Advertising Translation Part #2

Before explaining the different ways of conveying the advertising messages, it is important to understand the link between translation and advertising.

Culture stands at the intersection of translation and advertising. In both cases, the target culture should be taken into consideration. To begin with translation, ignoring the cultural differences between the target text and the source text results in mechanical translation, which means translating word for word. The final translation conveys either missing or distorted messages. The fact that every culture has its own way of interpreting the messages, the translator should serve as a filter between target and source texts, that is to say between cultures. Similarly, in the advertising industry, the culture of the target audience is one of the most important issues to consider. Especially in international advertising, the values, beliefs and traditions are the key factors that MNCs have to go over to reach the target audience. The ideas, acts and emotions are cultural products. All the individuals are under the guidance of cultural patterns, historically-created systems of meaning. Advertising reflects these wider systems of meaning. All manifestations of culture are reflected in advertising (De Mooij 1998:43). Without discerning the differences, the advertising campaign may turn into a failure, which means the waste of money and time.

Katharina Reiss has established the first concrete link between translation and advertising. As Adap and Valdes suggest:

“Reiss included advertisements in the group of operative texts of a persuasive nature and assigned them an ‘adaptive’ mode of translation, tailored to the needs and conventions of the receptors of the target text” (2004:171).

She divided the texts into three main categories with respect to their characteristics: informative texts, expressive texts and operative texts. The informative texts, as the name suggests, aim giving information by using a functional language. In expressive texts, the idea and emotions are conveyed within the framework of art and literature. Advertisements and advertising texts fall under the category of operative texts.

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