The other day we were translating stimulus materials for use in focus group interviews to be conducted in Japan, for an Australian wine maker, and had to advise that some of their copy would not work.
Several of the test slogans relied on an association in the mind of your typical English speaker between the colour yellow and the substance gold. But no such relationship occurs to a Japanese person.
You don’t want to mess around with gold and Asian people. Ten years ago a group of Chinese investors sued Mirvac for selling apartments off the plan that were meant to have “gold” windows, and they turned out – in the eyes of the Chinese – to be brown. Mirvac was defended by that champion of the downtrodden property developer: Julian Burnside, so successfully that I can’t even find any mention of the outcome online. But here is a contemporary article from Crikey.