A word of caution against Google Translate!
Technology is a beautiful thing and in business it has become a game-changer: countless apps, widgets, programs and systems are now available to business people to make their work easier and more efficient.
Non-translators tend to spontaneously think of Google Translate when relating technology to translation.
Google Translate’s automatic translations may seem useful because they give internet users a general understanding of something written in a foreign language (e.g. when casually scanning the internet for information).
However, Google Translate should never be relied upon to generate meaningful and printable content. Not even to make what seems like minor changes to a previously translated text.
To illustrate just how badly it can fail us, we’ve used an example of a text readily available from the French language website of the fashion and cosmetics powerhouse Chanel:
We submitted the original French copy of this text to Google Translate and compared the results to the human translation.
It is quite noteworthy to point out that although the text was very short (50 to 75 words), Google Translate produced three completely nonsensical sentences:
- “His escalation of tensions” instead of “Facial tension slips away”;
- “Her muslin cotton soaked in warm water gently exfoliates and perfect cleaning” for what should have said “Moistened with warm water, its cotton cloth gently exfoliates and removes all traces of makeup”;
- The header “Benefits” was translated by “Earnings”.
Of course, the problems do not end there. We also have:
- a sentence missing a verb,
- a whole slew of rather awkwardly strung words,
- not to mention the fact that the product name (“Essential Comfort Cleanser”) was translated in two different ways (“Supreme Comfort Cleansing” and “Supreme Cleansing Comfort”).
So please, heed our warning: avoid the temptation of turning to Google Translate for any type of translation, no matter how insignificant. If changes are made to a document we have previously translated, we will be happy to go over them and make the necessary adjustments.
Make a game of it: try to guess what these beauty brand names actually mean. Not easy!
This international favorite started out as a small family venture, when American sisters Jean and Jane Ford created a modest beauty boutique in Indiana in 1976. The boutique, called The Face Place continued to get increasingly popular, attracting worldwide attention. It wasn’t until 1990, when the beauty brand was expanding globally that the sisters decided to come up with a new name. Dreamed up on a flight home from Italy, Jane wanted to incorporate the word ‘Bene’ (Italian for good) into the brand’s new title, and so Benefit was born.
Stands for Colour, Innovation, Aspiration, Trend, and Extraordinary. The acronym is a much better fit on a any label!
Clé De Peau Beauté
A brand that originated in Japan in 1982, Clé de Peau Beauté translates as “the key to beautiful skin.”
This leading haircare brand has probably the most fun name of all: Good Hair Day.
First established in a Toronto salon, MAC started off as a make-up-artist-only brand and wasn’t launched to the public until 1984, once it had won over models, editors and photographers alike. Its meaning is simply Make-Up Artist Cosmetics.
Founded in 1913, Maybelline is named after creator Thomas William’s sister. According to the brand, Maybel used to use petroleum jelly on her lashes and brows. Chemist Williams whipped up some carbon dust to mix with the jelly for a darker shade and increased effect.
This is the namesake of founder François Nars, who launched his brand in 1995 at Barney’s in New York.
Initially set up way back in 1890, Nivea’s name is derived from the Latin ‘nix, nivis’, which means ‘white as snow’ and refers to the company’s first major product, the pure white NIVEA Creme.
NUXE was started in 1989 by French entrepreneur Aliza Jabes and is a combination of the words “Nature” and “Luxury”.
Nyx (pronounced like ‘nicks’) is named after the Greek goddess of night.
If you haven’t heard of this brand yet, you will. The hair-care line, developed by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, hits shelves in 2016 — and its name is a bit of a puzzle. But that’s just the way Atkin likes it. “I wanted you to be at a lunch with your friend, and they mispronounce it and you say, ‘No, it’s Ouai,'” Atkin said at the launch event. (Say it with us now: “WAY.”)
The actual meaning? It comes from the French word “ouais,” which is a casual way of saying “yes,” like “yep” or “yup.“ Atkin dropped the “s” to make it look Hawaiian, which reflects her island upbringing. Check back with us in January to see images of the new collection.
In 1907, L’Oréal founder Eugène Schueller created the first hair dye formula which he called L’Auréale after a fashionable hairstyle at the time called L’Auréole meaning ‘halo’. The spelling was later changed to the name we know it as today.
This catchy brand name is actually the acronym of: Odontorium Products Inc. Not easy to pronounce, right? The brand was originally a dental-equipment company.
Ren means clean in Swedish.
Launched in 1834 by Eugene Rimmel, this brand was originally set up as a perfumery although its owner started creating make-up products about a year later. His exploits included the creation of one of the most popular and useful inventions ever: the mascara.
A publicist for the brand explains that “Sephora” is a combination of the name “Zipporah,” the wife of Moses in the Book of Exodus who was renowned for her exceptional beauty, and “sephosis,” the Greek term attributed to beauty and vanity.
The meaning behind the Japanese cult brand’s name is top secret… literally. It stands for ‘Secret Key’ which is what the skincare line was originally going to be called as the scientists were on a quest to find the ‘secret key’ to crystal clear skin. In their research, they found the answer by surprise.
This name is a derivative of the Italian word “stilare,” which means “to pen,” then A+ to you, friend.
The name comes from the brand’s ethos: “The right makeup can turn even the simplest look into a statement as authentic as your signature.” This eyeliner’s the perfect example.
Here’s a fun experiment. Google “Urban Decay” and check out the image results.
No, you won’t find swatches of Half Baked shadow. Instead, you’ll likely see a collection of post-apocalyptic crumbling buildings. That’s because “Urban Decay” is actually defined as “the decay and deterioration of an urban area due to neglect or age.” A little weird for a makeup brand, no?
UD agrees, crediting this crazy (and now wildly famous) name to its cofounder Sandy Lerner’s former husband. “Everyone was saying it had to be named ‘Urban’ something. Sandy’s husband, who’s totally ‘Mr. Computer Scientist’ — they invented the router and started Cisco Systems together — just said one day, ‘Oh, why don’t you call it Urban Decay?’ and the name just stuck,” says cofounder Wende Zomnir.
When launching the company, the founder took the word “new,” flipped it backwards, and came up with Wen. Plus, he liked that it sounded like “zen.”
A portmanteau word combining fiction and commercial, a fictomercial is a book, tv show or any other piece of creative writing in which a company pays the writer to incorporate its products into the story. It is part of a trend to use non-traditional ways to promote products and has become a burgeoning business for writers over the last fifteen years.
Why? Because advertisers are always looking to make people see things in different ways. They like to take existing concept in new directions, making up new words along the way (like fictomercial, advertorial, jeggings or masstige).
As a side note, fictomercials are referred to as “publifiction” in French.
Eco-chic and eco-conscious Naobay – which stands for ‘Natural And Organic Beauty And You’ – is one of our favorite brands (and clients).
The family-founded business based in Valencia, Spain makes skincare and bath products almost entirely out of natural biodegradable ingredients (no GMOs or plants grown with synthetic fertilizers or ionizing radiation. All products are also free of parabens, petrochemicals, silicone, formaldehyde, and other compounds that research suggests might pose a health risk.
In keeping with brand philosophy, the packaging is made from recycled or recyclable materials from sustainable sources, and both the wood and cardboard used are endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
If you want effective eco cosmetics designed to look after both people and the environment, Naobay is your brand.
Le Bain et le Miroir, an amazing historical survey of body care and cosmetics, opened in Paris this summer, covering Antiquity through the Middle Ages at the Musee de Cluny and Renaissance at the Musee National de la Renaissance in the Chateau d’Ecouen (outside of Paris).
Starting with bathing and grooming in Roman times, the exhibition puts on display a wide variety of luxurious artifacts: cosmetics and perfume containers, perfume bottles, toiletry kits, mirrors, combs, pill boxes, painted vases, statues, portrait busts and paintings.
Who would have guessed that what we take for modern inventions – breath sweeteners, deodorants (made from alum and honey), skin whiteners, moisturizers and wrinkle creams – were already used by the Romans?