Translating for the Fashion Industry

Translating for fashion clients is a specialist area.

Having fine-honed their brand's tone of voice and secured their place successfully as an etailer of choice with customers in the UK, it can be unsettling for a client to think that simply talking in another language could threaten that success if they decide to branch out to the wider world and expand their overseas customer base. 

We know that translating any 'tone of voice' well is no simple thing. There are many challenges to take into consideration to ensure understanding in a different country, where social idiosyncrasies are bound to come into play, where shopping behaviours could be different, and cultural nuances such as instructions or sense of humour can be taken out of context very easily. 

It is, however, perfectly achievable. The trick, crucially, is to focus on quality. The difference between celebrating a client's success story as an expanding online fashion retailer and one that has failed to infiltrate the fashion sector and make an impact abroad, simply comes down to the expertise and experience of the translator. 

There are a number of vital ingredients when it comes to translating tone of voice for clients. 

Branding is all about words
It might not be obvious to others, but as we're in the business of words we know that they are the principal component of a brand. The tone of voice is everything - communicating who the client is, what they stand for, what they do, what they believe in, why their customers should shop with them. Images and artwork might catch the eye, but words allow consumers to relate to the client, understand the client, and ultimately be enticed to buy from them - you as a translator are a key part of this aim. Your words need more care and attention than simply using a basic translation, which will undoubtedly fail to hit the mark, especially when the content is online and there for all to see! It has to be better than that and research and attention to detail will ensure you don't lose your client's message or style. 

Remain recognisable
The client doesn't want to lose their strong and successful brand that has served them so well in the UK. Building a global business involves maintaining an identity throughout. While the individual words you choose to use and the way you say things might change in order to tailor to different societies, it is crucial to ensure they are all conveying the same personality. Don't make the mistake of pushing a 'one-size-fits-all' ethos, yet do strive to replicate what the customer has achieved before. The trick is to speak directly to the customer and imagine how they will receive your translation. But also remember what you're actually communicating is 'business as usual'. 

Keeping customers
High quality translation for 'tone of voice' will ensure clients successfully gain existing customers who are 'brand new'. By this we mean 'their' kind of consumer will be attracted to them in the same way they already have and choose them among the vast amount of online shopping sites. The customer will continue to speak to their target buyer and this will ensure you don't alienate their potential new client base. What's working for them will work again. This also means you'll be able to help build their brand on the trust and reputation they've already gained well in their industry. 

Cultural awareness is everything
Ensuring you take into account how different cultures work within different parts of the world is absolutely vital. This knowledge could make or break international efforts and your clients' professionalism is at stake. A high quality translator should be able to provide the client with knowledge of idioms and terminology, as well as mother-tongue translations with immersive methods of working. Understanding how best consumers respond to being addressed and making no assumptions about other nationalities (or indeed the source language) will ensure you see your customers' sales fly in no time. 

Now go get 'em!

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