How Culture Influences Advertisement Translation.
In our everyday life, every time we watch television or while we are surfing the internet, advertising is behind the corner and sometimes we do not even realize we are listening to it. We are bombarded by slogans and catchy phrases that catch our attention and make us customers of the product advertised in a way that is not direct but instead hidden and implicit. Without being aware of it, we buy products because when shopping, something triggered in our mind: a hidden input given by a catchy phrase or a picture in the advert we remember. This is in fact the power of advertising: keeping the customers’ memory alive on the product. For big companies it is therefore important to translate the advertisements and slogans in the most appropriate way to the target language, using words and phrases that function in the same way as the source text and have the same impact on customers. This is a quite difficult job because not only the text has to be translated, but the target language text should also convey the feelings and emotions played around the source text of the commercial. Literal translations are for this reason not enough effective because the translator should also reproduce the atmosphere and feeling of the slogan, attract the attention and create memorable phrases which in a different target language could be quite different from the source language. Translation can be intended as a product or as a process. The process of translation involves the translator who has the task of changing the original text (source text) in a source language into a text (target text) in a target language. Transferring the meaning and the main idea of a text into a target language could at first sight seem easy, but the translator has on the contrary a great and significant task, and sometimes needs to interpret from the source text and put some personal features to the target text. When analyzing advertising as discourse we find out that although the main focus of discourse analysis is on language, it is not concerned to language alone: in fact it analyzes and examines the context of communication, in other words who is communicating with whom and why, the society, the music combined to pictures. Then the discourse analysis must take into consideration these modes of communication too. There is in fact a distinction in advertising between text and context: the text is normally used to convey linguistic forms, whereas the context includes much more, like the music played during the advert, the pictures, the paralanguage (meaningful behaviour accompanying language such as gestures, voice quality and facial expressions), the addressers with their interpretations, and the function. Discourse in advertising is for this reason a mix of text and context. In the process of advertising the translator has to be very careful of the words to choose. The language used has to be very expressive and effective in order to make the slogan memorable and dispose the customer favourably towards the product on offer. Another important feature of the text of the advert is catching the customer’s attention, conveyed by using a rich and striking vocabulary, stock phrases and short words to achieve memorization. There are advantages in making controversial statements as well as communicating with people using straightforward language. Moreover slogans sometimes introduce odd and new words, not grammatically correct, but that become common in use because people become used to them by hearing the slogan everyday on television or on the radio, and they become assimilated with this language. Words moreover not only describe things but are used to convey feelings about what we are describing and they bring ideas in customers’ minds.
The aim of my essay is to give a comparison of the way translators use language differently in connection to the source language and culture,...
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Munday, J. (2008) Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications. London and New York: Routledge.
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