03 March 2022

A translator of languages, numbers and cultures: Meet Vera

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Vera was born in Flemish Brabant, and she studied and lived in Brussels. Vera now also works in our capital city, which she could talk about for hours because she loves it so much. She proudly identifies with the Brussels reputation, celebrating the mix of cultures and languages that make up the city. This is parallels with her background too, as it is through a mixture of talents and experiences (and lots of languages) that she is today such a unique UX Copywriter.

To be a great UX copywriter, you need to have an excellent analytical mind. You must know how to "be" the customer and empathetically experience the customer journey on all the digital platforms of a brand. Vera with her agile pen always knows how to find the word, the phrase, the formula that will give the customer the impression of being at home when navigating the digital world of BNP Paribas Fortis banking. In banking, copywriting demands a unique level of translation from numbers to concepts to words, in an attractive and human way. Vera is so comfortable in banking copywriting thanks to her the complex blend of her past experiences and ease translating between languages and cultures.

Word player

When she was 18, Vera was full of questions and doubts when it came to choosing her university studies. After all, at 18, it's a big burden to have to choose the direction of your professional life! But Vera has always loved two things more than anything else: languages and writing. So she chose to study translation, specializing in French, English and Greek!

The next logical choice was to become a translator, at which she really shined. If you talk to Vera for just a few minutes and you will understand her love of languages, she can (and likes to!) switch from her native Dutch to French or English in a second, playing with the most apt words.

But Vera is very creative, and in translation at the time there was little demand for that skill. Vera notes that today the market has evolved, including the fairly recent notion of transcreation (creative translation) becoming more important. Belgium is a perfect example: for the same brand, two tones of voice are needed to reach the North and the South of the same country, using words that are specific to them.

Copy, right?

Vera's entry into copywriting was almost by chance. A friend praised the creativity of her writing, even in her e-mails. The comment of "you should come to an advertising agency and be a copywriter", touched Vera’s curiosity. Vera loves nothing more than a good challenge, so... challenge accepted! She had an interview, a test, but no job at first. But the test made a difference and when Vera left her job as a translator, an advertising agency offered her first assignment as a copywriter. She learned the job, finding it a challenge that excited her more than it frightened her!

"It's a sector that doesn't have a great image... I loved the idea of putting my pen to work for banks in order to help them communicate better with their customers".

Vera Sluys, UX Copywriter

In just a few years, Vera has become a true copywriting expert. Short copy, long copy, DM, traditional copy, digital copy, she knows all about it.

Birth of a banking specialist

It is therefore full of confidence and legitimacy that she leaves the agency environment to work in-house. That was the beginning of a long professional relationship between Vera and the banking sector, which began with her collaboration with ING.

What's stands out about Vera is that she likes to take risks, to be challenged, to be everywhere--especially where you don't expect her. It is with great aplomb and pride that she explains her choice of the banking sector: "It's a sector that doesn't have a great image, for many people, bankers are thieves, but we need them. I loved the idea of putting my pen to work for banks in order to help them communicate better with their customers".

(U)X files

This understanding of the customer, of the target audience, is an incredible strength. When Vera left the ING ship at Ariad, we immediately thought of her for an important assignment at another leader in the Belgian banking world, BNP Paribas Fortis. The bank was looking for a UX copywriter, i.e. a copywriter who creates all the texts for the consumer's journey on the bank's digital platforms. The aim? To make sure that the consumer feels confident at all times and to guide them towards conversion.

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You might think that Vera is far away from her original job as a translator, but in the end, not so much. Originally, Vera translated texts from Dutch to English, today, in her own way, she translates the objectives of her clients to match their customers needs and translates banking jargon to be closer to them. There's no doubt that experience in translation has been part of the equation in creating the fantastic UX copywriter she is today.

Speaking of UX copywriting, it is no wonder that the field is on everyone's lips these days as we spend more time online every year and manage more aspects of our lives digitally. UX copywriting is about making the online customer experience as pleasant and understandable as possible and many leading companies are starting to focus on this value to the customer.

For Vera, it's no surprise: "When a customer wants to create an account in a branch, the bank employee is the reassuring element, the person who will guide them, answer their questions, comfort them. UX copywriting is the reassuring and convincing speech of the bank employee, but online."

A successful job is a team job

Beware, a perfect customer journey is not 'just' a matter of UX according to Vera. Indeed, upstream, the TV, radio and online ads and CTAs must be sufficiently impactful and convincing to bring the customer to the site. Once on the site, the UX begins its work.

Vera is fascinating and if we could best sum up this incredible collaborator, it would be by saying that her job is creating experience as fun and clever as she is!

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