Tag Archives: traducteurs cosmétiques

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:

  • eyeshadows 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: 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

MEET OUR CLIENT: Indeed Labs

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Praised for its innovation and purse-friendly price point, Canada-based Indeed Laboratories is a drugstore-sold brand specializing in anti-aging-themed products intended to make skin look camera-ready. Since launching only a few years ago, it has been steadily building momentum and growing a loyal following.

The company aims to address skin care concerns by targeting optimal, cutting edge ingredients, using only extremely high concentrations of the rarest and most effective actives from clinical laboratories in Switzerland, Spain, France and the US.