The translation of advertising texts : a study of English-language printed advertisments and their translations in Russian
Since the end of Communism, adverts for Western products have been flooding onto the Russian market. These have undergone translation, with strategies ranging from complete transference of the source text into the target culture, to the creation of new texts based on advertisers' briefs. The choice of strategy, it appears, is dependent on the power balance between the agents of translation, including not only translators, but advertisers, designers, governments, text receivers and on the cultural, historical and economic situation in which the translation takes place. This thesis suggests advertisement translation be considered in terms of power, culture and history. A postcolonial framework is used to set out changes in translation strategy, emphasize the role of power differentials and make predictions for practice. Seeing translated adverts as `contact zones' where different cultures meet, the empirical research centres on the absorption of the `dominant's' culture into that of the `subjugated', and focuses on the interaction of `foreign' and `native' elements in these translated adverts. A parallel corpus of contemporary English adverts, their translated Russian pairs, and a control corpus of native Russian adverts provides the research data. A taxonomy of rhetorical figures employed in advertising headlines is constructed and their translation investigated, highlighting rhetorical trends, and instances where translators have been hindered by advertisers. The visibility of the linguistic Other is examined with reference to loanwords, loan meanings, calques and word formation; and two case studies relating to colour terms and names. Finally, the power relations between companies, customers and intermediaries are discussed in light of their portrayal in the translated adverts. The results show that the `post-colonial' contact zone is a mixture of `colonizer' and `colonized'; and demonstrate the necessity of giving translators the power their expert status deserves if translated adverts are to persuade the target audience.