• 2007-01-13

    fashion translation questioned 时尚英语翻译堪忧


    Never buy into those fashion messages propagated by the Chinese Fashion companies.Especially those touted as having solid working ties with a foreign(ideally US) fashion firm.Their corporate intro never fail to mention they get the latest fashion trend,"Dripping with freshness and In-ness"  all the way from the forefront of world fashion Mecca(The likes of New York and London).They play up their images as the exclusive Chinese interface with and gateway to the world's high fashion,spoilt for fashion info and tip-offs,all apparently thanks to their good working relationship with that certain foreign firm with presumed proximity to the world's fashion centers.

    No,the problem is not at the source,not always,but rather,on the receiving end.

    The fashion stuff they acquire from abroad is genuine,and sometimes very valid.It's just that THEY JUST DON'T GET IT.Why?Because of the translation.Or more precisely,what gets lost in Translation.The translators they hire are all just unable to discern and tackle the nuance you always see in fashion info.They just chose to convey the simple message and content themselves with that,which is apparently easier to do.For instance,the edge as in "an edge of feminine style" almost always gets dropped out in Chinese translation.The "edge",as intended by the info packager,means "a dash of"(一丝), a not-so-dominant,yet not-so-subtle-either demonstration of some elements(my translation,though a bit ponderous,nonetheless hits the mark:几丝女性风格的锋利介入).You can't expect to observe the nuance and subtlety of this in the Chinese version.No,not simplicity.But awful,gross,deliberate,irresponsible and downright unprofessional betrayal of FACTS.The only reason it never raised an alarm yet is that in fashion,what's the worst that could happen?The worst-case scenario is that the designers failed to get the true fashion message or idea and come up with half-baked themes and schemes.Customers would be worse-served,but never to the point of rebellion.For they are hardly any better-informed.

      A fashion layman,I hardly know anything on the professional side.But I do know this for a fact: In China The fashion as introduced from abroad is so corrupted and unreliable it is not worth the while to assimilate any and act on. Until it begins to get serious about,yes,translation.

    Again,I speak from first-hand experience and you may quote me on this...