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Rate for advertising/company slogans
Thread poster: xxxLucyPatterso

Andy Watkinson
Local time: 15:03
Catalan to English
+ ...
Not again..... Apr 12, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:

Andy - no, I don't buy it.

1) ... Compared with the average joe, translators do make pretty good interpreters. ,,,

2) "Creatives are a different species" - no, they're really not. They're just people who get paid to do a slightly unusual thing.


It's not that you don't buy it. I believe you fail to understand exactly how much thought goes into the apparently banal. (Think “Come Alive With Pepsi”).

And if the "average joe" is monolingual (which s/he generally is) then it's pretty clear they won't make a very good interpreter.

Pretty obvious, I would have thought.

As for creatives just being people who get paid to do a "slightly unusual thing" (sic), you're treading dangerously close to the "I can carve turkey. I can be a brain surgeon" argument.

When a company takes its slogan to an ad agency for use in another country, they usually sling it out and come up with something totally different.

Much can be learnt from the Bible (the one according to Ogilvy, obviously)

[Edited at 2012-04-12 16:36 GMT]

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Texte Style
Local time: 15:03
French to English
ProZ people take note: we need a ROTFLOL button (or "like" will do) Apr 12, 2012

Christine Andersen wrote:

When I worked in house a client wanted a neat, slogan-like description for the packet of a product, and one of my colleagues was asked to talk to him on the phone.

The client sold spherical lumps of fat mixed with bird-seed to hang up in the garden and attract robins and other small birds, including bluetits and crested tits.

The Danish word is entirely innocent, meaning round objects for small birds.

We were more and more incredulous as my colleague tried to explain why the literal translation the client suggested - tit b*lls - was unsuitable in English. The client was insisting, because that was the translation from Danish....

In the end they agreed to change the shape of the objects and call them bird bells.

(The birds prefer my husband's home-made mix of oats and margarine, which doesn't sprout and grow into weeds in the garden, but that is another story!)

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:03
Chinese to English
Aargh, reading required! Apr 12, 2012

Andy, I specifically excluded from my argument the kind of mass consumer slogan that Pepsi would use. The comparison is absurd: Pepsi is a company that sells fizzy water for an inflated price, it's one of the planet's great advertisers. There is no way in hell they would ever ask a translator to write their slogans.

That's why I wrote in my previous post: "That's what Apple, Barclays and McDonalds need and get. They would never think of getting a translator to do their marketing."

And you're quite right, those slogans and the campaigns that go with them are very smart, the product of a lot of careful hard work that we're not equipped to do.

But if we could return from the stratosphere of your imagination to things that actually happen: I was asked to translate a website for a small clothing brand. They didn't distinguish between the "click for more information" parts of the website and the "magic garden of style and fashion" parts. They are not highly sophisticated advertisers. I was able to give them some advertising text, including a slogan, that was significantly better than some of their competitors, because it was
a) grammatical (or as grammatical as a slogan needs to be)
b) relevant to the product
c) did not have unfortunate connotations

I've been able to do the same for manufacturers who wanted to communicate effectively B2B.

Now, I'm not a marketer, and I have no way of measuring if the slogans/copy I gave these companies worked at all. But I'm confident that it served its purpose well on the level on which we were working. I don't pretend to be Saatchi; they aren't pretending to be Coke. But someone who knows about language and follows a few basic marketing rules can produce competent (not creative and marvelous, just competent) advertising copy.

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Local time: 15:03
Italian to English
thank you Cristine you just made me laugh Apr 13, 2012

Christine Andersen wrote:

The Danish word is entirely innocent, meaning round objects for small birds.

We were more and more incredulous as my colleague tried to explain why the literal translation the client suggested - tit b*lls - was unsuitable in English. The client was insisting, because that was the translation from Danish....

I am a Business Finance and Legal translator, having spent 10 years working in that field with companies in Milan. Nevertheless this makes no difference to one of my current agnecy clients who believes this should mean I am proficient in everything from wine making to pig sausages.

After waiting all day yesterday for a file that didnt arrive and due today, but which arrived this morning with no apology for wasting my entire day yesterday and no extension of deadline, and after labouring all day researching everything from vinestock, to different types of yeast to natural types of pig bowels or intestines (yup as they say there are 2 things you should never see and sausage making is one) and after also re-writing organic farming ambitions in Italian that if translated directly into English would result in people trying to grow cereals by tapping into the magnetic forces of the earth, I get told that I "took too long". (This from yet another Italian agency without an inhouse EMT proofreader who is able back you on rush jobs by checking your "a"s and "and"s etc - yes I got disgruntled comments for 2 missing prepositiosn which they weren't capable of detecting).

My point is that not only was the technical terminology density under-estimated and therefore underpriced, but there was also little or no understanding at all on the part of the agency as to what it takes to creatively transcribe some of the marketing guff that Clients supply after they have been translated.

I am glad to read on Proz that marketing translators freely admit that a phrase or term might take from 3 minutes to 2 hours ... I agree.

Seriously, complex legal documents are easier and quicker and you end up making €300+ per day, or your target monthly earning in 2 weeks instead, by taking on large bulk jobs, and plus the Legal Client doesn't argue with your terminology, because it is pretty much set and standardised.

Marketing translations are a thankless, time consuming task. Some clients just deserve t*t balls

[Edited at 2012-04-13 20:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-13 20:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-13 20:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-13 20:07 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-13 20:08 GMT]

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Local time: 15:03
Italian to English
Ad campaigns get translated not rewritten Apr 13, 2012

christela wrote:

Philippe Etienne wrote:

An experienced friend of mine who creates ad campaigns charges 1000 euros/day. It seemed to be some ballpark figure in the freelance world of creatives.
An experienced translator would earn, what, 3-400 euros/day translating? That's 3 times less.

Even then, I don't think end customers really expect to get local versions of ad campaigns dozens, if not hundreds of times cheaper.


Translators sell translations, advertising agencies sell concepts.

.... which is why in Italy a "plaid" is anything that vaguely resembles a blanket, Tweety Bird is actually called Titty (I even knew a receptionist in a Milan language school who gave herself that nick), and Darth Vader is given a name in dubbed Star Wars transmissions that sounds like a vegetable and has negative homosexual overtones ... what do they call him here? Lord Fennel or Finocchio or something like that.

[Edited at 2012-04-13 20:17 GMT]

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