What are words really worth?

If you’re translating your French communications ‘as is’ into English, there’s a 75% chance you’re selling yourself short.

In an eight-year study, Ipsos ASI demonstrated that only 25% of ads that were effective in English can be translated ‘as is’ into French and still work well. Which means that 75% of English advertising requires adaptation (also called transcreation) before it can be used in French. And vice-versa, it also means that fully 75% of French material requires adaptation before it can be used effectively in English.

“No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same worlds with different labels attached.” – Edward Sapir

Adaptation includes: Adapting French words into appropriate English equivalents • Adding English idioms to improve impact • Adjusting figures of speech • Taking all possible English meanings into consideration

The difference between translation and adaptation: Translation is simply converting French text into English • Adaptation is creating English content to convey the essence of the French text • Adaptation is more effective in marketing campaigns and in communications where creating an emotional connection is important for getting your message across

The good news is that adaptation can be done without breaking the bank...by thinking outside the box and using the extraordinary depth and versatility of the English language...often without requiring new visuals, layouts, and other costly components.

So, if you’re translating your French communications ‘as is’ into English, why not reduce the risk of selling yourself short? Send me your French material and I’ll send you back English versions adapted with your English targets in mind. You’ll see the difference right away...and so will they. – Lawrence Creaghan

Lawrence Creaghan

“…no matter how assiduous you are, you can’t turn a bad translation into a good one: You can only make it less bad.” – Robert Gottlieb