“What you say is important; how you say it is more important still.” – Cicero

Lawrence Creaghan

Research shows that if you’re still translating your French communications ‘as is’ into English, there’s a 75% chance you could be selling yourself short.

Jacques Bouchard’s book, Les 36 cordes sensibles des Québécois, provided a very astute analysis of the social fabric of Quebec, and continues to serve as a guide for all French advertising in the province.

I got my start in advertising adapting French ads into English for the man who invented adapting English ads into French. That was at BCP when Jacques Bouchard was still at the helm…and I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. After all, he was the man who invented French advertising in Quebec by making a case for creatively adapting – instead of merely translating – English advertising into French, even going as far as developing completely new creative if that’s what the market called for.

And Bouchard’s idea turned out to be exactly what the market called for. In an eight-year study released in 2013, Ipsos ASI showed that only 25% of ads that were effective in English could be translated as is into French and still work in Quebec. That left a full 75% of English advertising that required varying degrees of adaptation or even completely new creative before it could be used.

Of course it also meant that only a small percentage of French material could be translated as is into English as well. Most would have to be adapted to some degree or other to work effectively in English. That’s where I came in. As BCP creative group head, I was responsible for all the agency’s original English and French-to-English output.

Much to my (and to our clients’) delight, the adapting could be done with great success by thinking outside the box and using the extraordinary depth and versatility of the English language...without requiring new visuals, layouts, and other costly components. It was something I did for clients day in and day out at BCP Advertising and something I continue doing today on a project basis for clients from every sector.

So, if you are translating your French communications as is into English, why risk selling yourself short? Send me your French material instead, and I’ll send you back English versions adapted with your English consumers in mind. You’ll see the difference right away...and so will they.

– Lawrence Creaghan

What Clients Say