a Girl's Thing
do Bridget Jones and Yves Saint Laurent have in common after
are generally inclined to split translators into three
major categories: technical translators, copy translators
and literary translators.
translators are expected to have a deep knowledge of
purely technical processes and terminology. Copy translators
are expected to be able to adapt an advertising message
from one language and culture into another. Literary
translators are expected to rewrite creative works in
a different language with a taste for details and nuances,
remaining faithful to the original author’s choices.
who translate for the fashion industry are expected
to be like Cerberus, the three-headed creature of Greek
mythology. They must be familiar with the fashion industry
processes and terminology, which represent the technical
aspect. They must be able to adapt an essentially advertising
message that seeks to attract people and sell goods.
They must also be able to use their literary writing
skills to understand and recreate an atmosphere, effectively
reproducing the original language style and undertones.
The last mentioned aspect, which is often neglected
by those who work in the fashion industry, is the most
important in my opinion. For this reason, it will be
the focus of my article.
of a relatively new literary genre that has been extremely
successful all over the world during recent years: the
so-called “chick lit” genre (for more information,
please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_lit).
Chick lit and the fashion industry share a common communication
strategy, making them quite similar.
If you enjoyed Helen
Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary,
why not try other chick lit authors?
Check them out at www.chicklit.co.uk
In fact, both chick-lit and fashion sell dreams. When
facing a perfect world, full of beautiful people and
fabulous clothes, buyers and readers want to think that
they can also be part of this universe. They should
not perceive it as an elite world, but rather as an
open and accessible one. It is a communication strategy
based on identification, which means that regular old
people admire what and whom they see (and read) and
imagine that they can be that way too. In other words,
glamour is within reach.
fashion industry has been obliged, in a certain sense,
to revise its communication strategy to hit the target.
After all, its message has been committed to images
for a very long time. More recently, however, the industry
has made enhanced use of words, which have gained momentum
through the rediscovery of fashion literature.
and the City,
a successful HBO series, was based on Candice
Bushnell’s book of the same name and
is perhaps the best combination of the worlds
of fashion and chick lit.
The fashion industry has its own words. These
are the words of the textile industry, of course,
but they are also those of marketing and, above
all, they are the words of chick-lit. Anyone can
create a rich and useful fashion glossary by reading
Sophie Kinsella’s novels, for instance,
and also extract something beyond terminology,
the “summa” of the fashion system
authors and fashion editors use the same language
(and clichés), which is based on popular
language. Their vocabulary is full of slang and
common use expressions that have often not yet
entered official dictionaries, even the most updated.
But beyond lexicon, the basic element shared by
chick-lit and fashion language is the style, which
must be flirty, enjoyable, humorous, amusing,
frivolous and light. It is a language that laymen
understand and use in their daily lives.
who translate for the fashion industry must be fully
aware of these complexities. They have to be familiar
with fashion designers’ unique styles and collections.
They must know what the famous brand endorsers represent
in both the source and target cultures (as well as the
related gossip). They must be curious, attentive and
trend catchers, too. Above all, fashion translators
must know and understand pop culture and consider it
when translating. That is because those who translate
for the fashion industry have to be able to translate
Manfrinato, a native-speaker of Italian, works as
a freelance translator, having completed projects
for major Italian fashion designers through her
work for translation agencies. Chiara is both a
fashionholic and a chicklitaholic.