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Cultural Differences in English

By Kristen Adams,2014-09-11 09:38
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Cultural Differences in English

Cultural Differences between English and

Chinese Advertisement Translation

    ABSTRACT

    As the product of culture, advertisement can show the close relationship between language and culture. This paper tries to approach the translation of the trademarks of import and export commodities from the angle of the cultural differencesthus

    promote the development of Chinese economy. This paper discusses some issues about English-Chinese advertisement translation, and sums up some skills. Instead of being limited in faithfulness, English-Chinese advertisement translation should focus on the purpose of selling products. In the process of translating advertisements, cultural differences and product characteristics should be taken into consideration. Cultural differences can show that it is very important to know the western consumers aesthetic conception and their response to the translated trademarks.

    Key Words

    cultural differences; advertisement translation; cross-cultural communication; trademarks translation.

    

    本文从东西方文化差异的角度,探讨我国英汉广告的翻译。本文旨在提高涉外广告的翻译质量和译文的宣传效果,从而更加有效地推动中国经济的发展。文章讨论了英汉广告翻译中应注意的几个问题,总结了广告翻译的规律和技巧。提出了英汉广告翻译不应拘泥于忠实,而应服务于产品销售。在英汉广告翻译的过程中,必须重视东西方的文化差异,必须考虑国外消费者的文化习惯和审美心理,考虑他们对所译商品广告的反应,注意文化之间的转换并与产品特点紧密结合。

    关键词

    文化差异 广告翻译 跨文化交际 商标翻译

    Contents

    Introduction…………………………………………………………………….……...1 I. Brief Introduction to English-Chinese Advertisement……………....................2 1.1.The Definition of Advertisement……….......................................……….……...2 1.2. The Origins of Advertisement………………...…………......……………3 1.3. Basic Functions of Advertisement……..………………………….....………3 II. The Characteristics of English-Chinese Advertisement Translation……………….4 2.1. The Characteristics of the English-Chinese Advertisement Languages…….……4 2.2.Rhetorical Characteristics: Frequent Use of Pun and Alliteration……...............4 2.3. Frequent Use of Emotive words……….…………………....……………..…...5 2.4. Frequent Use of Some Verbs...................................................................................5

    2.5. The Principles of English-Chinese Advertisement Translation…………...........6 III. The Cultural Differences……………………………………………………..........7 3.1. Differences in National Characteristics and Aesthetic Attitude……..…............8 3.2. Differences in Numbers……………..…………..……………..……........8 3.3. Differences in Regional Environments………………………...………………9 3.4. Differences in Colors, Signs and Symbols……........…………....………10 3.5. Differences in Psychological Structures…………………………...………….11 3.6. Differences in Cultural Sense of Values…………....……...……………….11 IV.The Translating Skills of English-Chinese Advertisement Translation…..……....12 4.1. Literal Translation.…………………………...……………………………12 4.2. Translation of Parody……………….…………………...…………………...13 Conclusion……………………………………………………………….………...15 Bibliography……………………………………………………………….…...…….17 Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………...…...16

    Introduction

    In modern times, with the commercialization of society, the role of advertisement becomes more and more important in every-day life. We live in a world of advertisement. With the deepening of economic internationalization, advertisement as sales stimulus plays a crucial role in delivering information. Therefore it appears to be more important to understand, appreciate and translate advertisement language properly.

    English-Chinese advertisement is a transnational and cross-cultural way to promote the sales of various commodities. In the practice of English-Chinese advertisement, translators play a decisive role in the using of appropriate advertisement language. Meanwhile, the style of English-Chinese advertisement is different from other texts and emphasis on cross-cultural feature, so the translation of them requires the application of suitable translation strategies.

    The intensification of English-Chinese exchanges and severe competition creates a growing need for advertisement and thus for advertisement translation. Advertisement translation is getting more and more important, and its role in English-Chinese marketing is indispensable. It is the ultimate purpose of all commercial advertisements to persuade the target audience or potential consumers into buying a product.

    The English advertisement is a lively and distinctive field. What are the features of English ads at a linguistic dimension and how to translate them well into Chinese? All this is given a careful discussion and a detailed study in this paper.

    I. Brief Introduction to English-Chinese Advertisement

    We live in a world of advertisement. As potential consumers, we are endlessly bombarded with all kinds of product or service information from various media including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, posters and Internet, etc. Advertisement becomes indispensable in the modern world.

    With the entry of China into WTO, lots of foreign products pour into Chinese market and compete with the home-made products. In addition, we need improve our external trade, and expand the foreign market too. Under such English-Chinese and economic circumstances, it is necessary for us to notice and investigate English advertisement.

1.1. The Definition of Advertisement

    What is advertisement therefore? There are so many kinds of sayings. One of the famous sayings like that “advertisement is a business of words”. According to the

    Definition Committee of American Marketing Association (FangWei, 1997, 20),

    advertisement is defined as follows:

    Advertisement is the not personal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuade in nature about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through the various media.

    Advertisement provides a valuable service to society and its members, because it defines the meaning and the role of products, services, and institutions for consumers. Advertisement also tell the consumer what a specific product, brand or service should do when it is used and thus help him or her to understand and evaluate experience with the products and services that he or she uses. On the other hand, by making people aware of products, service and ideas, advertisement promote sales and profits. Finally, advertisement is one of the major forces that are helping improve the standard of living around the world.

1.2. The Origins of the Advertisement

    “Advertisement may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.” Stephen Butler Leacock, English-bore

    economist and humorist. And in the book of History of advertisement by Henry

    Sampson, he described the origins of ads: “...there is little doubt that the desire among tradesmen and merchants to make good their wares has had an existence almost as

    long as the customs of buying and selling, and it is but natural to suppose that advertisements in some shape or form have existed not only from time immemorial, but almost for all times.” Because the spoken language development is earlier than reads and writes, the earliest advertisement medium naturally was the pet phrase. Advertisement has been called “the voice of business”, for it announces new products and describes new uses and improved features of familiar ones. It seeks to make people know the things they need and to make them want to buy these things, and it tells what products or services are on the market, and how they can be obtained.

1.3. Basic Functions of Advertisement

    Generally, advertisement has the basic functions as followed:

    Information Function: the information should be real, concrete, simple and easy to understand, lets the consumer understand as soon as they look.

    Demand Creation Function: After the consumer understood the related commodity or the service information, it should instill into the brand-new desire to the consumer, make him to feel curious, to own the interest, to think one truly own the purchase needing.

    Get Action Function: The consumer is convinced accepted the thing which in the advertisement propagandizes, receives is must be urging him to adapt the motion ---- purchase.

    Goodwill Establishment Function: Above five kinds of functions cause the consumer finally to adapt the actual motion to purchase.

    II. The Characteristics of English-Chinese Advertisement Translation

    English-Chinese advertisement translation is a commercial activity with preset purpose. In order to make the information accessible to audience effectively, the choice of words in advertisement is very cautious and skillful. The aim of the advertiser is quite specific. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the

    English-Chinese advertisement languages.

    2.1. Rhetorical Characteristics: Frequent Use of Pun and Alliteration

    Pun is an amusing use of a word or phrase that has two meanings which is called the same sound but different meanings which is called Homonymy. Pun, the game of words, will leave a deep impression on readers by its readability, and humor. However,

    to make a successful and impressive pun is not easy. Except for its own meaning, the word used as a pun is usually closely related to the characteristics of a certain product or the band name of the product. Here we present several classic pun used advertisement. For example:

    “Give your hair a touch of spring

    Ask for more. (More is a famous band of cigarette)

    Give your business the sharp edge. (Sharp Corporation)…”

    Alliteration is the use of words that begin with the same sound in order to make a special communicative effective. Usually they are pleasing to ears because of the clever choice of the word by the advertiser. In addition, the repetition of the beginning sound emphasizes the meaning the advertisement wants to express. Let’s take a look at the examples.

    …, everything you need for that big bargain basement special.

    …, and vitamin E to leave skin soft and smooth”

    Using of rhetoric can solve some problems and make the commodities known by the target consumers.

    2.2. Frequent Use of Emotive Words

    A close scrutiny of recent advertisements suggests that the soft-sell technique is now popular. By soft-sell technique we mean the one that favors a more emotive and less directive approach to promote a product, mainly focusing on the building of brand image. As a result, emotive words, most of which are pleasant adjectives, are greatly encouraged to use.

    Data shows that the most frequently used adjectives are as follows:

    “New, good/better/best, fresh, free, delicious, sure, full, clean, wonderful, special, crisp, real, fine, great, safe, and rich.”

    These adjectives help to build a pleasant picture in readers’ minds and manage to create a belief in the potential consumer: If I buy this product or if I chose this service, I will lead a better life. In addition, comparatives and superlatives occur to highlight the advantage of a certain product or service. For example:

    Nothing comes closer to home. (Vegetable and Chicken Pasta Bake)

    Think Lysol is the best disinfecting spray. (Disinfecting Spray)

     The Compaq Armada family is lighter, with new rounded edges for easier packing. (Compaq)

2.3. Frequent Use of Some verbs

    G..N.Leech, English linguist, lists 20 frequently used verbs in his English In

    Advertisement: Linguistic study of Advertisement In Great Britain. They are: make,

    get, give, have, see, buy, come, go, know, keep, look, need, love, feel, like, choose, take, start, taste. These verbs are frequent used in advertisements. You will often read such sentences in advertisement:

    “We’ll make this quick. (Hertz Car Return)

    All you need is a taste for adventure. (Millstone Coffee)

    You’ll love it even more with the 2.1megapixel C-2000 ZOOM. (Olympus

    Camera)”

    All these frequently used verbs are monosyllabic and most of them have Anglo-Saxon that is the common core of English vocabulary. It wishes to capture the attention of the members of a mass audience and by means of impressive words to persuade them to buy a product. As a result, a translator should learn about these differences, and try his best to eliminate the barriers. Then the target consumers can understand the ads’ meaning.

2.4. The Principles of English-Chinese Advertisement Translation

    “Scopos Theory” holds that advertisement translation, essentially an intentional cross-cultural communication, should take the functions the target text is to achieve in the target culture as the primary reference, which is called Scopos rule by Vermeer. According to this theory, the paper proposes that the fulfillment of the intended functions of the target text should be the guiding principle in the translation of advertisements. The translation should base on an analysis of the stylistic features, reader’s response and target culture.

    Guided by “Scopos Theory” and based on the different characteristics of English and Chinese ads, the principle of advertisement translation is explored.

    When translating Chinese ads, translators should adhere to the following basic principles: natural and exact, succinct and vivid, easy to read and remember.

    “Natural” refers to repeat the original slogan through using smooth expressions which the target consumers can accept. At least, readers will not have too much strange feeling.

     “Exact” refers to that the translated texts should pass on the original slogan precisely, or it will mislead the target consumers. So accuracy is life of advertisement translation.

    “Succinct” refers to transmit most information with least and tersest words.

    Translators can leave out some parts, which are non-informative ones and go against the expressing ways of the target language.

    “Vivid” refers to that translators should use all kinds of rhetoric and various sentence-types, in order to make the target slogan s imaginable, vivid.

    “Easy to read” refers to that the target slogans should be simple, brief, and easy to read.

    “Easy to remember” refers to that the target slogans can arouse abundant association in readers’ mind. At the same time, the target consumers will not forget

    after seeing it.

    Advertisement slogan, which is a form of cross-cultural communication, has distinct language features and styles. The quality of ads matters subsistence of enterprises. To embody the function of ads’ propagating, translators must form

    cross-cultural sense, and master translating skills of advertisement slogans. Finally, they should make the target slogans achieve the rule of “AIDMA”, which are: Attention, Interest, Desire, Memory, Action, and finish five assignments of ads effectively: Information, Persuasion, Maintenance of Demand, Creating Mass Market, and Quality. The translation should be faithfulness, attractiveness and acceptability.

    III. The Cultural Differences

    The different states cultural differences in English-Chinese advertisement are not allowed to neglect major problem. The cultural difference creates the different thinking mode, the psychological characteristic; the value idea and so on can affect the understanding of the advertisement as well as the advertisement effect. So, the advertisement should change the focal point, angle and style of the advertisement according to the characteristics of different countries when being held to draft people, carry on the new intention to conceive in the way that the audiences can understand, can be accepted, can become interested it. While carrying on the English-Chinese advertisement translating, translators must pay special attention to the cultural differences. We must find one to suit and click in foreign culture and national culture.

    Cultural differences have an essential bearing upon translation. Even approximate equivalent and loan words have different implications and usages in English and Chinese. Most problems, however, concern the core of culture: ways of life, values (including ethical criteria, ideology, religion, and relevant terms of address and relations of kinship) and ways of thinking and writing, which vary greatly from

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