24 October 2011

Lucy hits out at Publicis

Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway is renowned for her insightful criticism of waffle, fluff, guff and other forms of bullshit. Under the heading Management guff lands in China, she writes:
  “The release went on meaninglessly, moronically: 'Our dream is to grow our clients’ business by transforming human behaviour through uplifting, meaningful human experiences.'”
She adds:
  “ You could say that it doesn’t matter. Indeed, one of the most enduring mysteries in business is that there appears to be no link between talking nonsense and performing poorly.
No day at work ever passes without me being sent something from a perfectly successful company that has adopted management talk with no obvious ill effects.”

Apparently, the copy was produced by French masters of business communication (reread those last two words very slowly) Publicis.

Some quick conclusions.
Though common, this largely meaningless fluff and guff has amazingly little impact on sales or results despite the contrary hopes of journalists, technical communicators and translators.
This type of text is more challenging to translate than any other commonly encountered in the business world precisely because it almost sounds, after a quick scan, as though it is saying something, but, on further investigation, turns out to be nothing more than fluff, guff and buzz words.

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