Category: Translation

Speak more better with Nespresso

Before the holidays, Nespresso began running a new TV spot in France, featuring the country’s favorite American: George Clooney. Produced by Lowe Stratéus in Paris, it was the latest installment in a long-running saga of ads. Interestingly, the commercial was in English, and was broadcast with subtitles.

My ears always perk up when I hear English on French TV. But this time a hackle was quickly raised. About 28 seconds into the spot the woman says: “I always imagined you to be much more…” at which point George cuts her off and says: “taller?

“I always imagined you to be much more taller” (my emphasis). Ouch.

But recently a new 30-second version has begun airing. And lo and behold, the problem is gone.

I wonder what happened? Did someone spot the mistake and have it fixed? Or was it inadvertently nixed when they trimmed the spot down to 30 seconds?

I have a theory. According to a press release, the ad was scheduled first to run in 13 European countries (none of them English speaking) followed by Australia and Israel. Could it be that the phrase went unnoticed in the first batch of countries, but when it finally made its way down under someone noticed the verbal slip-up and had it edited out?

Whatever the case, the original version is still on the Nespresso Youtube channel. I wonder when they’ll get around to fixing it?


When free isn’t free

It’s very trendy in France to pepper advertising and marketing with English words, especially when naming things. Here, for example, is a promotion from Hygena fitted kitchens called, in French, “Kitchen Weeks.” As amusing and/or grating as this can be on the ears of English speakers, and overlooking for a moment the way it gives

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10 reasons to be kind to European content strategists

This post is a follow-up to a recent tweet in which I said: “The biggest enemy of CS in Europe is the budgetary bloat caused by localization requirements. Right tech ends up being too expensive.” I’m a lucky guy. In the past few weeks I’ve been pitching and/or working on projects that involve serious content

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Laid in translation

Further proof that you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of translation in designing your customer experience. Photo courtesy of a good friend of mine. Taken at Orly airport this morning. Is there another sign saying you should be prepared to buy the liquids dinner first?

Scary words: writing outside of the comfort zone

Some of my work involves writing collateral and websites in English for French clients. I’m brought in on these projects because I’m an English-language copywriter. But recently I ran into an interesting problem: vocabulary timidity. In both cases, the French clients didn’t want to use perfectly good English words, either out of fear or incomprehension,

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I'll never be out of a job

This poster was a great excuse to try my new mobile blogging software. I came across it at the Montparnasse train station this morning. “All our staff is at our disposal and will assist you in your whereabouts wherever you are in this station including the staff of the way-finding desk (near the end of

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