The Translation of International Advertisements: A Cross-cultural Perspective SHEN Yang * (College of Foreign Languages, Shaoxing University, Shaoxing, Zhejiang, 312000, China) Abstract: Culture plays a central role in international advertising. The translation should fulfill the function of the original advertisements and have a similar effect on the target receivers. This paper focuses on cultural factors in the process of translating international advertisements, based on which four translation methods are to be discussed, namely, communicative translation, idiomatic translation, free translation and adaptation. By way of ample exemplification, it tries to demonstrate the significance of cultural equivalence and illustrate the applicability and feasibility of each approach in translating international advertisements. Key words: international advertisement; cultural equivalence; communicative translation; idiomatic translation; free translation; adaptation 1. Introduction
In the age of information, advertisements have infiltrated into all walks of life and become an important source of information as well as an indispensable part of our life in the modern world. Especially after China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, a great number of foreign commodities have been introduced into the Chinese market, and vice versa. Thus it is necessary to set up a good image of and create an international reputation for both parties’ products through the process of advertising. However, as a means of cross-cultural sales promotion, international advertisements, other than an economic activity, is at the same time a cross-cultural communication in which the concept of one culture colliding into that of another. Both Chinese and English advertising languages are affected by cultural factors, resulting in the unique features respectively in their own patterns of advertising composition. Based on this assumption, it is the translator’s responsibility to take the cultural factor into account while translating international advertisements and attach great importance to the translation of culture. This paper focuses on cultural factors in the process of translating international advertisements and several approaches suggested by Peter Newmark are to be discussed in order to arrive at an adequate solution to various problems. 2. The Role of Culture in Advertisements
Culture plays a central role in international advertisements. Objects, ideas and concepts are created in a cultural context and conveyed by linguistic or non-linguistic signs. Brislin defines culture as “recurring patterns of behaviors”(Brislin, 1990: 9-11). These patterns of behaviors are employed by advertisers to manipulate and persuade the receivers to simulate consumer behaviors depicted in the advertisements. This brings us to the question of the role of culture in language and the significance of culture in advertisements. The importance of SHEN Yang(1980- ), female, M.A., assistant of College of Foreign Languages, Shaoxing University; research field: translation theories and practice. 80SL emphasis Word-for-word translation
Literal translation Faithful translation
The Translation of International Advertisement: A Cross-cultural Perspective culture has become widely recognized within the field of marketing during the past decades. According to Brislin, culture consists of “ideals, values, formation and uses of categories, assumptions about life, and goal-directed activities that become unconsciously or subconsciously accepted as ‘right’ and ‘correct’ by people who identify themselves as a society”(ibid). These cultural ideals are evident and prevalent in the reality of an individual in a specific society. People and advertisements communicating within the same culture share a common pool of experience, frames of ideology and cultural perspectives. But when a product of this society, such as an international advertisement, has to be translated into another language...
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