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18/01/2007 - par Mark Tungate

As an Englishman I've often been in the pub, but this is the first time I've been in la pub. Almost by ­accident, I have become a part-time copywriter.

Let's get one thing straight : 90 % of the time, I'm a journalist. But as a freelance, I can't afford to limit myself to writing articles. I have to get involved in other forms of writing, too : brochures, annual reports, translating... lots of translating. One of things I translated last year was a print campaign for Bordeaux wines. In theory it was an easy job - just translating a few French slogans into English. But, as is often the case, there was no direct translation. So I came up with a series of puns based on the word château. The agency seemed happy, and I forgot all about it.

Then, at Christmas time, I was on a train to my family's home in England. I opened a copy of The Times - and there was one of the ads I had translated. It was nothing special, but it gave me a strange feeling of contentment.

Have I sold my soul by writing advertising instead of just writing ABOUT it ? I don't think so. The next time I have to interview a copywriter, I will understand how hard their job can be. It's much easier to write about somebody when you can empathize with them. But I don't want all you copywriters out there to think I want to steal your jobs. You occasionally write letters and opinion pieces for magazines like this one. And I occasionally help out an agency.

But most of the time, I stay

on my side of the fence.

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