I think this is a great idea for people for people wanting to respect other's sensitivity.
However, I also think that it is even more important for people to respect other languages/cultures by not attributing their own independent negative connotations.
For example when it comes to naming a project, a Swede shouldn't get offended by an English-speaker using "fan" (Swedish swear for devil), and an English speaker shouldn't get offended by a Swede using "slut" (Swedish root for stop/end).
Maybe I'm wrong, but this is a neat service nonetheless.
I'm sure it happens, but I don't usually hear names with unfortunate meanings discussed in terms of offence or respect, but much more practical concerns: inability to get the culture to take the name seriously, inability to register a business, that sort of thing.
I'm not going to get strident at a Swedish company trying to launch a product called "slut", but at the same time I'm going to have trouble taking it seriously, and I'm probably not going to recommend it to anyone.
The name is going to be the first thing many people see, well before finding out the name has roots in another language or culture.
We can talk about how people should act, but the simple fact is a Swedish developer releasing SkrappostSlut or a Chinese developer releasing NiggaApp are probably not going to get a lot of traction in English markets and I’d expect similar issues the other direction. If those markets are important to your business, it’s probably wise to at least be aware of these sorts of issues.
A real-world example would be the Japanese university that changed the official English translation of its name to Kindai University; it's original name, using a direct transliteration, was Kinki University which apparently caused awkwardness.
This seem like a strawman. It's not about "snowflakes" getting offended. Everyone understands that words have different meanings in different languages. So if I read "you need to get fitta'" in an english gym ad I just giggle and don't get offended like "hrmph, is this gym implying that I don't get laid!". But, when I'm in the process of buying a car, that giggle might turn into a "I'll just buy another car then". Specifically thinking about Honda Fitta.
(Use the site to check what that word means in my native language)
Amazing that you're down-voted to -3 for expressing your opinion as a consumer. And it's kind of funny that people here are complaining about companies doing a thing which make perfect sense even from a purely financial perspective. Why choose a name that means something gross/weird/derogatory in the language of your consumers? Just bad for business.
I think HN has a subset of people who swarm to these sorts of threads and rage-downvote based on some sort of unusual meme (in the original sense of the word) that's spreading through their community.
But a lot of these names seem to be manufactured words that are intended to sound foreign and exotic, and thus cool.
For instance, Herman Miller has just introduced the "Motia" Gaming Desk . They don't offer an explanation for what "Motia" means, and I can't seem to Google/DDG the meaning, because search results in my location are overwhelmed by the colloquial meaning of "motia" in Hindi and Urdu. That meaning is "cataract", an unfortunate name for a gaming desk that goes out of its way to reduce eye strain by sporting a matte, anti-glare finish.
When I started learning web development I was told the possibly apocryphal story that Lego had one of the first websites, and they were of course tracking visitors, but they couldn't figure out why they didn't have any kids visiting from the U.S, as it turned out this was because at the end of every page they had the word "Slut" (the end) and American parents of course had bad language filters on their kids computers.
The corporation that just invested in a 100M global re-branding will for sure want to make sure their branding isn't obviously offensive in a certain market. It's a basic service that branding agencies offer. This could be an useful tool for those efforts.
Now, think about search. I know a guy who named his company using his last name and after 20-odd years got told by some customers that searching for it yields dick pics. He suspected a googlebomb... But no, it just happens that his name is a slang word for a penis in some Asian language.
I don’t think the problem is people getting offended. But sometimes a name can sound funny and it will be difficult for people taking it seriously. For example WebOS in Spanish sounds like “huevos” (eggs) and huevos it’s another way to say testicles at least in Mexico. I doubt too many people will get offended by that, but there will be a lot of jokes about your company or product.
I think we became immunized and stopped noticing it in this context after product being so many years on shelves. Just like you stop noticing your nose in sight.
Though such a threat from a lightbulb sounds scary :)
In 2017 the Danish company Dong changed it's name to Ørsted https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%98rsted_(company) no idea why (although article says they changed "citing that DONG was inappropriate considering they had no oil and natural gas assets under ownership any more"), but I had noticed some stuff on BoingBoing just before making fun of the name.
The same company issued a long maturity (1000-year) bond, which on the trading floor became known as the Ultra Long Dong, and broke many many trading applications that used 64 bit nanosecond timestamps.
Given that most Danes below the age of 50 are effectively bilingual they were also made fun of here in Denmark. Also "dong" in danish is ofc. onomatopoeia for the sound that a large bell or gong makes when struck, which in itself was a bit silly even without the english meaning.
I think I am coming from the perspective that incessant trolling forced them to issue an official response and that's "snap enough" for me.
You seem to be coming from the point of view (that's my assumption based on our short comments; it maybe something else) that it doesn't meet the literal dictionary meaning so it's not a snap - which I disagree with.
Apparently "G8" when pronounced in Chinese sounds like slang for "penis".  Canon had a popular line of cameras named G1/G2 etc - they skipped from G7 to G9.  HP also had servers with model names and generations that were also abbreviated as Gx, so HP ProLiant DL380p G7. They changed their naming convention to Genx when the 8th generation came up, so Gen8 instead of G8.
(Fun side story - apparently HP names their servers this way for government procurement contracts. So the contract can be written specifying a "HP DL380p server" and HP can supply whatever the latest generation is. Even if it shares nothing in common with the previous generation other than a name.)
>The iPhone 7's "This is 7" slogan has been misunderstood when translated to certain other languages. The phone's slogan in Mainland China is "7, is here;" (Chinese: 7，在此; pinyin: 7, zài cǐ), while in Hong Kong, its slogan is, "This, is iPhone 7;" (Chinese: 這，就是iPhone 7; Jyutping: ze5, zau6 si6 iPhone 7).
>In Cantonese, the local language of Hong Kong, the slogan could be mistakenly interpreted as "This is penis". "Tsat", (Chinese: 杘; Jyutping: cat6), is a common slang term for an erect penis, and "seven", (Chinese: 七; Jyutping: cat1), which varies only in tone, is often used as a euphemism.
Although I've been recommending WordSafety tool for quite a while now for 'cultural-linguistic check' when naming a startup/product, we need to consider other factors as well like current events.
Of course, it wouldn't be wise to name our product 'Corona' now(probably ever?); Let me give you another epidemic related example -
"Tata Motors, an automobile company which owns Jaguar, Land Rover were about to release their much anticipated car in 2016 called ‘Zica’ just when Zika virus epidemic struck the world; Tata motors promptly rebranded their car to Tiago before release." 
This is probably most useful for people who speak English as a second language trying to name something in English because it's de facto our current lingua franca and gets called globish for that reason.
I've given people on HN feedback a few times about how "that doesn't mean what you think it means and sounds to me like a terrible name for this project and here's why." A website checking for things like this is maybe a reasonable first step for some people, but if you aren't somewhat fluent in the culture and language of your primary target audience, a website like this is likely insufficient. You should get some "live" feedback as well if you aren't sure, preferably from someone like me who is prone to being too truthful to be good. People with better "manners" may not tell you honestly "Ha! That sounds like (offensive as all hell phrase) to me!"
How does this work with words or phrases that have two different meanings in different languages, offensive in one but a common phrase or something in another?
A friend of mine from the Philippines speaks Cebuano and Olango, two different visaya dialects, they can mostly understand eachother, but there's phrases or words in each dialect that translates to offensive things in the other dialect, apparently this is a common source of confusion between speakers of only one of the two languages with a speaker of the opposite dialect.
A somewhat funny story happened at a company I used to work.
Due to legal concerns, a product had to be renamed and the sales and marketing team spent weeks looking for a new name.
Those teams were basically entirely native English speakers in a non English speaking country. Despite having lived there for a few years, none of them had more than a basic proficiency in the local language.
Anyway, they sent a company wide email, proudly announcing the new name, and asking if anyone saw any issue with it. It happened to be a pretty embarrassing word in the local language, which everyone had on their mind, but no one dared say anything, until the big mouth in the company just sent the item in question as a picture to every one in the company.
Doesn't look like it covers 那个 (pronounced nah-gu in Mandarin). I had a black friend in college who told me about how deeply offended he was when he heard his Chinese girlfriend's parents saying this over & over...
One of my favorites: syntax (english) -> sintaxis (spanish) -> sin taxis (english)
I think most of these are occasionally amusing but not problematic. I've been living in Miami and I find that different words in different languages sharing the same spelling are as irrelevant as word meanings changing by adding only one letter. If I were to reply when someone said "Do you like my hat?" with "Hmm, I dunno, if I add an e to that it will spell 'hate'", that would be ridiculous and annoying. Similar with interpreting one language as another.
This is potentially dangerous, as it gives a false sense of security. It appears to completely ignore slang. I just plugged in "slapper" and got a green light, for instance. I notice they have a cautionary note on the site, so...?
My favourite story about this sort of thing relates to a computer game which was very popular in its home territory (the UK) but struggled when released abroad (Germany, I think?) as its name was a slang term for "rent boy". IIRC this was the game "Midwinter".
Nice service, it's would be pertty useful when it can identify this kind of issues before it's too late.
One of the most used word in Mandarin is '那个' which means 'that' and 'Um...', and it sounds like the N-word.
Another frequently used word is '会', which means both 'is able to' or 'is going to', and it sounds like 'хуй' which means penis. I heard some Russian chuckles when we say this word, though I found that funny too when I realized.
I was recently involved in an unwanted meaning issue where my app icon looked like "SB", which I learned is offensive to some Chinese speakers. Too bad it doesn't come up in wordsafety.com. Not that I'd have thought to look…
How about Numbers?
Did’nt Apple have a low sales rate of the Performa 4400 in Japan due to 4 having a bad meaning?
Four is an unlucky number in Japan because it sounds like shi (死 – death). This is why there are two readings for the number four, shi and yon. Whenever possible, people try to avoid using the deathy one.
Note that HTML is not escaped correctly. I don't think this can lead to XSS because <> is removed and the word is not echoed inside any tag attribute, but escaping &, ', and " might be something to fix regardless.
I confidently assert that not a single English speaker would think something literally wouldn't work because it was called Cantrun or Nogo. Which aren't even good examples because "nova" isn't a novel word to Spanish-speakers.
This reminds me of an incident from my teen years. I was at a party that had a bunch of German exchange students, and at one point we found them laughing around a bottle of Sierra Mist (Pepsi's Sprite-alike). Turns out "mist" doesn't sound very refreshing in German :)
Great idea! However the list is not yet complete, so not to be trusted completely. The words “Gus/Guz” and “Zadnik” have negative meanings in Bulgarian, but don’t seem to show. If you enable crowdsourced additions to the dictionary, you may complete the list fairly quickly.
I have yet to find a word that gives a long list of false-positives, though. If you get any false-positives, it's usually not more than 2 or maybe 3. If you have a couple potential brand/product names in mind, looking through those hits and using your own judgement isn't a big deal.
I'd rather it remains like this, false-positive, than having it false-negative on something bad.