Monday, November 1, 2010

No translation without adaptation

I go to Ads of The World daily to catch the latest in creative and meaningful international ads.

But as an anglophone, I am bothered by two things.

One is that the international agencies don't think their ads will be appreciated without being translated into English in layout (rather than with an explanation beneath).

The other is that they do such a TERRIBLE JOB of writing English versions of their headlines.

These ads from Mccann Erickson Argentina are a perfect example. Cute concept, finely-tuned execution, and a headline that looks like it was spit out by Google Translate.

You're telling me that these hombres at Mcann couldn't just send one e-mail to their pals in NYC, and at least get something like "Children with disabilities want to go to school just as much as any other kid" (which, I assume, is what they meant).

I guess I'm particularly sensitive to this because my work for the Canadian government, and national NGOs and associations, has to work in more than one language. And when we go from English to French — or Inuktut for that matter — we always hire a real Copywriter to adapt the cultural idea behind the concept to his or her native tongue.

Call me. Seriously.