My business creativity training website has a three letter name - I'm always half expecting offers to buy it up, as short names are rare on the interweb. It's a simple enough name, the initials of the company, Creativity Unleashed Limited, but for many years it resulted in my carrying a French disclaimer on the site. The reason was a bizarre email I received way back in 1997. It claimed to be the result of an automatic translation, though I've never been sure if this was the case, or if it was a wind-up. Either way, for your delectation, this is the email I received:
Please allow the transfer, I use a mechanical software because I very English of cannot. On the 14éme, in the porque one, I slap a search with the form returned www.cul.co.uk.
Then to say to you, cul is a bad French word? It average rest-on the flesh of the rectum of anybody. Since this, cannot think you the need to want the nation French with the arrangement of creative. Thus I give to help in all fraternity, to think please for the change.
Familiar the most pleasant
I expressed my concern (also using an automatic translator), pointed out it was the initials of the company and that I used an umlaut on the logo, which hopefully meant it wouldn't be misunderstood - and got another amusing reply:
The considerable thanks of you answer. You software for the language is improved much that my kind of shareware - where is to be found.
It is now possible to include/understand the reason of the bad word. Internet is problematic with much pornographique available if the button supported on danger pressed. I do not require to see the French bottom of erotic principle of Alta-Vista that www.cul.co.uk accidental gives. Families with the small particular person in danger.
Since the text of slit into type is vanilla, umlauf nonvisible. Is very the easy error in time forwards with the European of the trade unions.
Better to speak friends than the argument of the football which recent English have.
So for a long time I had a Frence apology on the site, but in the end decided it really wasn't a huge problem that the French nation would read cul.co.uk as arse.co.uk - after all, many of us in the UK live in a cul-de-sac - which must sound pretty worrying in French too...