18 15:23:22]

User currently offlinemotorhussy From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 3203 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 8 hours ago) and read 13032 times:

Quoting speedbird128 (Reply 8):
Being born and raised for 95% of my life in various parts of Africa, I can probably assure you that "primal" would likely elicit the same response.

Really?! Well some people need to consult their dictionaries more often...

Quote:

adjective
1.
first; original; primeval: primal eras before the appearance of life on earth.
2.
of first importance; fundamental: the primal resources of a nation.

...and stop choosing to assume people are trying to insult them. We in the Pacific are often described as having primal rhythms in our music; we do - they strike to the core of human being



come visit the south pacific
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10024 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months ago) and read 9940 times:
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Quoting motorhussy (Reply 10):
...and stop choosing to assume people are trying to insult them. We in the Pacific are often described as having primal rhythms in our music; we do - they strike to the core of human being

While I completely agree that people choose to be insulted WAY too often, it's probably not going to stop anytime soon, and having a marketing department that assures that these things don't happen is (I would think) a necessity for global companies.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineYVRFlyer From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9398 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 6):
Why can't Sony or LG or Asus hire a native Brit and a native US english speaker to read their stuff and correct it? Is $50k a year too much to pay for a few english lit majors to proof their text? Apparently, it is...

This is quite a teachable moment... the First Commandment of International Marketing: Thou shalt not use Google Translate.



YVRFlyer
User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2868 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8691 times:

Quoting aeroblogger (Reply 2):
Demanding an apology from the Korean Embassy is way too far...

Yeah, Get used to it.

This is the "PC" world, we now have to live in.  



Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlinewarren747sp From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1163 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8322 times:

Where are they refueling at? I dont think its a non stop from Seoul?


747SP
User currently offlineSSPhoenix From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2010, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8171 times:

Quoting warren747sp (Reply 14):
Where are they refueling at? I dont think its a non stop from Seoul?

I think it is a direct flight using a A332.

Hopefully the Kenyan public will come to pass over the faux pas and appreciate KE expanding into E.Africa.



There's Method in the Madness ...
User currently onlineDesertFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 515 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7945 times:

Perhaps it's all a scheme to get more press about the new NBO service. No publicity is bad publicity, right? 

User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7850 times:

Quoting SSPhoenix (Reply 15):
I think it is a direct flight using a A332.

Yes its non stop 12hr 20mins .

Quoting YOWza (Reply 1):
Mountain out of a molehill. They've apologized and are looking into it. Chances are excellent it was a poor translation and nothing more.

Totally agree .


User currently offlineRWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3253 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7715 times:

Quoting DesertFlyer (Thread starter):
Perhaps something was lost in translation?

Didn't something similar happen to AA when they started flying to Australia, "The Americans are coming" something like that. Maybe someone remembers, it was quite a faux pas.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 17):

Yes its non stop 12hr 20mins

Wow, thats good for a 330, any hot spots they need to avoid enroute? I am wondering if KE via SEL is that much further than going through Europe or the Middle East from the West Coast of the US? I assume cargo is going to be big for NBO?



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User currently offlineSSPhoenix From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2010, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6717 times:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 17):
Yes its non stop 12hr 20mins .

Thank you!  
Quoting RWA380 (Reply 18):
Wow, thats good for a 330, any hot spots they need to avoid enroute? I am wondering if KE via SEL is that much further than going through Europe or the Middle East from the West Coast of the US? I assume cargo is going to be big for NBO?

Well, Nairobi is a hot and high .... I'm wondering if they take hit on payload for the mission during Winter (from Nov - Feb, Nairobi can steadily touch 28 - 35 deg C)

Cargo has become a much bigger operation in NBO - there was even service going into Eldoret Airport to bypass the congestion at clearing customs in NBO - I'm hoping KE might just bump this route up to a 772 if performs well - not a fan of Skyteam, but definitely a fan of more routes being opened up in the region.



There's Method in the Madness ...
User currently offlineNavigator From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 1207 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5877 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 6):
Why can't Sony or LG or Asus hire a native Brit and a native US english speaker to read their stuff and correct it? Is $50k a year too much to pay for a few english lit majors to proof their text? Apparently, it is...


I suppose that is because they also translate their instructions to Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish, German, Dutch, Spanish etc so I think they are not into getting it exactly perfect, it would simply cost too much. Noone wants to pay the higher price for that.



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User currently offlineHOONS90 From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 3015 posts, RR: 52
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5473 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

If you want a good example of poor translation, check out this airline's site: http://en.jejuair.net/

"After checking information sign board, claim baggage at righteous number trail."

[Edited 2012-06-19 07:13:53]


The biggest mistake made by most human beings: Listening to only half, understanding just a quarter and telling double.
User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5465 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5344 times:

Quoting SSPhoenix (Reply 19):
Well, Nairobi is a hot and high .... I'm wondering if they take hit on payload for the mission during Winter (from Nov - Feb, Nairobi can steadily touch 28 - 35 deg C)

That's eastbound, and the HGW A332 they're flying is a beast.    It should be no problem.


User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1447 posts, RR: 11
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3587 times:

My parents are First generation Kenyan thus I am Kenyan by blood and I think this is an over-reaction. They apologized- Let it go and like a few of you mentioned, the new service by KE can only be good for Kenyans, especially with VS packing their bags in September. Personally, it's another option for me to get to NBO from SFO via ICN and having flown KE before, they're a great airline. Too bad they're in the wrong Alliance though, would be great for me if they were Star Alliance.

On the Asian translate part, I worked in Asia for a few years as an Expat and I've seen this first hand all over Asia and have actually gotten used to it. They don't mean bad really, it's just lack of decent translators and for such a big airline, shouldn't be happening really but it is what it is.

An A332 has got to take a penalty on the NBO-ICN flight due to NBO's altitude and temperatures during the Summer, a 772 might do better.

Anyone know the frequency?



If you're going through hell, keep going
User currently offlinedoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3407 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3333 times:

Quoting Norcal773 (Reply 23):
Personally, it's another option for me to get to NBO from SFO via ICN

It will add about 2300 miles to your journey. Not sure how the connections are vs. Europe.



When in doubt, one B pump off
25 SSPhoenix : ah .... forgot about the winds .... so will this make the longest range flight from NBO? I would just like to add, as a teen - used to go spotting at
26 Norcal773 : I don't visit often for that to make a big difference to me and the fact that KE is a member of SkyTeam probably means I'll never fly them there anyw
27 SSPhoenix : OMG .... You just shot me into some awesome childhood memories of observing the aircraft from that deck ... and the beauty of Nairobi is that it is n
28 Norcal773 : I believe they closed it down a while back. I asked about it last time I was there but unfortunately it's gone. AF 747 was my favorite bird back in t
29 Post contains links shanxz : They should totally hire an expert translator to go through all of their collateral before it's put out. KE is a global airline of repute, and this i
30 Post contains links and images neutronstar73 : Because we all know, India is WAY ABOVE asking for ridiculous apologies from government officials for "hilarious" things... http://www.expressindia.c
31 RickNRoll : I'd rather have primitive energy than this western laziness which is creating nations of obese couch potatoes. We have lost something important in our
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