Tag Archives: cosmetic translation services

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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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!”

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We are very proud of our clients on display at the exclusive Colette concept store located in one of the chicest Parisian neighborhoods. Joëlle Ciocco was launched by L’Oréal Paris Global Facial Expert of the same name, who created the famous Epidemiology® Method. Nuori brings its revolutionary skincare concept of optimized product freshness while the breakthrough Colbert MD line is a newcomer to the French market. A favorite of Angelina Jolie and Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Dr. Colbert is known for The Triad Facial, an intense 30-minute treatment combining exfoliation, lasers and a chemical peel.

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MEET OUR CLIENT: Decorté

Saks Fifth Avenue and Japanese skincare leader Kosé Corporation team up to launch a new line of luxury skin care and color products under an exclusive distribution agreement.

Decorté is considered to be one of Asia’s best-kept skin care secrets. The brand combines ancient practices of Eastern medicine and technological innovation to produce revolutionary products based on nature, wisdom and advanced science.

Decorté will be available in Saks locations throughout the US and Canada, as well as on its website, starting in the spring of 2016. Supermodel Kate Moss will be a brand ambassador and the face of Decorté under a long-term partnership.

Kate Moss for Decorte

MEET OUR CLIENT: Rose-Marie Swift of RMS Beauty

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Fortune Magazine picks the most admired businesses mostly on healthy financials and stock performance. Forbes says that the most admired qualities in business leaders include a strong vision, innovation, persistence and excellent ethics.

rose marie_finalOf course everyone has their own standards. We, for one, are big fans of day-to-day kindness and considerateness. In that department, celebrity make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift of RMS Beauty is our top winner. She definitely takes the cake when it comes to simple, unadulterated human interaction with people that work for her. And she has an extremely interesting story.

Rose-Marie has been a make-up artist for over 20 years. Her work has been featured in every major beauty magazine from Vogue, W, Harper’s, Numero, Interview, to Elle. Her make-up has appeared in ads for dozens of campaigns including Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Thierry Mugler, The Gap and Victoria’s Secret. She has worked with the biggest names in the industry including Gisele, Miranda Kerr, Milla Jovovich, Mario Sorrenti, Hedi Slimane and Terry Richardson.

Rose-Marie was originally a musician, the lead singer of a punk band called Insects, who were backing up the Ramones. She needed money to buy a microphone and ended up getting a gig doing stage makeup. One job lead to another and, eventually in 2004, Rose-Marie started a website called BeautyTruth, which generated a lot of press and even more work. People were asking for her opinion, many wanting to know what she thought about natural makeup brands. This is when Rose-Marie started playing around making her own formulations and experimenting with the models she worked for.

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RMS Beauty is an all-natural, raw-coconut-oil-based brand that carries one of the best face highlighters of all time, the luminzer. The line was launched at the end of 2008 with 18 products — 6 eyeshadows, 6 lip-to-cheek, 3 Un Cover Ups, 2 lip balms, and the luminizer.

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Needless to say Rose-Marie is a very busy and highly successful businesswoman but she never forgets to be as kind and considerate as ever. She is living proof that you can be hobnobbing with celebrities and remain a “real mensch”. We love working with you Rose-Marie! xoxoxoxox