Basic Methods of Chinese to English Translation of Advertisement

In order to make the translation in line with the target language and easy to accept by the readers, except for the accuracy, the translator should pay more attention to the techniques and methods. The common ways of translation are as follows:

First, Literal Translation

Literal translation is a way of translation that reserves the contents of the original language as well as the original form without going against linguistic norms and not causing incorrect thinking, especially contain the analogy, image and national color and etc. for example,

Drive carefully – the life you save may be your own

安全驾驶 – 救人一命即救己

Second, Paraphrase

In advertising translation, paraphrase requires correctly express the meaning of the original text, but it doesn’t need to limit to its original form. Some sentences that can not or not need to translate literally can use this method to express the right meaning by right words under the context. For example,

If you’re doing business in Philippine, it pays to get the pick of the crop.


Third, Replacement Translation

In English advertisement, there are many phrases consisting of noun plus adjective that has become the set advertisement with strong emotion, which is right for the four character structure in Chinese, where the content and the form are conforming to each other. For example,

选料考究(Choice material)

质地优良(Superior quality)

The English advertisements also use large number of compounds which very flexible in their forms and not limited by the syntax, word category and order, thus forming the set meaning, such as,



Order welcome欢迎选购

Read Also: Translation of Advertising English

Fourth, Translation

Because of different ways of expression arising from cultural and linguistic difference, translating advertisement needs to express the same information from the original linguistic point of view that is transferring the language in different angle in accordance with the context and its structure.

  • Opposing perspectives

Because of different way of thinking, the Chinese and English advertisements can express the same concept in opposing perspectives, to which should be paid attention when doing translation.

For example

Black tea should be translated into “红茶”instead of “黑茶”.

  • Virtual translation and actual translation

In order to conform to the way of expression in Chinese and make readers better understand the original text, in some cases, the virtual expression in English should be actually translated into Chinese and vise versa.

  • Replacing the image

It is very common that the target language and the original language adopt different metaphor to convey the same information; therefore, the translator needs to use their respective image to replace.

Final, there is a method called transliteration

Transliteration can be generally divided into two categories that are nonassociative transliteration and associative transliteration.

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