Beauty copywriting tips: localisation

If your beauty business has a presence in multiple countries – and across cultures and languages – you might need support with beauty copywriting in each market. Working with a local beauty copywriter who knows their market inside and out can be valuable for ensuring your content sounds effective, no matter where it’s being read.

Proofreading after translation

Even if your beauty brand’s copy has been translated by a professional, there’s a chance some phrases don’t sound quite right. It’s certainly not because the translator hasn’t done a good job. It could be because some words or phrases don’t translate neatly across languages. Since beauty copywriting is very descriptive and loaded with adjectives, this is where translations could sound a bit ‘off’.

For example, English has a specific order of adjectives, and when things don’t follow this order, it’s noticeable. A perfect example is the film title, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). If it was My Greek Big Fat Wedding, it wouldn’t sound right to an English-speaking audience. Considering this, a native English-speaking beauty copywriter can help by proofreading the translation and double-checking spelling, grammar, and syntax.

Checking local details

An important consideration for English translations or copy localisation is whether it should be in UK/British English or US/American English. (Australia uses UK/British English). When localising copy across these variations of English, attention needs to be paid to spelling, grammar, and units of measurement.

Additionally, what sounds brilliant in one market may not in another. Even across English-speaking countries, the way brands communicate may need to be different. Australian beauty copywriting generally favours conversational and easygoing language with a bit of character – even the odd swear word here and there isn’t usually a problem. This is less so for North American consumers. Their beauty copywriting tends to be more polished, potent, and purpose-driven. Beauty copywriting for British countries typically lands somewhere in the middle, which often sounds measured and reserved.

Adjusting language and meanings

A lot of communication, written and visual, relies on cultural cues to help support the message. When used correctly, it can make your copy sound clever, sharp, and relevant. However, if this is lost in translation the message could be impacted.

Copy that relies on phrases, ideas, and references that are relevant to one culture or language might end up sounding meaningless to another. Or simply bad. Consulting with a local copywriter or copyeditor is a helpful step to ensure your message will be received as intended. This is particularly important for international campaigns, such as new beauty product launches or innovations.

Amy Hadley

Amy Hadley is a beauty copywriter with a background in print journalism, digital media, public relations, and eCommerce. As someone contributing to the beauty industry, she encourages her clients to use words creatively, sincerely, and responsibly. This is to promote more honest and thoughtful communication in the beauty industry, and better serve its consumers.

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