Tag Archives: cosmetic translation company

Translating the concept of empowerment in beauty

Empowerment marketing took the world of advertising by storm when, instead of simply pointing out inadequacy to create a need for a product, it showed that we can sell that same product in ways that make us better people and the world a better place.

Most areas of business quickly joined the growing movement and beauty is no exception.  Empowerment-related vocabulary has seeped into the brand communications of many cosmetic companies, at least in English.

Just in the last few months, we’ve had to translate copy for products such as:

  • eye shadows with “empowering shades”, created by makeup artists inspired by a “new generation of empowered women”;
  • hair dryers “packed with hair-empowering design duality”;
  • skincare touting its radical new approach to help “empower the skin”;
  • lip color that promises its wearer to “reveal who she truly is – an empowered girlfriend living a life full of happiness, love & success on her own terms”;
  • and brow enhancers that “empower her to become the woman she was meant to be” …

These are just a few examples of how decisively “empowerment” has become part of the beauty landscape.

Culturally, most languages have yet to adopt a single term for so many different contexts, a single term serving as a beacon of hope, a call to action to take control and surpass one’s own expectations – a push button of sorts that can be used to elicit a sense of feel-good transcendence.

In French, for example, there truly is no easy way to translate the above messages with a single term that would carry the same weight as “empowerment” in English.  Mademoizelle online may be promoting the use of “empouvoirement” but, for now, the term does not have the same rooted presence in the French language.  It is also nearly impossible to apply without raising eyebrows…

What translators are forced to do is resort to paraphrasing, which in and of itself is exactly what they must do.  The one thing they should not do, however, is ignore the importance that this term and this concept hold for American brands.

It can be argued that translating / transcreating beauty copy also requires an equal measure of localization to the target audience, which may or may not harbor the same level of concern for underscoring the possibility for human growth, for a woman’s right to live her life to the fullest and to feel strong and independent.

But as a translator you cannot skip over, blithely ignore or wish this part of the message away – especially when it reflects brand values and identity.  We must remember that exposure to foreign values and new ideas can be enriching and mind-opening even when buying hair gel (and why not?)!

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The case of a geo-specific beauty brand name: necessary or not?

The skincare brand Olay originated in South Africa in the early 1950s.  Invented by an ex-Unilever employee, the original product went by the name of Oil of Olay, chosen as a spin on its key ingredient “lanolin”.  The thick pink liquid was marketed as an anti-aging ‘beauty fluid’ and in the 1970s the range expanded to include other types of skincare products.

In the 1980s, Oil of Olay was acquired by Proctor & Gamble and in 2000 the group decided to take it global.  So the name was modified in each country to sound “pleasing to consumers”: Oil of Ulay (UK and Ireland), Oil of Ulan (Australia) and Oil of Olaz (France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany).

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P&G eventually streamlined the brand under a global name, removed the possibly misunderstood word “oil” and eliminated many of the name variations. According to P&G, “the original name no longer fit with what women have come to expect from Olay — a light, greaseless formula.

Today, there’s just “Olaz” (in German-speaking countries) and “Olay” (everywhere else).

Drop us a note, if you’d like to share other similar stories of geo-specific brand names in the field of beauty! We’d love to hear from you!

MEET OUR CLIENT: Skyn ICELAND

SOLUTIONS FOR STRESSED SKIN

It will be hard to find another client with a mantra more in tune with our beliefs.  Skyn Iceland’s genesis and purpose are so much like our own that we feel a particular kinship with their entire concept.  And we believe that nowadays every woman out there is likely to appreciate the brand’s healing philosophy behind its products.

ICELANDSkyn ICELAND was born from a life-changing mission to treat and alleviate the effects of stress on skin while promoting a stress-free life full of balance, health and wellness.  The company’s founder, Sarah Kugelman, transformed her own experience of stress, which left her hospitalized, with a weakened immune system, into a personal journey to find harmony between inner and outer beauty.  That journey took her quite literally to Iceland, a pure, pristine place of great beauty and peace, whose people impressed her with their incredible longevity and vibrant, healthy skin.

Having chosen a career in a fast-paced environment where deadlines are forever looming over our heads, we too have each had our share of work-related stress.  And illness.  That’s why we also recognize and can personally attest to the tremendous impact of stress on internal health.  Our goals are therefore very much in alignment with Skyn Iceland’s.

We work daily to maintain a pleasant, stress-free and wholesome working environment that promotes respectful relationships with our clients, collaborating linguists and writers alike.  We value kindness and consideration, politeness and good manners.  We stand for fairness, honesty and integrity. And we love having healthy-looking skin!

SKYN ICELAND

Take the Skyn ICELAND job stress test!

I scored: 37.  A great accomplishment but, believe it or not, a few years back this score would have been through the roof!

“How do you do it? Surely you live in some pastoral setting with no phone, no computer and minimal obligations. Or is it possible you’ve simply trained yourself to let things go and focus on what’s important in life? We bet you eat well and drink lots of water, exercise regularly, get enough rest, and make time for friends and family, right? Bravo! Now just round out your amazing lifestyle with Glacial Face Wash and the ANTIDOTE Quenching Daily Lotion and you will be our hero!”

Pharmagora 2012 – Paris Expo Porte de Versailles

Pharmagora2APharmagora is a professional tradeshow held annually in Paris and catering to pharmacists and the pharmacy business.  The show’s 400 or so exhibitors are all important partners that pharmacy owners deal with on a daily basis, from laboratories, automated systems suppliers, IT equipment specialists, to orthopedic firms, distributors, merchandising companies and the like.

The trade show takes place at Paris Expo Portes de Versailles, the largest convention center in France.  In 2012, it donned a new layout with 20,000 m2, where exhibitors were divided into three themed sectors, one of which was dermocosmetics. And this is precisely why Pharmagora is a wonderful place to visit for beauty and cosmetics junkies like ourselves.

First and foremost, what are dermocosmetics?  La Roche Posay provides the following definition of dermocosmetics in its beauty glossary:

Dermocosmetic products are applied locally to the skin, scalp and hair. They combine a cosmetic action with a dermatological action. Dermocosmetic products are formulated to maintain the health and beauty of the skin and hair. […]

In addition to La Roche Posay, the most popular brands of French dermocosmetics are Uriage, Vichy, Avène and Biotherm.  But there are also Ducray, Aderma, Galenic, Klorane and many more smaller companies such as Laboratoires Arcana.  They all come to exhibit at Pharmagora because they all target consumers in the habit of buying their skin and hair care products at the pharmacy, with the help and personalized advice of their friendly neighborhood pharmacist.

In fact, that is another big part of the dermocosmetics concept.  Laboratoires Pierre Fabre have even for many years successfully opposed the sale of dermocosmetics over the Internet, arguing in European courts that “only the physical presence of a qualified pharmacist guarantees consumers the quality of pharmaceutical and personalized advice that is tailored to meet their expectations of efficiency and safety” (SOURCE Laboratoires Pierre Fabre).

We should mention that in 2011 in the US, La Roche Posay was present in 6,000 drugstores, either via the pharmacy counter or in dedicated areas, where the brand’s products were promoted by specially trained derma advisors.  Another interesting fact: the dermocosmetics sector has seen strong growth in the recent past in various parts of the world, including Brazil and Poland.