Today, with the bloom of fashion industry since the middle of 20th century across the global, the digital age now has caused the fashion industry to surpass geographical and cultural boundaries. Fashion has become a part of our lives, and from small designer to celebrities, everyone seems to be launching their own label on the global platform. The rise of new retail markets internationally has made it more difficult than ever for multi-national companies to communicate effectively with each other.
Having said that, now languages are in vogue in the fashion industry. International brands and overseas supply chain has made languages essential for a career in fashion. There is no doubt that English is widely spoken in the fashion industry, however, foreign language skills such as Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian and German are becoming more important if we are aiming for the top. Ever since I started my study related to fashion, I have always envied people who can speak several languages and have always wanted to pick up few more languages. Hence, I thought it would be fun to be a fashion interpreter in the fashion industry.
So, what does a fashion interpreter do and what skills are needed? A fashion interpreter basically helps professional from different country to communicate. Not only a fashion interpreter facilitates direct communication, they also help with translating marketing and product information for fashion product. Marketing materials such as look book, magazines, catalogs, billboards and more need to be translated to be marketed in different countries. Moreover, fashion interpreter also plays an important role in translating in international conference, PR events, fashion shows, product launches and more.
To be able to achieve all this job scope, fashion interpreter need to have the knowledge of being native in certain language, and also basic languages on some other important used language that have been mentioned previously. Now, Chinese has emerged to be one of the most useful languages and there is a need for professional translators who can translate English to Chinese and vice versa. Having said that, me being native in mandarin would be helpful, however there’s still a need to learn few more languages like German, Japanese and Italian. In the future, I would have to pick up these languages. Moreover, it is very important to be knowledgeable of the content, structure, grammar composition and spelling of the languages when translating documents. Therefore, to achieve this, a lot of reading has to be done to improve on the skills.
Besides that, being a fashion interpreter needs to have active listening skills and speaking skills in order to communicate clearly and properly to others. Interpretation involving in ‘real time’ such as face-to-face meetings, speeches, product launches and events need the interpreter to be able to translate on the spot. Hence, decisiveness and the ability to remember in a short time are the key skills a interpreter need. To improve listening and speaking skills, I have to practice on active listening, and to be fully in the moment when any conversation is initiated.
Long story short, in the future I would like to be a fashion interpreter and I believe being multilingual can help to make the best of opportunities in the competitive fashion world. To achieve my goal, there is still a huge scope of growth and development to be considered and I would have to improve my overall listening, speaking and writing skills, at the same time pick up few more languages when I am furthering my master studies overseas.