English to French Transcreation: Getting Your Newsletter Subject Line Right

Email copywriting is a tough job. Your newsletter subject line is meant to be snappy and sharp. You only get a split second to catch your reader’s attention. As a French Copywriter, I ponder a lot on how I would adapt newsletter subject lines for a French audience. How do you retain the style and meaning while sounding local? Practice makes perfect so I have set out to translate and adapt this Moda Operandi newsletter subject line.

Translating the newsletter subject line

moda-operandi-newsletter-moschinoSource language: Moschino: Do You Measure Up?
Target language: Moschino : Êtes-vous de taille ?

The Moschino Pre-Fall 2015 collection has just landed on Moda Operandi. The American online luxury retailer shouts about it in a recent newsletter.

I chose to translate this subject line into ‘Êtes-vous de taille ?‘ for two reasons. First, it is because measuring up to something or somebody means to reach the required or expected standards. Moschino is an iconic fashion house well-known for its tongue-in-cheek collections.

Secondly, I felt there is another dimension to this newsletter subject line. The Pre-Fall 2015 Moschino collection is inspired by the art of clothes making and its tools. The word ‘measure‘ reflects both the idea of being up for the challenge and of body measurements taken by tailors. ‘Être de taille‘ means to be strong enough to do something. I thought the French copy would read well as ‘taille‘ is linked to the tailoring lingo. It can refer to your size or height.

Punctuation rules

  • In British English and American English, a colon is never preceded by a white space and is always followed by a single white space. A colon is more likely to be followed by a capital letter in American English, not so much in British English.
  • In French, a colon -called ‘deux-points‘- is always preceded and followed by a white space. A colon is never followed by a capital letter unless it is a quote.

Find out how I have adapted the rest of the Moda Operandi email into French in my next post.

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