留学生广告学dissertation：On Chinese and American Commercial Advertisement Translation Techniques from the View of Cultural Values
Abstract: Along with the profound development of world economy and China’s opening to the outside world, China and America keep an increasingly close relationship in the economic field. Undisputedly, commercial advertisement plays an irreplaceable part of the process of purchases and sales. However, owing to the cultural values difference between China and America, the advertisers should take the cultural characters and audiences’ mentality into careful consideration. Therefore, appropriate commercial advertisement translation becomes particularly important nowadays.
For the sake of improving the quality of commercial advertisement translation and making contribution to expanding the market, the writer of this paper makes a research on the inner link between commercial advertisement language, commercial advertisement translation and culture from the point of cross-culture. Based on the origin of the different culture and the core cultural values differences in commercial advertisement translation in China and America, the writer sets about explaining the advertisement translation techniques—domestication and foreignization, then make an analysis into the relationship of them and presents their practical application in commercial advertisement translation under the different cultural value background. Finally the writer points out the main trend of translation techniques in modern commercial advertisement translation by using some examples.
Key Words: cultural values; commercial advertisement translation techniques; domestication and foreignization
1. Introduction 1
2. Relationship between Advertisement translation and culture 1
3. Core Cultural values in Chinese and American commercial Advertisement language 3
3.1 Collectivism versus individualism 3
3.2 Respect of authority versus respect of self-performance 4
4. Commercial Advertisement translation techniques under the background 5
4.1 Conflict and coincidence between domestication and foreignization translation…………………………………....................................................5
4.2 Domestication and foreignization in English-Chinese commercial Advertisement translation 6
4.2.1 Adoption of domestication translation tecnique in English-Chinese commercial Advertisement translation 6
4.2.2 Adoption of foreignization translation technique in English-Chinese commercial advertisement translation………………………………………..............................................7
5. Conclusion 9
Language, as a part of cultural whole, is a tool that carries and transmits other cultural forms, influencing them and at the same time influenced and shaped by the cultural whole. Any kind of language existed in certain background and is conditioned by that culture. Without exception, advertising language is reflective of literature, psychology and aesthetics of the cultural community. It carries marks of influence of that cultural community’s tradition in its world views, social values, religion and the like. However, due to the different values in china and America, which are originated from the different religious belief. The impotence of an interlingua and intercultural activity, commercial advertisement translation and the influence of culture should not be avoided. During the process of promoting understanding and cultural exchanges between China and America, the status of commercial advertisement translation becomes increasingly essential. But restrictions are given by the core values differences in the two countries, like the contrast of collectivism and individualism, as well as the respect of authority versus respect of self-performance. For this reason, the author will firstly demonstrate the interactive relationship between commercial advertisement language, commercial advertisement translation and culture in chapter 2, then point out the main two values differences in China and America. The collectivism versus individualism and respect of authority versus respect of self-performance are separately stated in chapter 3. After that, the translation techniques of, mainly supported by Nida and Venuti, will be analyzed with cases in this thesis, and much attention will also be paid on the relationship of the two strategies, which have always been in controversy and also consistency in some way. After the cultural background demonstrated above, the paper will show the concrete application of the two translation techniques in commercial advertisement translation of the day. At the same time, the main trend of translation techniques in modern commercial advertisement translation will be demonstrated by using some examples. All of which is contributed to smoother commercial advertisement translation and the further promotion of cultural exchange between China and America.
2. Relationship between Advertisement translation and culture
Nowadays, translation is not just for cross-linguistic communication, but for cross-cultural communication. With the development of international communication today, translating from a cultural perspective is becoming a new trend. An ideal translation should convey both the linguistic meaning and the cultural meaning of SL into TL, so that both the SL reader and the TL reader can have the same experience. In some way, the significance of translation is to promote cultural communication and social development. Therefore, before researching into advertising translation, the relationship of Advertisement translation and culture should be attached some importance. #p#分页标题#e#
Translation is by definition interlingua and intercultural, it involves both linguistic and cultural transfer. It is a culture-transcending process (Vermeer 1984:40). It is obviously hard to imagine the transformation of culture and communication between different peoples without the assistance afforded by translation activity. As the research of translation promotes, translation has been replaced by “intercultural communication”(ChristianceNord,1991),“interculturalcooperation ”(R.Daniel.Shaw,1984:17), then Nida has also become aware of the great importance of cultural factors in translating. He insists that the cultural factors in translating are more significant than the purely linguistic differences. So he once wrote, “for truly successful translating, biculturalism is even more important than bilingualism, since words only have meanings in terms of the cultures in which they function.”(Nida 2001:82)
In modern world, with the connection among different countries getting enhanced in the areas of politics, commerce and society, translation gradually opens up new and increasingly specialized areas of usage in transmitting cultures, of which the commercial advertisement translation will be focused in this essay. Undoubtedly, commercial advertisement translation is a process to promote understanding and cultural exchanges among different nations and boost the development of international economy. On the contrary, culture also exerts a huge influence on commercial advertisement translation. Over years of translating and culture, take China and America for example, hot dog-热狗 is from American culture, but they become no longer strange for Chinese people. By comparison, traditional Chinese food, Jiaozi, tofu has also been favored by Americans. In a word, both nations’ cultures have enriched or a little bit changed by foreign culture through one of the medium- advertisement translation, during which the principle “seeking for common ground while reserving differences” has always been implemented. Finally, there is no doubt that advertisement translation will go on playing a promoting role in the culture exchanges among different nations and be conditioned and influenced by culture at the same time.
3. Core Cultural values in Chinese and American commercial Advertisement language
With the rapid development of world economy, commercial advertisement, acting as a carrier of economical exchange among different countries, can be caught sight of everywhere. When studying commercial advertisements, both the language habits of the audiences and cultural values should be taken into consideration. Many people argue the most effective advertisements are those that best express and affirm core cultural values. In this chapter, the core values demonstrated in commercial Advertisements between China and America will be explained in detail.
3.1 Collectivism versus individualism
Profoundly influenced by Confucianism and Taoism, Chinese culture holds the spirit of cooperation and unselfish tribute in esteem, which insists that the value of individuality should be reflected in one’s contribution to others and the society. In the eyes of Chinese people, the individual happiness should correspond to the collective interests, and the solicitous care and considerate feeling are the virtue. So Chinese people pay more attention to national affairs, family affairs, everything concerned, and giving others considerate care is regarded as virtue. On the contrary, the American culture emphasizes on personality, freedom, self-development, and enterprising spirits and so on. Their individualism insists that the personal interests should always be the first to consider. For example, one of the core American values is individualism, which is the center of American social identity. Therefore, Advertisements that celebrate this value are more likely to succeed than those ignore it. All of the above points will be proved in the examples below.#p#分页标题#e#
Group 1: 屈臣氏----更加关心您！
Group 2: you are unique, you are magnifique, Lancôme.
A.S. Watson Group (Hong Kong) Ltd, founded in 1828, has experienced a long history of development. While market economy is increasingly full-fledged, Watson realizes that what the customers tend to buy are not only commodities but also the pleasure of shopping and some invisible value, such as the brand, service, and then produce the loyalty to the enterprise by identifying its culture. It advocates three ideas: health, good and fun, which aims at improving the life quality of the customers and reaching the unification between people’s inner beauty and outer beauty. Therefore, this company uses “更加关心您” as its slogan, which complies with the general collectivism value and takes customers’ interests into full consideration. In this way, the whole image of Watson leaves a deep impression on its customers and then achieves great profits for this company. On the contrary, Lancôme focuses on the uniqueness and magnifiqueness of individual, which hints that, if the customers choose the products from Lancôme, she will be someone different from the ordinary others. Therefore, this slogan reveals the prevailing individualism in America and the advertisement seeks to help customers enjoy a sense of uniqueness, just like you are you, the only special one in the whole world. So there is no doubt that popularity of Lancôme is always lasting.
3.2 Respect of authority versus respect of self-performance
From quite a long time ago, Chinese culture stresses on the public opinion in the instruction of collectivism. It insists that people should be modest enough to solicit comments and suggestions from others. Besides, it also regards that the records can prove everything. Therefore, the authority has a great power to affect the purchase of the consumers. There is no doubt that respect of authority is one important feature of Chinese advertisements. When introducing new products to the consumers, advertisers often enumerate the honors and certificates and let them occupy a pivotal position. Especially in modern China, the advertisements for many electronic products have been added into the popular topics in society nowadays, such as 国际体系认证，中国环保产品质量信得过重点品牌，绿色，健康，无公害，低碳，so and so forth，through which the superior quality of the products is shown. However，quite different from Chinese advertisements, American advertisements rarely have this kind of expressing way. Because the American individualism centers on personal value and treat the official position just as a common thing. It advocates personal capability, self striving and creating wealth. Those English advertisements introduce the peculiarities and good points of the products to the readers, or hint the consumers will feel the sense of being special and promisingly successful if they own those products. So the advertisers in America usually design the advertisements by taking the consumers’ essential interests as the base and by taking the idea of self value realization as the goal. All of the above points will be proved in the examples below.#p#分页标题#e#
Group 3: 海尔，中国造!━━海尔
Group 4: "Think outside the box" — Apple Computer, 1990s
Haier, using a simple phrase: made in China as its slogan, aims at emphasizing that authority of a nation and demonstrating a kind of national pride, which is impressive in both inland and outland. While for Apple computer, thinking outside the box is their origin of scientific creation. This slogan shows that the company devotes to creating and thinking differently, which obviously is the respect of self-performance.
To sum up, it is quite clear that different cultural value may lead to different tendency of advertising languages.
4. Commercial Advertisement translation techniques under the background
Based on what has been discussed in chapter 3, cultural value differences may lead to the varieties in commercial advertisement language. Therefore, it becomes necessary to take cultural factors into careful consideration when translating commercial advertisements among different countries. Approaches to cultures involved in translation may be mainly divided into two methods: SL culture-oriented and TL culture-oriented. As is shown in chapter 3, commercial advertisement translation cannot be separated from culture. Based on this point, a problem arises: How should translators deal with the different kinds of cultural elements appearing in the process of translation? It is known to all professional translators that the cognition of the real world is different between message senders and receivers, and there does not necessarily exist a corresponding relation.(Reeves1994) Then the translation internal differences developed on the question that how to deal with cultural differences when translating. Generally speaking, it is divided into two opposing opinions, the so-called " domestication " and " foreignization " ，which will be discussed in this chapter comprehensively.
4.1 Conflict and coincidence between domestication and foreignization translation in commercial advertisement translation
It has been a long history that the domestication translation and foreignization translation are in controversy. In the development of translation, the debate on foreignization or domestication can be regarded as the extension of the debate on “literal translation” and “free translation”. A literal translation is a translation that follows closely not only the content but also the form of the source language; it is also known as word-for-word translation. And translators engaged in literalism have been willing to sacrifice the formal elements of the target language and even the intelligibility of the target language text for the sake of preserving what they regard as the integrity of the source text. Those people who favor free translation have quite often chosen to sacrifice the form of the source language for the sake of elegance and intelligibility in the target language. But most scholars hold that literal and free translation are limited on the level of content and form, when two languages are very similar in their structures, the issue of literal versus free translating may not seen to be so acute. However, Functionalist theory places emphasis on the expected function of texts and translations, in this way, domestication and foreignization are not only incompatible, but should complement with each other. They are just two different strategies of translation; we should not bring them to extremes: domestication does not mean translators can make adaptations at will, while foreignization does not equal word-for-word translation or static translation. What we should do is to draw a balance between the two sides; choosing one does not negate the application of another. Even if the translator takes domestication as the dominating strategy in order for the translation to be easily understood by the receivers, he/she can also reserve the original images concerning specific culturally loaded expressions; on the other hand, even if the translation is to preserve the exoticism to import foreign cultures into the target language, changes must be made on certain points which appear quite unnatural or even unaccepted by the target readers and language. On the basis of a comprehensive analysis of various factors involved in translation, the translators follow both domestication and foreignization, and they can make decisions on the problems of which cultural factors in the original should be reserved and how to reserve them, which factors should be adapted so as to be accepted in the target culture and the extent of the adaptation. That is to say, there is no point to say that one strategy is better than the other, so long as they can serve the intended function of the text in the target language, each of them have their role in translation.#p#分页标题#e#
4.2 Domestication and foreignization translation techniques in English-Chinese commercial Advertisement translation
Based on what has been discussed in the above section, owing to the different cultural values in China and America analyzed in chapter 3, translation techniques in commercial advertisement can be generally divided into three kinds, which will be discussed in the following sections.
4.2.1 Adoption of domestication translation technique in English-Chinese commercial advertisement translation
In the modern international world, commercial advertisement translation tends to achieve the resonance from the audiences in the target language country and at the same time encourage them to buy the advertised products, which tends to show that, compared with foreignization translation; domestication translation is on the decisive edge, which will be proved in the examples below.
Group 5: 科技以人为本（诺基亚）----connecting people
“科技以人为本” is not firstly put forward by Nokia, but Nokia achieves the connotation of this phrase incisively and vividly. since it entered Chinese market, its original slogan “connecting people” are translated into the Chinese sentence: 科技以人为本, which is a reflection of the highly valued collectivism and humanity in China. In other words, this successful translation case takes the cultural value in target language into fully consideration and adopts the domestication translation technique, which is one of the essential reasons why Nokia is even so popular in China.
Group 6: 沙宣洗发水：我的光彩来自你的风采
VS Sassoon is one of the hair products under the brand of Procter＆Gamble. “My brilliances come from your presence”, which shows that the slogan of this product complies with the general collectivism value in China and takes customers’ interests into full consideration. Therefore, this is typically an example of domestication translation technique.
From the examples above, commercial advertisement translation should comply with the cultural value in target language, which is the requirement from domestication translation. Only in this way, can the advertisement achieve its real effect in market promotion.
4.2.2 Adoption of foreignization translation technique in English-Chinese commercial advertisement translation
With the increasingly communication of international economy and culture, the cultural differences between different countries are receiving more and more respect. The principle “seeking common points while reserving difference” is highly advocated. Therefore, in this sense, foreignization translation technique should also be adopted in appropriate situations. Besides, it may be a creation in the field of translation when applying foreignization strategy, some successful commercial advertisement translation examples demonstrate that even in this field, foreignization translation does have its solid foothold,. just as what has been shown in example 7, 8. #p#分页标题#e#
Group 7: just do it! ----Nike
Nike, with the classical slogan “just do it”, becomes the first brand among various kinds of sports goods. “Just do it” is still inherited as Nike comes to Chinese market in 1980, which can be translated into “只管去做”, “就这么干吧” in Chinese. It is an extreme example of demonstrating individualism and personal performance in American culture. As long as you start to take action, you will be the different one. This slogan encourages self-performance and the individual creation, which is also suitable for the spiritual situation of young generation in China. Therefore, without any domestic change in translation, this slogan is widely accepted in China.
Group 8: 李宁 让改变发生----Make the change
The classical Chinese sports brand, Li Ning, holds the new advertisement from July in 2010. “I am not a novel, I just can't agree with the invariable. Don't take me with others, I only compare with myself inch by inch. For the road you arrange for me always let me get lost. And you won't find the new world with the old map. I prefer to believe change is power. Let’s make the change.” All of them present the respect for personal performance and creation among the young generation. Therefore, “让改变发生” is directly translated into “Make the change”, which is coincident with the cultural value in America society.
Based on what has been analyzed above, the translation of some commercial advertisement can adopt the foreignization translation technique properly when the cultural value showing in the advertisement is not in conflict with target language. Moreover, it may be a good way to make the audiences feel closer.
All in all, the two translation strategies can be coincident in commercial advertisement translation. The above examples above also reveal that domestication and foreignization are supplement. Both of them play essential parts in successful translation cases. The choices of translation strategies are not single. A commercial advertisement translator should establish the proper translated terms by complying with the traditional Chinese culture and at the same time following the development of Chinese and English. Both of them should be fully made use of to improve the quality of commercial advertisement translation, and then promote the development and communication of international economy and culture.
In this thesis, the author makes an initial analysis of cultural values demonstrating in Chinese and American advertisements, which are collectivism versus individualism and respect of authority versus respect of self-performance. At the same time, the author presents the relationship between commercial advertisement translation and culture. With all the cultural background presented above, the author focuses on explaining the two main translation strategies in commercial advertisement translation techniques: domestication translation and foreignization translation, which includes the conflict and consistency of them in English-Chinese commercial advertisement translation and then focus on their application in different situations. Based all the points discussed in this thesis, the author tends to draw a conclusion: Owing to the different culture systems, different values and languages are produced. Therefore, the activities carried out under the background are also deeply influenced. Commercial advertisement translation should be culture oriented. And for the two translation strategies, domestication translation and foreignization translation, there should not be conflict anymore. Both of them should be fully made use of to improve the quality of commercial advertisement translation, and then promote the development of international economy. What’s more, as the main trend of the world is to establish culture communication instead of cultural conquering, foreignization translation strategy should be attached high importance, which is also a profound advance made for the international topic----peace and development.#p#分页标题#e#
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I owe a particular debt of gratitude to Miss Fei tianxiang, my supervisor, who has devoted her precious time to reading through each draft and making critical comments. Without her consistent advice and encouragements, completion of this thesis would not have been possible.
I am grateful to all my teachers during my B.A studies at MianYang Normal University for their precious and inspiring advice from which the ideas in this thesis have come, as well as to all the authors of the works I have quoted from.
I should also give my appreciation to my supportive schoolmates, with whom I have shared and learned a lot on thesis-writing.
And finally I once again would like to thank my beloved teacher, Miss Fei, who has always been here for me and encouraging and conducting me to pull through all these hard days when I was the most vulnerable to self-doubt and despair.
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