Cultural Differences in English-Chinese Advertisement Translation
Abstract：Advertisement refers to non-personal communication of information which is usually paid for and usually persuasive nature about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through various media. In the process of increasing profits,
manipulating social values and attitudes, and shaping people’s life style,advertisement unconsciously outputs some cultural awareness and changes people’s thinking ways or values. This thesis gives a detailed analysis of culture-specific English-Chinese advertisement translation and probes some effective ways into it .The basic theory of the article is Skopos Theory. Through systematic study from this article, we can further our understanding of the charm of language.
Keywords：advertising words；culture ；differences
Chapter One Introduction
Advertisement is a form of communication that typically attempts to persuade the potential customers into purchasing or consuming products or service of a brand.In the advertising world, people have a general understanding of products or services , including price , color ,function of them . Along the way,We can see endlessly advertisement from various media,such as television,magazines and Internet．etc．
Advertising language is the core of advertisement, and contains and reflects certain social philosophy, moral caliber and cultural habits. Because of the barrier of culture awareness, many advertising language are impossible to interprete which lead to the failure of transaction. As we know Chinese belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language culture as well as English belongs to Indo-European language culture.We should find out the different features from both Chinese and English.
Chapter Two Basic principles of English advertisement translation—Skopos Theory
2.1、Brief introduction to Skopos Theory
Generally speaking, culture refers to the total pattern of beliefs, customs, institutions, objects, and techniques that characterize the life of a human community. Language is viewed as a part of culture and translation is a bilingual art of cross-cultural communication .Snell-Hornby (1988) once claimed that translation process could no longer be envisaged as being between two languages but between two cultures involving “cross-cultural transfer”. Therefore, as an intercultural activity, advertisement translation requires the translator to put acceptance degree of target people in the first place and adequately consider culture-specific in advertisement. Otherwise, it is impossible to put publicity into effect. Along the way, the company will fail to realize its market value.
As a result , in the process of advertisement translation, the target consumers should be taken into consideration including their attitudes, beliefs, values. The criterion to a successful translation is judged not by the language it conveys , but by the function it achieves in the receptors. Skopos theory offers a sound foundation for such translation practice.
Skopos theory is a theory of purposeful action. It points out that translation should arouse the same feeling in its receptors as the feeling of the readers of the original.That is to say, when the translator translates the advertisements, they will try to produce a text in the target setting for target addressee in target circumstances. They pay more attention to the intended function the producer wants to achieve in target surrounding . Through advertisement language, target consumer can have a sense of awareness and comprehend the function of the product, then they will be persuaded into buying it.
2.2、The principles of English ADS translation
2.2.1、Language and culture
In the process of translation , we have to abide by many principles. First, we should consider the public reaction. That is to say, because the purpose of advertisement translation is to persuade non domestic consumers into buying products from alien culture, advertisement translator needs to consider their cultural reality and take measures to make those advertisement language get across by them. Only if non-domestic consumers understand and appreciate those advertisements, can advertisements reach their ultimate goal, that is, to make profit .
But then, we must pay attention to various policies and regulations of different countries. There are many taboos in different cultural background, so that we have to make sure that our advertisement should be legal.Therefore,the cultural differences between languages should be fully considered in the process of translation.In order to attract the target especially non-domestic consumers, it is significant for translators to be aware of the differences between Chinese culture and western culture, and try to make the translated version have the same impact on those non-domestic consumers.
Chapter Three Rhetorical devices in English advertisement
Most advertisement language use rhetorical devices to catch consumers’ eye and arouse their curiosity of the product so that they will take action and purchase this product.
Hyperbole is connected with rich imagination which is based on objective reality.Characteristic of this method is to overstate or understate the feature of a thing so as to enhance the effects of expression.The main purpose of advertisements from different brands is to persuade consumers into buying their products or trying the special services.As a result,the translation of the products is important.In order to translate the advertisements well,we can follow the advertisements themselves,using hyperbole to impress the consumers.For example:A diamond is forever(钻石恒久远，一颗永流传). This sentence uses hyperbole because the truth is that diamond will not be forever treasured and forever circulated.“It cost less than breakfast at the White House”(这一顿早餐比白宫的还便宜).Obviously,it uses the hyperbole to describethe fantastic breakfast,which can even be compared to the breakfast at the White House.Most people had no chance to eat breakfast at White house,so that many people will be persuaded by this ADS and want to have a try.Just like this kind of ADS will hit a success.
Personification is a way to give life to the products.The goods have feelings and activities just like human beings. Personification can be expressed through verbs, adjectives, etc. The usage of personification in English advertisement is similar to Chinese,which may arouse the same image in consumers’ mind. Using this rhetorical device can make advertising vivid and lively.For example,the advertisement from Intel:Intel inside(给电脑一颗奔腾的“芯”) .This is typical of personification gimmick.The computer can't have the heart like human beings,Here manufacturer wants to stress the function of Intel which plays the same role as heart to a person. “Poetry in motion,dancing close to me”(动态的诗向我舞近).This is a car ADS.Obviously,poetry can not have physical action like creatures.But it uses the verb“dancing”,which creates an elegant image of the car.Our imagination has been broadened.And“Flowers by Interflora speak from the heart”.This advertisement wants to show the sincere quality of the flowers, charming and excellent.
The metaphor is a widely-used rhetoric device. A metaphor is applied to describe a subject by asserting a totally unrelated thing and compare both of them by exploring the common features in both of them.This method can make the abstract things become concrete, also can get the obscure concept across by readers.That’s why advertisements always select metaphor to depict thegoods.People will comprehend the language easily and tend to buy the product it proclaims.Look at the following insurance advertisement：You’d better off under the umbrella.The“umbrella”is not the umbrella we used when it rains.It means a kind of protection from the insurance company.When it is translated into Chinese language,The allusive meaning is impossible to interprete.Another example,“Life is a journey,enjoy the ride”(生活就像一场旅行，请您尽情欣赏).This ADS compares life to travel,so that we will have a sound understanding of life.
Pun is a form of word games that exists in all languages concluding English and Chinese.There are two meanings to the same word or phrase.Puns are welcome in English advertisement,which will make the language go smooth and concise and funny.The classic advertisement line of Rejoice:Start ahead.(成功之路，从头开始).It’s a brilliant pun that connects the function of the shampoo with the way of success. The implication is profound and makes a person think twice about the words after reading the advertisement.“The unique spirit of Canada;we bottled it”.The word“spirit”not only means the wine，but also means“the spirit of Canada”.The“bottle”means“drink up”and just the bottle that was full of the wine.
Rhyme is a figure of speech which is used a lot in English ads. It includes alliteration and end-rhyme which make the ad have a good sense of rhyme and reading ability.And rhyming sentences usually is very interesting, making a person relaxing and happy when read these words.This universal way will enable people to communicate easily.For example that “Good teeth,Good health” or “My goodness，my Guinness”.
ChapterFourLexical features of advertisement English
Apart from the rhetorical devices in Advertisement English Lexical features of advertisement often leave a deep impression on consumers’ mind. They include using some verbs, adjectives, and pronouns frequently to convey the information and enhance the effect of language expression. As to advertisement language, words are flexible and stand for different meaning in different context.
English advertisements are succinct and tend to use verbs to push consumers forward to buy goods.In such cultural background,verbs are used to set up a bridge between customers and advertising.Such as love,use,give,feel and so on.For example:Just do it.This is an advertisement of Nike.The slogan reflects the westerners’concept of individuality. They just care about their own feelings and do anything to their taste.Westerners are straight-forward and don’t like to beat around the bush, so that they will express their views directly.
Adjective is widely –used in advertisement language.The most common-used adjectives are: new, the best, the big, delicious, and indeed, etc.All of the adjectives are aimed at describing the quality or type of the products. We can see it everywhere because it refers to describe every dimensions of the products,including the color, shape, appearance and size.If we want to make our advertisement vivid and appealing,we can choose to use adjectives.Adjectives help to render the ADS words more colorful and enhance the amazing effects of the products.Both Chinese and English like using adjectives.Such as “Impossible made possible”.It uses two opposites“impossible”and“possible”.They are adjectives.This ADS uses only three words, but the entire statement has the endless power and makes a person have the feeling of motivation.The Lexus has an ADS:“The relentless pursuit of perfection.”The word“relentless”isperfect in interpreting the meaning of the brand.Translate it into Chinese is“追求完美没有止境”.
Pronouns are generally used in a specific form,which can be divided into two types.One of them is personal pronouns,another is indefinite pronouns. Personal pronouns concluded “I,We,You”.In this way,people will feel warmth from the advertisement,which will shorten the distances between customers and products. The first person is always indicating the advertiser and second is customer.The second person “You” is popular and is used everywhere in English advertisements.For example,the advertisement from Kodak：You press the button,we do the rest. What’s more,the indefinite pronouns shows that the products is accepted by the whole world or everyone. Such as the watch advertisement:None is more amazing than Alba Quartz.
ChapterFiveStrategies of English advertisement
Since translation of ADS is a kind of the international culture communication,the ideal method to do it is to deliver as much information as possible from original culture to the target country.The meaning and the rhythm of the ADS that are translated by the translators should be similar to the original.But it is difficult for translator to find equivalent words in the target language which have the same function as those in the original language.When translators are forced to make choice between “most suitable and natural words” and “equivalence” to the target language, they have to figure out the expected function of product or service and find a way to it . The key is to readjust the original advertisement on the basis of analyzing and understanding connotation of the advertisement.
When some English advertisements are interpreted into Chinese, the original meaning is impossible to convey.As a result,the brands will choose transliteration to fully explicit.Such as Pizza(披萨饼),Dove(德芙巧克力),Puma(彪马).They are all not on their behalf of product’s functions.
As for the culture-bound problems in English-Chinese advertisements, the translators explore the technique of free translation.Free translation is the technique of flexibility and creativity.It can both keep the original information, and guarantee the interest of AD.Free translation may mainly convey the meaning and spirit of the original without trying to reproduce its sentence patterns or figures of speech.Sometimes if we use transliteration to translate the ADS,we will fall into dead translation.Then we should choose free translation to depict the ADS.Every successful advertisement language is connected with simple elements,which will make the ADS be remembered easily.Once we read,we will feel clean and fresh.
Paraphrase refers to convey the meaning and spirit of the original without trying to reproduce its sentence patterns or figures of speech. For example, For example,the Pepsi Cola has been translated into百事可乐，which means everything is working and we will get what we want in our daily life