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All about translation for the beauty industry

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A guide to translation and multilingual communication services for the beauty and personal care industry. Read about the required skills for working with cosmetic copy in a multicultural context.

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All about translation for the beauty industry

  1. 1. Conveying beauty through language... Quick Guide to Translation for the Beauty Industry Communiquer en beauté...
  2. 2. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY How does translation tie in with cosmetics or beauty products? The beauty industry is a global business spanning across many cultures and borders. All multinational beauty companies have started out locally and grown beyond their own markets with the help of entire armies of advertising, copywriting and marketing experts who help shape their international product offering in line with the target consumers. CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE? The above product is a dead giveaway for one of the most important differences between English and French: the former being a lot more active and all about the use of verbs and the latter giving preference to nouns. To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com Translation is part of the global effort to convince a new set of consumers to buy their products. Product labels, packs, inserts, brochures, advertisements and catalogs are all translated into a myriad of languages. Best example: we have all seen the multilanguage packaging inserts for creams, serums and other beauty products.
  3. 3. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY What are the fundamentals, the nuts and bolts of translating cosmetic copy? Is it difficult or straightforward, challenging or tedious, creative, intuitive or empirical? How can beauty professionals buying translation services distinguish between good and bad translation providers? How can they navigate between the multitude of agencies all vying for their business? Hiring professional language experts, and not “language brokers” acting as nothing more than middlemen, is the first step to securing top-notch services. QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR: Style Knowledge of Terminology and Nomenclature Experience Marketing Acumen: Putting a Spin on It Consistency To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  4. 4. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY Different Types of Translation Beauty companies generally hire translation professionals to deliver one of two types of translation: “for information” or “for print”. The specifications for these jobs will vary, but the skills required of teh translators in completing them will remain largely the same. To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  5. 5. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY Style No two translators will translate the same text in exactly the same way - irrespective of their expertise, experience or the time spent on the task. This is particularly true for good marketing copy that sells. Is style important? Style is everything when it comes to marketing luxury and beauty brands. Style is also the number one prerequisite of successfully translated cosmetic copy. There are a thousand and one ways that a cosmetic translation can come off as sounding heavy-handed, dull, and clumsy or simply out of place, off-key. It takes real skill to take what has been carefully honed in one language and render it with equal elegance and sophistication in another. Argan oil is extremely efficient in fighting the ageing process. It restores the skin’s elasticity thanks to a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A and E. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and protects the cells from free radicals. Argan oil brings powerful anti-wrinkle and highly effective firming action. It restores cutaneous elasticity thanks to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A and E with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It protects cells against free radicals. Argan oil is a powerful anti-wrinkle agent with high-performance firming action. It restores the skin’s elasticity thanks to high concentrations of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A and E. Argan oil also protects the cells from free radicals. L’huile d’argan : Puissant anti-rides au pouvoir raffermissant très efficace. Redonne à la peau son élasticité grâce à sa forte teneur en acides gras insaturés, en vitamines A et E, anti oxydant, anti-inflammatoire. L’huile d’argan protège les cellules contre les radicaux libres. To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  6. 6. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY Terminology and Nomenclature “anti-aging”? “anti-age”? “age-defying”? “age-defense”? “age-reversing”? “age-deflecting”? “pro-age”? “age-decelerating”? “...”? In addition to being familiar with standard cosmetic jargon, translators working for the beauty industry must follow the development of market trends and technological breakthroughs, which often dictate the direction of the language used by a particular company. Translating a single document involves hundres of choices and decisions that must be made. DID YOU KNOW? According to research, Baby Boomers are not fond of the “anti” everything description, preferring terms such as “pro-age”, “pro-youth”, “youth-preserving” and “youth extending”. To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  7. 7. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY Experience Experience is a strong safeguard against costly mistakes and embarrassment. A seasoned language professional is not only in full control but also deeply aware of the necessity to do research, maintain a good level of curiosity and communicate with the client. Fashion retailer Mango is a good example of a company that inadvertently put their reputation on the line with an inexperienced translator. Mango’s French website briefly published a product description labelling its jewelry as “slave style”. Needless to say, the advertisement unleased a torrent of fury among the consumers and anti-racism associations. WHAT HAPPENED? The word “esclava”, which means “bracelet” or “bangle” in Spanish, was translated on the French site into “esclave”, which means “slave” in French. Consequently, several bracelets -- and even a necklace -- were sold on the French site under the name “slave style”. On Mango’s English website, the items are referred to as “woven bracelets”. To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  8. 8. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY Marketing Acumen: Putting a Spin on It Every word we set to paper is in one way or another about marketing. In the particularly image-conscious world of cosmetics, the consumer wants to be dazzled and seduced. Buzzwords, catchphrases and slogans are all part of the translator’s bag of tricks. The grater your translator’s understanding of marketing strategies, the better your chances to turn a profit and achieve fast growth. CURIOUS FACT (your translator should know) In the US, a growing number of marketers are dropping the use of articles - words such as “the,” “a” and “an” that typically precede many nouns. They claim that “When you can drop an article, the brand takes on a more iconic feel”. Some say that omitting articles reflects marketing professionals’ compulsion for turning brands into religion or cults. Others say that it’s about making the product more personal. Whatever the case, “the” and “a” are surreptitiously losing their place in marketing talk. To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  9. 9. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY Consistency Another quality to look for in a beauty translator is consistency. A product intended for “puffy eyes and dark circles” should not be described as targeting “puffy bags and dark circles” or “puffiness and dark shadows”. It is important to reproduce continuity and coherence in a translation as the overall effect will help maintain the product’s unique identity in the marketpace. A WORD OF CAUTION: Beware of companies that promise to slash the cost of your translations with translation memory (TM) software! They will tell you that you will not be paying (or paying very little) for “repetitions” and “fuzzy matches” but ultimately the “cost savings” will cost you money! Why TM-based translations of cosmetic copy can be inconsistent and poor in quality: Heavy reliance on TM software is incompatible with cosmetic copy which is diametrically opposed to cut-and-dry legal agreements or formulaic user’s manuals. Limited to whole sentence or segment matches, today’s TM software is counterintuitive to the human translation process (largely based on matches on the sub-segment level). It does not cover linguistic nuances such as idiomatic expressions, colloquialisms, proverbs and metaphors. Translators are paid less without commensurate gain in productivity. They are nevertheless required to perform a series of tasks to run the software and to check over the “matched” results; they have to invest in costly programs and training. As a result, they are not motivated to perform to their best. Translation agencies that promise the moon are only interested in profit. They fail to perform the necessary TM maintenance and are quick to assign your projects to any available translator. The same string (potential match) but with different formatting can be either completely ignored or return a fuzzy (incomplete) match. Inadequately maintained TMs may contain several translated versions of the same sentence! To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  10. 10. Q U I C K G U I D E TO T R A N S L AT I O N FO R T H E B E AU T Y I N D U S T RY A g n es M eilh ac Beautyterm LLC 6 3 U n q u owa Ro a d Fa ir f ield , CT 06824 U SA agnes@beautyterm.com + 1 2 03 550 65 48 Jo ann Ph elp s Be autélog ie 7 2 Blv d M ontpa rn a sse 7 5 01 4 Paris 1 4e me Fr ance joann@beautyterm.com + 3 3 ( 0) 6 07 75 73 61 Beautyterm LLC is a full-service multilingual communications and translation consulting boutique specializing exclusively in the personal care and cosmetics industry. With a solid activity base in Paris and New York, the world’s undisputed beauty capitals, Beautyterm LLC is the brainchild of two veteran linguists, Agnes Meilhac and Joann Phelps, who use a unique approach to international marketing communications founded on two decades of experience. The company offers services in a wide range of world languages. For more information, please visit http://www.beautyterm.com/ or http://www.beautelogie.fr/ (in French). To learn more about multilingual communication and translation for the beauty and cosmetics industry, visit us at: www.beautyterm.com
  11. 11. Conveying beauty through language... Communiquer en beauté...

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