When translating products from Chinese to English, it is a very difficult task to hold the linguistic characteristics of these two languages so as to express the original information of the products and embody the advertising style and features of the target language at the same time. The following will explore some tips about translation of products from the point of simplicity.
First, Chinese advertisements are very exquisite and often adopt a lot of modifiers to give emphasis while English advertisements always use simple words and adopts spoken language. Therefore, translation of advertisements from Chinese to English should be based on the said features. For example,
These new cars are fast, efficient and handy.
From the above example, we can see the sentence pattern is simple but very vivid.
Second, four word structure is very common in Chinese product advertisements, some of which are idioms and some are free combined. These words are arranged to strengthen the effects by the expressive ways of parallelism and overlapping. But English language does not have this characteristic. So translating advertisements from Chinese into English can express the meaning by preposition or participle paraphrases around headwords or adopt the structure of “to be + adj. + adverbial phrase”. For example:
驰名中外 to be popular both at home and abroad
久负盛名 with a long standing reputation
品质优良 to be excellent in quality
品种齐全 a complete range of articles
Third, general speaking, the Chinese sentences are loose structured with a large number of information in products description which should be translated with simple and compact sentences and give importance to their logic relations. In addition, the following aspects also need to give consideration.
(1) Using more elliptical, simple or compound sentences and less composite sentences
(2) Using more active structures and less passive structures
(3) Using more imperative sentences and less negative sentences
(4) Using more present tense and less other tenses
Fourth, the product description should try to be attractive and enchanting, highlighting the key points and considering wording on the whole instead of jumbling up words and phrases. In Chinese advertisements, there are many polite formulas which can be seen in various advertisements.
On the other hand, some advertisements seems incomplete in their forms but very clear in their meaning, such as “Quality first, Customers first and Prestige first”.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that many foreign advertisements are very impressive and attractive is not because using a lot of modifying words, but adopting many modifying methods such as metaphor, a word or phrase with double meaning, personification, contrast and funny and humorous contents.
For example, a club named Sam’s Club use an advertisement in its hall, which is “Hit your friend with club”. The true meaning of this advertisement is the products of the club will satisfy your friends. Though with a few word, it leave deep impression by readers through humorous this short sentence.