User avatar
DesertFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 358
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:05 pm

Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:13 pm

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
 
User avatar
yowza
Posts: 4280
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:01 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:41 pm

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
 
aeroblogger
Posts: 1380
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:53 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:53 pm

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
 
SSPhoenix
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:53 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:47 pm

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 ...
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:58 pm

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.
 
User avatar
seabosdca
Posts: 4990
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:33 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:38 pm

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.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13772
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:51 pm

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.
 
Kaiarahi
Posts: 1807
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:55 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:29 pm

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.
 
speedbird128
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:30 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:49 pm

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.
A306, A313, A319, A320, A321, A332, A343, A345, A346 A388, AC90, B06, B722, B732, B733, B735, B738, B744, B762, B772, B7
 
Senchingo
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:59 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:12 pm

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]
 
Motorhussy
Posts: 3243
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 7:49 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:15 pm

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
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 11850
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:54 am

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.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
YVRFlyer
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:19 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:09 am

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
 
TheCommodore
Posts: 3458
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2007 2:14 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:31 am

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.  
“At first, they'll only dislike what you say, but the more correct you start sounding the more they'll dislike you.”
 
warren747sp
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:51 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:13 am

Where are they refueling at? I dont think its a non stop from Seoul?
747SP
 
SSPhoenix
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:53 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:35 am

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 avatar
DesertFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 358
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:05 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:03 am

Perhaps it's all a scheme to get more press about the new NBO service. No publicity is bad publicity, right? 
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 21105
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:12 am

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 avatar
RWA380
Posts: 4464
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:51 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:31 am

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?
Next Flights: PDX-HNL-OGG-LIH-PDX On AS, WP & HA
 
SSPhoenix
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:53 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:20 pm

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 avatar
Navigator
Posts: 866
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2001 2:31 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:34 pm

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.
747-400/747-200/L1011/DC-10/DC-9/DC-8/MD-80/MD90/A340/A330/A300/A310/A321/A320/A319/767/757/737/727/HS-121/CV990/CV440/S
 
hoons90
Posts: 3134
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2001 10:15 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:11 pm

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 avatar
seabosdca
Posts: 4990
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:33 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:20 pm

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.
 
Norcal773
Posts: 1052
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:19 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:08 pm

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
 
doug_or
Posts: 3125
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 9:55 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:51 pm

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
 
SSPhoenix
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:53 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:23 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 22):
That's eastbound, and the HGW A332 they're flying is a beast. It should be no problem.

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 NBO, and sooooo wished (don't flame me ... just pure fantasy) that at least Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines or Air Malaysia serves us in NBO.
There's Method in the Madness ...
 
Norcal773
Posts: 1052
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:19 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Quoting doug_Or (Reply 24):
It will add about 2300 miles to your journey. Not sure how the connections are vs. Europe.

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 anyways.

Quoting SSPhoenix (Reply 25):
I would just like to add, as a teen - used to go spotting at NBO, and sooooo wished (don't flame me ... just pure fantasy) that at least Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines or Air Malaysia serves us in NBO.

The 'Viewing Bay' they had an NBO back in the day was awesome!
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
SSPhoenix
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:53 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:46 pm

Quoting Norcal773 (Reply 26):
The 'Viewing Bay' they had an NBO back in the day was awesome!

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 not that busy, so relatively, a major departure, e.g. my favorite, a BA 747 - looked like something substantial - and nothing ... nothing will beat the backdrop of that beautiful landscape with the Ngong Hills in the background.

Wonder if they still have that open?
There's Method in the Madness ...
 
Norcal773
Posts: 1052
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:19 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:16 am

Quoting SSPhoenix (Reply 27):
Wonder if they still have that open?

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 the days, dunno how I never saw all that dirt on them that I see today..lol
If you're going through hell, keep going
 
shanxz
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:17 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:50 am

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 4):
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.

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 is certainly not how they want to be perceived.

While there's been a lot of noise on Twitter on the topic, most responses from Kenyans are amusing, rather than angry. Here's a good summary - http://bit.ly/PrimitiveEnergy
Airlines are in the service business, not transport. Brand matters...
 
neutronstar73
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:57 pm

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:29 am

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

That said, this truly is hilarious...

Because we all know, India is WAY ABOVE asking for ridiculous apologies from government officials for "hilarious" things...

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-n...ment-MPs-demand-US-apology/949635/

 
 
RickNRoll
Posts: 1217
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:30 am

RE: Backlash After KE Calls Kenyans "Primitive"

Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:46 am

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 drive for ease and lesuire.