The Art of Translating Warhol for Asia

Category: Culture, Translation Services

Andy Warhol once said,

“They always say time changes things,
but you actually have to change them yourself.”

The same is true when your goal is to translate a great pop artist’s work on a 14-week timeline. This was precisely the challenge the Acclaro team faced when The Andy Warhol Museum needed to localize a mobile app and website for their historic exhibition Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal, which opens December 15 in Hong Kong.

For the show, The Warhol asked Acclaro to translate into Chinese their D.I.Y. Pop app for iPhone and iPad, as well as the education section of their website. Given the inflexibility of the exhibition’s multi-city travel schedule, the project had to begin immediately with only a portion of the original assets ready to go. The project also came with some extraordinary demands. While translating and localizing content always requires a nuanced approach, the stakes were much higher when handling materials for a 20th century art icon.

To address the challenge, Acclaro sought out the most qualified linguists to provide art-specific marketing translations. For consistency and accuracy, we also compiled art- and brand-specific linguistic glossaries and style guides.

With the clock running and team in place, we put our most advanced project management and workflow processes in play. This required managing the various components in parallel, while at the same time employing a single editor for each language to review all of the translations. Our “follow-the-sun” project management model engaged our offices in different time zones across the globe to ensure continuous 24-hour production and on-time delivery. To read in more detail about our approach to this translation project, read our article Translating Warhol: A Mini Case Study.

We’re proud to have been a part of this exciting exhibition, and we wish The Warhol Museum the best of luck on their tour. We like to think Warhol himselfwould have approved of the partnership as well. After all, he also said,

“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art of all.”