Monthly Archives: October 2014

Have you read Moby Duck?



Scarlet faces all round for Starbucks, the American coffee chain named after the mate in Moby Dick.   Its new coffee shop (why don’t they call them cafes any more?) in Aberystwyth attempted to woo the locals, in what is a very Welsh part of Wales, by communicating solely in Welsh. This was a deliberate strategy, with menus, blackboards and wall signs all being in Welsh rather than English.

Unfortunately, this backfired. Their translations, while not of the same order of dimness as some that we’ve featured on this blog in recent weeks, were sufficiently incorrect as to cause not just merriment amongst the locals but also reached the attention of the national press, in both Wales and the UK

Lots of different media outlets were only too pleased to draw attention to such ‘translations’ as “light of body and taste our coffee to most easy to drink” and “nourishing the human spirit… one person, one cup and.”

While there may be no such thing as bad publicity (although that’s manifestly not true as politicians caught saying the wrong thing on mic are only too aware), we suspect that in this instance quite a few people in the Aberystwyth area will have ventured into their new Starbucks to see if they can spot any more howlers. Perhaps it was all part of a grand marketing strategy after all….?

Anthony Madill, Global Connects