Saturday, May 30, 2009


Alan forwarded me a link to a British apparel company called Superdry.

We are certainly not experts on the subject of brandnaming, but "Superdry" automatically equates to anti-perspirant or deodorant in the world of marketing (Back us up on this, Steve!).

The phrase (しなさい) is very strange in Japanese, especially with しなさい in parentheses.

It seems like someone was told to translate “Superdry” into Japanese, but the translator could not decide whether it is supposed to be an adjective meaning “extremely dry” or a sentence meaning “dry extremely well” so they just fudged it and left the imperative form しなさい [shinasai] in parentheses, indicating their uncertainty.

It is just so random that this uncertain translation was immortalized in the logo without any subsequent editing.


  1. Well, I think I get the message okay. They sell outdoor gear that is tough and keeps you dry, the photo sells that notion.

    I would have just written SuperDry in katakana for the Japanese part and had done with it. It's a foreign product after all.

  2. I actually don't think selling outdoor gear that is tough and keeps you dry has anything to do with their clothing label, to be honest. I have debated buying some of their clothing and it's quite thin/flimsy (although quite nice (; ) for a high price. I believe it is just an "edgy" name the company picked.

  3. @tudza

    Yes, writing it as スーパードライ in katakana would be most natural, but a Japanese person seeing this as a logo would most likely think of Asahi's Super "Dry" beer. See:

    I don't know if the person that came up with the Japanese logo even thought that far, but perhaps there were trademark concerns.


  4. Here's another funny one from the same company:

    The t-shirt says 会員証な. 会員証 means "membership certificate". な is a suffix used with a certain class of adjectives, but "membership certificate" is not an adjective?!

    Anyway I got this one from the following blogpost by a japanese guy about this brand:

  5. The designs have been very popular here in the UK. And as Alan says, the first thing I thought of when I saw the brand was the Jap beer thing. Brands like Sapporo and Asahi.

    In fact its been so popular here that a cut price high street retailer recently settled out of court after Superdry brought an action against them for copyright infringement over a leather jacket (one of the footballer David Beckham's favourites apparently).


  6. It stinks of machine translation to me. Completely stripped of all context. I have trouble believing that a native Japanese translator was responsible for this one.

    Their shops are all over Sydney as well; I've been laughing at them for months, as well as those who buy their stupid shirts.

  7. It would have been acceptable if they got 極乾 or something... but しなさい, thats friggin hilarious!!

  8. Forget the crude translation; to me SuperDry sounds like a bargain diaper brand.

  9. Oh gosh, been thinking for ages this was a Japanese company due to the lettering I've seen on their products. Have never bought any of their stuff but what an eye-opener!

  10. Superdry has exploded in popularity in the UK and they have several large stores in london. They are in danger of becoming too popular, meaning that more bad translations will be seen on a regular basis!

  11. The majority of people in Europe haven't a clue what these characters mean anyway, it's simply another case of gratuitous Japanese. However it is still a source of irritation and amusement to me. Not least the fad of having Japanese city names written on Jumpers. Especially Osaka. Which always makesme want to buy one and then iron on a picture of Azumanga Daioh's Osaka...

  12. I'm a Japanese living in the UK. I had a big shock when I saw one of their lettering over here. I could feel like "Oh my god I have to go home and dry my clothes right now!!"

    Some of the letterings are even not Japanese, looked like something between Chinese and Japanese Katakana.

    Although I can't blame about it as many Japanese products are also carrying starange English all the time, I know.

    I would recommend these for a natural translation:
    超乾燥 or 極乾 or めっちゃ乾かして・・・ and such.

    Anything Japanese or Chinese character could be cool here and no one can really read them, so it can't be helped I think.

    Superdry should have used Japanese translater, though ;P There are lots of them in London.

  13. I always thought Superdry was intended to be covered in bad translations, as a kind of 'kitsch' thing.

    But maybe they were just lazily trying to translate :S