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Condorama: Reflections on the World of Condo Advertising

By Barbara McClintock, Certified Translator

Most condo website advertising is compelling, masterfully crafted prose with unique language, such as loggias, hammams and motor courts to name only a few expressions. A loggia is a type of gallery or open-sided extension to a house, which is often an historical building. In the case of a co-ownership, it is probably a fancy word to describe a patio or balcony. A hammam is a type of sauna and motor court refers to the driveway leading to an open area near the entryway for passenger drop-off. It gives residents space to unload their belongings.

Here are a few examples:

“An exceptional flagship project.” “Perfect balance between vanguard design and unparalleled architectural allurement.” “Sumptuous penthouses, and every condo in the project envelops you in a mysterious and distinguished atmosphere.” “An iconic silhouette in the skyline.”
It is a major challenge to translate condo sales pitches, so it is worthwhile comparing existing translations. Adaptation is usually required. Here are a few examples of weak translations into English from condo project ads found online:

Unique en son genre
Poor: unique in its kind
Better: one of a kind
Arrangements travail et vie personnelle
Poor: arrangement of work-live
Better: live-work arrangement or work-life balance

S’installer dans un condo, c’est s’accorder l’élégance de l’histoire, le dynamisme de la modernité et l’intensité d’un lieu de vie en pleine éclosion.

Poor: When moving in you’re allowing yourself the historical elegance, modern vibrancy and the strength of a blooming living environment.
Better: When you move in, you will benefit from the historical elegance, modern convenience and vibrancy of an exciting living environment.
The following expressions are quite popular in condo advertising.

Aires communes jouant d’audace et de caractère

Common areas that highlight boldness and character

En plein cœur de la ville

Located in the downtown core

Environnement branché, foisonnant d’innovation et de culture

Trendy environment, rich with culture and innovation

Haut de gamme et raffiné

Upscale and refined

Le nec plus ultra

The ultimate (condo experience)

Pour ceux qui vivent de raffinement et d’authenticité

For those who crave refinement and authenticity

Rien n’est laissé au hasard

Nothing is left to chance or curated

Soigneusement sélectionné

Carefully handpicked or curated

The above examples illustrate the challenge and hopefully the fun of translating and adapting in the highly competitive world of condo sales.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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