This Week’s Challenge: Lost in Translation

Posted inDavid Sherwin
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Lost In Translation - English Revision of Mizkan Ad - David Sherwin

Your ad reads: “Lorem ispsum consequat dolor ix vox populii.” Either your audience is fluent in designer’s Latin, or you need to roll up your sleeves and start writing some real headlines.

Crafting copy for a design project can be fun if you have a strong command of your native tongue—though if writing is not your forte, the process can be nerve-wracking.

But don’t be scared. You’ve probably been a copywriter at some point in your life. Just think back to when you took a trip to a foreign land. When confronted by cryptic billboards and bewildering ad images, you couldn’t help but write sales copy on the fly. How else could you process that otherwise unintelligible mass of foreign characters atop a smiling, bikini-clad woman clutching a piping-hot cappuccino?

Use the following challenge to take a journey into the mind of a copywriter.

Within 30 minutes, find a foreign-language advertisement and redesign it with text you’ve written in your native tongue. Try not to adjust the layout to fit your words. What will help this foreign ad make sense to those who speak your language?

In the above example, I took a print ad for Mizkan—a brand of rice vinegar—and tried to translate the body copy from the original ad:

Lost in Translation - Original Mizkan Ad