At present, the commercial advertisement in foreign trade is mainly translation from Chinese to English; therefore, it is of important significance in studying Chinese to English translation of advertisement.
For a long term, the commercial advertisement has formed its unique style and characteristics, mainly including:
- Simple and easy to understand
- Strong infection
- Full of slang and common sayings
There are three ways in the translation of advertisement from Chinese to English, which is paraphrase, transliteration and mix of the two.
Paraphrase, for example,“凤凰”洗衣机(PHOENIX Washing Machine),“钻石”风扇(Diamond Electric Fan),“红鸟”鞋油(Red Bird Shoe Polish) and etc.
Transliteration, for example,“光明日报”(GUANGMING RIBAO),“敦煌”牌(DUN HUANG)
Mix of the two, for example, “广州出口的先和堂乌鸡白凤丸”is translated into Xian Ho Tang Brand Wu Ji Bai Feng Wan (Black-boned White Chicken Pill), the adoption two methods of translation would be better than just using one.
The following should be pay serious attention in translating trademarks:
First, misunderstanding, undesirable thinking and harmful for Country politically should be avoid as minimum as possible. For example,“白熊牌”translated into Polar Bear would lead people to think that it is made in Russian. So just translating into White Bear is better.
Second, due to different social background, English words contain metaphor and taboo words; therefore, it should be careful and try to avoid these words when doing translation. For example, “乌鸡白凤丸”had been translated into Black Cock Pill and because this Chinese patent drug is very useful for women if often taken, and the word Cock also hint the meaning of male genitals, it is obvious that this translation is not suitable. And the foreign friends advise to change into Black Rooster.
Third, in order to increase the memorable value to trademarks, words that are not essential should be deleted during translation. For example, the word “brand” is rarely seen in English, so we do not need translate “牌”into “brand”.