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On Advertisement Translation from English to Chinese in Light of Functional Equi

2019-10-24 10:03:22

On Advertisement Translation from English to Chinese in Light of Functional Equivalence

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Abstract
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The theories which proposed by Eugene A. Nida have affected many Chinese and foreign translators for a long time, especially the theory of functional equivalence. Functional equivalence refers to the equivalence on the functions but not on the forms and structures. 
In our daily life, we live with different advertisements, some of which are translated works. These advertisements are aimed at giving the potential customers a lasting impression and persuading them to buy their product. Therefore, in order to express the ideas of the original works and realize the goal for sale, the translators should take account of the cultural elements and social elements in order to achieve functional equivalence.
This paper consists of three parts. The first part deals with the concept of functional equivalence and its aims and principles. The main aim of functional equivalence is to represent the information of the original work in the target language and achieve the equivalence of functions of languages. In order to make this concept clear, the author gives a brief introduction of different functions. Although different languages have different characteristics, their functions are nearly the same. That is to name the reality and to communicate with the people. The second part deals with the target, principles, requirements and cultural elements of advertisement translation. The third part, the most important part, points out the three main aspects of functional equivalence, semantic equivalence, social-cultural equivalence and stylistic equivalence. At the meantime, the equivalence on different levels and how to achieve functional equivalence in advertisement translation are also systematically illustrated. 
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Key words: functional equivalence; advertisement translation; cultural elements
 
Acknowledgements
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First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my supervisor, Professor X, both for his intellectual guidance and for his warm and constant encouragement during the process of writing this thesis. With patience and prudence, he labored through drafts of this thesis and pointed out defects in my theorizing. Therefore, I owe all the merits in this thesis, if any, to him, though I am fully aware that the thesis might still contain some mistakes, for which I bear the whole responsibility.
My cordial and sincere thanks go to all the teachers in Applied Foreign Language Department, whose interesting and informative courses have benefited me a lot during my college years. The profit that I gained from their profound knowledge, remarkable expertise and intellectual ingenuity will be of everlasting significance to my future life and career.
I am also very grateful to my classmates, who have given me a lot of help and courage during my stay in the University and throughout the process of writing this thesis. 
Last but not the least; big thanks go to my family who have shared with me my worries, frustrations, and hopefully my ultimate happiness in eventually finishing this thesis.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Contents
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中文摘要……………………………………………………………...………………………..i
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………….…...ii
Acknowledgements……………………..……………………………………………………...iii
Introduction………………………………………………………………….…………….……1
I. A Brief Review of Functional Equivalence…………………………………………….…….2
A. Definition of Functional Equivalence …………………………………………….…...3
B. Different Functions………...…………………………………………………………..4
C. Aims and Targets……………………..………………………………………… ..…..5
II. A Brief Review of Advertisement Translation from English to Chinese………………........6
A. Targets and Principles of Advertisement Translation…..……….……………………..7
B. Requirements for Advertisement Translation……..……………………………….…..9
C. Cultural Elements in Advertisement Translation………………………………….….11
III. Advertisement Translation from English to Chinese in Light of Functional
Equivalence…………………………………………………………………………….…13
A. The Differences Between Two Languages………………….……………………..….15
B. Functional Equivalence in English Advertisement Translation….……………….…..17
Conclusion……………………………………………….………..……………………….….19
Notes…………………………………………………………………………………….........20
Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………….….22
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On Advertisement Translation from English to Chinese in Light of Functional Equivalence
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Introduction
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In our daily life, we always see or hear many advertisements on the radio, billboards, magazines, newspaper and so on. The translation of advertisement plays an important role in the cultural exchanges of different countries. After entering WTO, China has been faced with fiercer competition, so the advertisement has become more and more important for it is always used as the way to promote the sales of goods. The excellent advertisement is not only understandable for everyone, but also has an elegant style. It can easily encourage people to buy the goods. Therefore, a good translation of an advertisement is also important to promote the sales of the goods in the country of the target language. 
Most translators may be familiar with the theory of functional equivalence which is systematically illustrated by Eugene A. Nida. It is stated primarily in terms of a comparison of the way in which the original receptors understood and appreciated the text and the way in which receptors of the translated text understand and appreciate the translated text.1 That is to say, the adequacy of translations is judged on the basis of the correspondence in lexicon and grammar between the source and target languages.
Functional equivalence is a powerful weapon for information exchange. The translation work which follows the principles of functional equivalence is much easier to understand.
However, functional equivalence is very abstract to most people. In order to make it clear, this paper chooses advertisement translation to analyze its every aspect. Due to the differences between English and Chinese, the advertisement translation from English to Chinese should be undertaken in different translation techniques with the guidance of functional equivalence. 
I. A Brief Review of Functional Equivalence
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The similarity of the thoughts of human beings determines that the similarities are more than the differences between English and Chinese. The equivalence of languages makes it possible to convert the source language into the target language. However, the convert is not just a process to translate the words from one language to another language. Translation should be a task to recur the information of the original work in a most natural way. That is to say, translation should rebuild the surficial forms of the original information, convert the views of expression and replace the meaning of the original work with the meaning of the translated work. Therefore, equivalence is the most important basis for translation. The translated work can be of higher quality if it achieves more equivalence with the original work. 
Functional equivalence is originally termed as dynamic equivalence, which is to be defined by the degree where the receptor of the source language message should respond in substantially the same way as the target language receptor to the translated version. It is very important to all kinds of translation. The reason is that English and Chinese have many differences in their forms, grammars, sentence structures and so on. Therefore, in the process of translation, to convey the information of the original work is the focus and the most difficult part. After all, the receptors of the translated work expect to know the content of the original work.
Functional equivalence also emphasizes the cultural elements. If a translated work does not reflect the cultural elements of the original work, it must be a failure. Therefore, the translator should be bilingual and bicultural.
Nida always holds a view that syntax and lexeme are the biggest barriers for the translators.2 The translators devoted to English-Chinese translation may agree with him. Most of them have learned English through the grammar, so their translation concept is often affected by the grammar and sentence structure. Functional equivalence is a powerful weapon for the translators to overcome these barriers. Functional equivalence can fall into three parts. First, the word classes replace the traditional parts of speech to describe the semantic relations of the words. Second, the concept of kernel sentence and the concept of sentence transformation can overcome the restriction of syntax to a translator. Third, isomorphism can overcome the barriers caused by the social and cultural differences.3 
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A. Definition of Functional Equivalence
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A maximal, ideal definition could be stated as “The readers of a translated text should be able to understand and appreciate it in essentially the same manner as the original readers did.”4
A minimal, realistic definition of functional equivalence could be stated as “The readers of a translated text should be able to comprehend it to the point that they can conceive of how the original readers of the text must have understood and appreciate it.”5
 “Poets,” according to Shelley, “are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”6
In the 1950s, for example, while Ellington was still alive, Raymond Horricks compared him with Ravel, Delius, and Debussy:
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The continually enquiring mind of Ellington…has sought to extend steadily the imaginative boundaries of the musical form on which it subsists…. Ellington since the mid-1930s has been engaged upon extending both the imagery and the formal construction of written jazz.6 
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Ellington’s earliest attempt to move beyond the three-minute limit received … 
Figures in literature are either flat characters (one dimensional figures, figures with simple personalities) or round characters (complex figures). The characters described in the first chapter of The Great Gatsby can well be regarded as flat:
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I never saw this great-uncle, but I’m supposed to look like him----with special reference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in father’s office. 
I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. 7
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However, F. Scott Fitzgerald succeeds in changing these flat figures into round ones through his master-hand writing skills and in-depth characterization.
 
B. Different Functions 
 
The theory of functional equivalence involves nine functions: expressive, cognitive, interpersonal, informative…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Conclusion
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With the rapid development of the international trade, advertisement has become an indispensable part in our life. To some extent, it has become our guide in the aspect of consuming. No doubt, we are now living in the age of advertisement. Therefore, to translate a good and effective advertisement is increasingly important for attracting the potential customers and promoting the sale of the products in the international market.
Since Chinese and English are two quite different languages, the translation from English to Chinese is not an easy task. The translator should learn well the cultural and social background of the original work, the differences of their sentence structures and also their habits of expression. Although there are so many differences between the two languages, the functions of all the languages are the same. That is to name the reality and to communicative with the people. It is just the basis for the translation from English to Chinese. 
…, …
Through a relative thorough analysis of functional equivalence and advertisement translation, the readers of the essay may have a clear understanding of the details and aspects of advertisement translation. The readers may appreciate the advantages of   functional equivalence in the process of advertisement translation. Functional equivalence helps the translators overcome the barrier of translation. That is the forms and structures of the language of the original work. Advertisement translation has its special aims. It is not only for information exchange, but also for encouraging the customers to buy the products. This is the ultimate aim of advertisement translation. Therefore, the translators should not only express the accurate meaning of the original work, but also pay attention to the diction of words and the cultural elements. The translation work will fail to realize its aims if it neglects the cultural elements such as the tradition, customs and habits of the target country. The analysis of these aspects in this essay may give the readers a little enlightenment. 
 
 
 
Notes
1 Eugene A Nida, Language, Culture and Translating (Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 1993), 116.
2 转引自叶子南著,《高级英汉翻译理论与实践》,北京:清华大学出版社,2001年,第164页。
3 叶子南,第164页。
4 Eugene A. Nida, 117.
5 Ibid., 118.
……
11 Eugene A. Nida, Toward a Science of Translating (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1964), 166.
12 Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter and Lisa A. Stefani. Communication between Cultures (Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2000), 60.
13转引自靳涵身编著,《诗型广告翻译研究》,成都:四川大学出版社,2004年, 第228页。
14靳涵身, 第229页。
15靳涵身, 第228页。
16靳涵身, 第228页。
17贾德江,《英汉语对比研究与翻译》,长沙:国防科技大学出版社,2002年,第117页。
18转引自贾德江,《英汉语对比研究与翻译》,长沙:国防科技大学出版社,2002年,第130页。
19 Eugene A. Nida, Translation: Applications and Research (New York: Gardner Press, 1976), 48.
20 Ibid., 50.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bibliography
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Davis, Nicolas E., and Gregory Crane, ed. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
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http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/Literary_Criticism/new_criticism/ 
 
Powell, Welter W.. “The Health-Science Information Struggle: The Private Information Industry versus The National Library of Medicine.” New England Journal of Medicine 307 (15 July 1982), 201-223.
 
Shatzkin, Leonard. In Cold Type: Overcoming the Book Crisis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982.
 
Starr, Paul. “The Electronic Reader.” In Reading in the 1980s. Ed. Stephen Braubard. New York: Bowker, 1983.
 
 
桂诗春、宁春岩主编 《语言学方法论》,北京:外语教学与研究出版社,1997。
 
廖七一 “庞德与胡适诗歌翻译的文化思考,”《外国语》2003(6),第54-59页。
 
尤今·奈达著,严久生译 《语言文化与翻译》,呼和浩特:内蒙古大学出版, 1998。
 
中国对外翻译出版公司 《诗词翻译的艺术》,北京:中国对外翻译出版公司,1987。
 
 


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