Fashion Translation: How to Make Fashion Statements in Any Language

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From product descriptions to brand catalogues, websites and in-store materials, fashion copy must fascinate and inspire. That’s why fashion brands have to find their own unique, distinctive writing style and tone of voice. But that’s not all.

Then there’s terminology. People often think that fashion copy is just about style, evocative imagery, metaphors and sensory adjectives – which is fair enough – but fashion copy has also its own precise vocabulary. It can be extremely technical, highly specific, even exclusive.

The challenges with translation of fashion copy are two fold, first to adapt the specific voice of the fashion brand, reflecting its values and aspirational qualities taking into account the sensibilities of the target market, then there is making sure the terminology is spot on, contemporary, culturally savvy.

To the uninitiated, fashion terminology can be easily misinterpreted; a Lettuce Hem could be a kind of vegetable, a Yoke what eggs are made of, a Mule a kind of donkey. These literal interpretations would not happen in the fashion world, but are an ever-present risk in translation world.

Fashion is a serious business. So is translation.

The fashion industry is exciting. It changes so rapidly as a new style emerges on a daily basis. It’s alive. Buzzing. And so is fashion language.

To avoid fashion faux pas, there are 4 fundamental rules:

1. Specialisation is key.

Mastering the art of fashion translation requires years of professional experience in the field, as well as a fair amount of creativity and excellent writing skills.

2. Location, location, location.

Translators must be native speakers and be predominantly based in the target country. As language constantly evolves, writers must stay connected to current terminology in their market, through local media and publications and the things people talk about everyday.

3. The brief is everything.

You can’t complete a puzzle with pieces missing. Writing is a creative process. The writer needs to have all relevant information and access to relevant past activity. They need to understand the context, the bigger picture so don’t leave anything out.

4. Consistency is key.

When it comes to effective brand communication, the terminology, style and tone of voice must be constant, so that your messaging consistently reflects your brand, its themes and values and resonates with one voice across different media and publishing channels to maximise its overall impact.

We offer all this and much more. We leave no stone un-turned in providing meaningful well adapted copy that is on brand and effective in market. We do it everyday, again and again. Why? Because we love it!

Fashion translation is what we specialise in. And if it’s what you need, you’ve found the right people. Get in touch.

To discover how we can help you, call us on +44 (0)20 7294 7710 or click here to email us for further information or a quick quotation for your next project.