Would you let this bank manage your relationships?

Once again, an Israeli bank demonstrates that it's not a good idea to scrimp and save when having its huge expensive ads translated from Hebrew to English.

Today's (December 6th, 2009) J. Post carries, on page 5, a huge, yellow ad for Bank Hapoalim, covering nearly the entire page. You can see a snippet of it on the bank's Hebrew website. See it? Green grass, yellow sky, and a text about solar energy and loans for solar systems.
Great idea.
Forget the trivial fact that the English slogan uses superfluous capital letters:
Let the Sun Work for You. Forget other inaccuracies. I can live with those.
But then, after you've presumably been persuaded that this is a good reason to apply for credit or take out a loan, you read the following:

For further information, call your relationship managers, branches, or dial *whatever.

Relationship managers?

I couldn't figure out what they meant. Maybe this is a new term for "private banker", I mused, and clicked on the link provided.
The Hebrew page with the additional information said nothing about relationship managers; it says
לפרטים נוספים יש לפנות לסניפים, למרכזי עסקים או למוקד הייעודי בטלפון כך-וכך
i.e., for further details contact the branches, the business centers or the call center.
So I proceeded to the bank's unimpressive English language site, where the mystery was solved. The hapless translator must have gone to that page, where he/she came upon the following:
"Through our Customer Relationship Managers, our private banking clients benefit from yadda yadda yadda"

I'm quite sure the translator copied the phrase verbatim. Someone must have goofed at the proofreading stage, if there was one, which I doubt.

Once again, I wonder: why would an institution like a bank invest big shekels in an ad, only to make a fool of itself in the English version thereof?


N K said...

One doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry....to scream or to tear one's hair out. What an embarrassment. I cringe at the thought of a tourist seeing that - and, unfortunately, similar. Have they no shame?!

Nina Rimon Davis said...

Many years ago, I worked for Bank HaPoalim's advertising and PR department, the section that dealt with advertising material in all languages other than Hebrew. Every ad was meticulously edited and proofread by me and my boss. If a single letter or punctuation mark was out of place, we were appalled and mortified. Nowadays, it seems that the bank just doesn't care.

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