“We’ve got to be careful. Some of them can be, well, a little rude, ” said Natthita Opaspipat, a member of a team of Thai speakers employed by the company to modify terms so they can’t be so easily misinterpreted, to US newspaper the Wall Street Journal.
According to the paper, the team spent almost four years before the company’s Bangkok launch last year by scrutinizing terms to see what they would sound like in Thai before transliterating them into the Thai alphabet.
In some cases smaller adjustment to the name had to be made to avoid embarrassment.
For example, the Redalen bed frame, to Scandinavian ears suitably named after a small Norwegian town, comes just a little too close to the Thai word for petting or even oral sex.
The pot plant Jättebra, meaning really good in Swedish, is also problematic, reports the paper, as it sounds like crude Thai slang for sex.
However, according to the report, the Thai team makes every effort to keep the names as close to the Swedish words as possible.
“The Swedish… words are important because they bring a unique character to the brand,” Natthita Opaspipat told the Wall Street Journal.