Will they ever learn? Yes, the concept of Kiss-and-Ride is coming to Ireland’s public transport system. Romance may not be dead, but localization considerations are certainly on life support in this country.

Now, anybody who has read Irish author Joseph O’Connor’s badly-aging stories about the Irish soccer fans behaviour in the USA during the World Cup in 1994 know that “ride” means something different in Ireland. No prizes for guessing what will happen the term “Kiss-and-Ride” here.

(Thanks to Chris Fitzsimons for this image from a train station in Braga, Northern Portugal)

However, other countries have problems with the term too. Take Germany:

When Deutsche Bahn introduced a “Kiss-and-Ride” service – allowing free 10 minutes’ parking at stations – residents in Bavaria complained at what they thought was the introduction of a drive-through red-light district.

or Taiwan:

The English words ‘kiss and ride’ are a mystery to local people,” said Danny Bloom, a U.S.-born English teacher in the Chiayi, which is on the train’s route. “It implies that this is a place to kiss and then ride somewhere, but public kissing at train stations in Taiwan is a rarity.

I am sure Robert McCrum will be delighted at this further evidence of ’Globish‘.

On a more positive note, at least the Kiss-and-Ride saga is more current than some of the jaded (and totally wrong) examples of localization and cultural faux pas we’re subjected to. Chevy Nova, Loka, and Colgate “lost in translation” brigade take note.

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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