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Fashion Translation

Fashion Translation: Everything You Need to Know

In order to understand fashion translation, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of how the fashion industry operates. Most designs are usually created in Europe, while the manufacturing typically happens in the East. Afterward, the clothing is distributed in bulk and ends up in small stores or large production chains. This byway, as you can tell, crosses many borders. 

In addition, with the globalization of fashion and the need that has been created around this sector, the journey that fashion takes is even longer. This includes fashion events, catwalks and interviews. According to a study on the impact of the fashion industry, in Spain, it is making the transition to e-commerce, as the most purchased tangible goods on the Internet. Even though it’s become increasingly easy to purchase fashion products, the smart choice is to speak to the target audience in its own language. 


What Is Fashion Translation?

The Latin word “facere,” which means “to make,” is the root of the word “fashion,” which refers to the creation, combining, and donning of clothing embellished with particular cultural aesthetics, patterns, motifs, shapes, and cuts. This allows individuals to express their sense of identity, values, meanings, beliefs, and lifestyles. 

Even though it’s referred to as “a universal language,” the fashion industry, like many others, depends on translation in order to function. Although there are many different motivations and objectives for translating in the fashion business, it is simple to gain an understanding by attempting to comprehend how fashion is distributed globally. That’s where fashion translation comes in.

Fashion translation is used to describe the task of translating content that is related to fashion, from one language to another. The key is to safeguard and keep the initial style, tone, voice, and most importantly, meaning of the content. 

Any company that wants to be understood by its target audience must interpret the motivations, customs and preferences of these different groups and communicate with them in a way that reflects their attitude to fashion and style. The differences from country to country can be massive. Successful fashion brands are those that convey their message in a contemporary way with the target audience in each target country. A fashion translation agency is the ideal candidate for this job. They have professional translators that can offer their fashion translation services to your brand and help you keep in touch with your audience throughout the world.  

In the glamorous world of fashion, translation is a powerful instrument through which creators are able to correctly and thoroughly communicate their vision and brand identity. There are specific professional translators dedicated solely to fashion; people who know terms and expressions used exclusively in the fashion industry. Fashion translation isn’t merely the literal translation of words, but the trends, jargon, talent and creative identity of each brand and creator as well. 


How Does Fashion Translation Work?

A lot of work goes into fashion translation; it requires tons of preparation and resources. Fashion translation plays a crucial role in traversing the communication gap that exists between different languages and cultures  and ensuring that the fashion industry stays linked with other industries on a global level.


The impact of Fashion Translation in the Success of your brand

We’ve established that fashion translation is crucial to a brand or a designer’s success. Let’s discuss the reasons why this is so. 


Get closer to your customers beyond borders

Even though you may be located in a specific country, you have to remember that demand is not only local, it’s international. Having a fashion translator by your side, thus being able to communicate in different languages, can lead to  reaching a customer base that better understands your brand and products – resulting in a huge increase in your sales. The internet has deeply contributed to the globalization of fashion and has turned into a main distribution method. In countries such as France, 46.2% of users buy fashion items online, surpassing the European Union average of 37%. With that said, you can see why it would be important for a brand located in Asia to use fashion translation, especially fashion ecommerce translation, to reach Europe and exponentially grow in sales and production. 


A bad website translation can affect your business 

With fashion booming online, websites are no longer optional for brands, they are a must. But a poorly translated website can only sabotage your relationship with your customers. The lack of trust generated by a bad translation on an online shop can lead to sales losses of up to 15%, according to Spanish consultancy firm Hexagone. 


Fashion translation has distinctive characteristics

Fashion is an industry with a very unique vocabulary, distinctive words, terms and jargon. This could include descriptions of products, fabrics, cuts, knits and materials used in the making of a piece of clothing. All of this can be very sensitive content to translation, and needs to be converted by a native speaker with an in-depth knowledge, not just of the language, but of these fashion terms as well. Imagine one of your very crucial materials not being translated correctly to a distributor or designer; it could result in a whole different end product and cause damage to your brand.  

Besides, we all know that foreign words are vastly used in the fashion industry, whether it be English or French, the fashion industry utilizes a whole array of foreign words for designs, materials and cuts. Deciding whether to use these foreign words or to translate the terms into the target language is something that only a native and specialized fashion translator will know how to do. 


Content localization 

We’ve probably all been in a situation where we were shopping online, and had no idea what the sizes for, say, shoes, meant. Same goes for clothing sizes – buying clothes from a US-based website is completely different from buying them from a European one. This is where, what we mentioned earlier comes in; fashion translation isn’t just the literal translation of words, but of fashion-related terms as well.

Through content localization, clothing, underwear and shoe sizes can be converted through different measuring systems. Different measuring systems are used in different countries, and especially when it comes to shoe sizes, things can get complicated. In the US, stores use inches, while the rest of the world uses centimeters. Another aspect is an XL in Europe can be a completely different size from XL in the US. Being able to correctly convert these measuring values means your customer ends up getting the right size. 


Contribute to your SEO efforts

In today’s world, adapting to search engines is just as important as adapting to your target audience and customers. Yet, something that you should absolutely not do is use the same SEO strategy for all languages. It’s not ideal for search engines and your content will not be indexed or seen properly. It will not be enough to just translate the keywords, but rather you will have to adapt them to the search engine’s liking, and this is where a good translator with a background in SEO as well, comes in handy. 


Key Takeaways

So, now we know what fashion translation is, how it works, and why we should use it. Whether you are a small designer just starting out, or a world-known brand, having a good fashion translator in your team is never a wrong investment.