Translation and interpretation of advertising from English to Russian

    The advertisement is engine of the trade. And its value over the past 10 years has grown just astronomically. In fact, no product or service can count on normal sales if it is not actively advertised.

    According to the agency Dentsu Aegis Network , in 2019 the global advertising market will grow by 3.8% and amount to 625 billion dollars.

    In the face of fierce competition, large international companies spend huge amounts of money on advertising. For example, Proctor & Gamble in 2018 spent over 2.88 billion dollars on advertising.

    Many companies create one global advertising campaign, which is localized for individual markets. Therefore, the correct translation and interpretation of commercials, texts, slogans and messages is of great importance for the company's sales and profits.

    This is a rather difficult translation industry, because it is directly related to improving the image of companies in individual markets and increasing sales.

    In today's article we will look at several features of the translation and interpretation of advertising texts from English into Russian. With examples, naturally.

    Translation of advertising texts: difficulties and challenges

    Advertising translation today is singled out in a completely separate area of ​​the translator’s activity, which requires from a specialist not only an ideal knowledge of the stylistic subtleties and cultural nuances of the Russian and English languages, but also a clear understanding of the psychology of the consumer.

    Advertising texts and slogans are extremely rarely translated literally, because in most cases, literal translation does not allow to fully convey the meaning, mood and presentation. Translated into another language, the same phrase may have other semantic shades that change its perception.

    It is important for a translator not only to translate the text, but also to conduct its sociolinguistic adaptation. Some linguists use a separate term for this process - transcreation. The translator essentially re-creates the meanings of the advertising text. Therefore, knowledge of psychology and a clear definition of the target audience is a must.

    Linguistic Adaptation Ad Text

    When adapting advertising, slogans and names, it is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of perception of meanings for a specific audience.

    It is important that the text convey meaning and mood. But if the original marketers use various tricks to improve the perception of the text, then it becomes more difficult to translate it. There are a lot of such tricks: puns and puns, rhyming, consonance of separate words or double meanings of phrases.

    If they are, then 100% accurate translation becomes impossible. The translator can only come as close as possible to the original submission. Some experts do this perfectly well:
    A classic example with the slogan of the brand Gillette.

    In the original, it sounds “Gillette. The best a man can get. ”

    Simple, strong and memorable slogan, the effect of which largely depends just on the rhyme.

    They translated it into Russian with dignity - “Gillette. Better for a man there. ”

    The translation preserved a short and capacious form, a clear rhythm, and most importantly - rhyming with the name of the brand. The slogan is actively used by the company to this day.

    But there are situations when it is absolutely impossible to convey a message. In this case, marketers either completely rework advertising, or do not launch it at all in the market of another country. Let's look at the Felix cat food ads from Purina.
    For example, in 1994, the company widely used the slogan "Cats like Felix like Felix".

    This pun is possible because of the duplicate meaning of words.

    • Felix can mean both the name of the cat and the name of the advertised feed.
    • like can have the meaning of "how" or "like" (when compared) and "love".

    The phrase itself can be literally translated in several ways:
    Cats like Felix love “Felix”.
    Cats love Felix as Felix.

    The second option seems to be more in line with the original, but it absolutely does not convey the play of words like-like, which is why the meaning is completely lost. And the slogan sounds very sloppy. Therefore, this ad on the Russian-speaking market is not broadcast.
    Modern Purina advertising campaigns have become more versatile. Marketers are now taking into account the possibility of translation and do not abuse puns.

    The visual of the original video remains the same - only the sound line changes. And this is where active adaptation is required to provide a more accurate perception of advertising by the consumer.

    Here is the original video:

    Please note that the first part of the commercial (approximately 13 seconds) goes without words at all. A voiceover, which, in fact, advertises products, starts only from 18 seconds.

    For the Western market, such a video format is acceptable, but Russian-speaking people perceive “dumb” advertising very poorly. It is important for them that the visual range on the video is complemented by sound.

    Here is the same video for the Russian market:

    Marketers have added a few phrases that were not in the original video.
    “Felix, well, mischievous. I saw my favorite yummy food and immediately came up with a cunning plan. ”
    Next comes the adapted translation. Let's compare advertising messages in Russian and in English:
    Clever Felix. He'll do anything for his “As good as it looks”. You can see the succulent meaty pieces. Clever cats get Felix.

    Good girl, Felix. That just does not come up for the mouth-watering pieces. Home-made delicious food. Your cat will ask for supplements. Resourceful cat "Felix" will find.
    The first sentence is Clever Felix. It seems nothing complicated. But in Russian, the adjective was replaced by a noun - “smart-clever”, which made the beginning of the phrase more natural.

    The second sentence is He'll do anything for his "As good as it looks." Here is a play on words. "As good as it looks" is the name of the brand. But it can not be left untranslated, so this part was replaced by the phrase "delicious pieces."

    This decision created a problem, because in the third sentence it was no longer possible to use the translation of the phrase “the succulent meaty pieces” (juicy meat pieces) - it would be a tautology. Instead, they used a phrase "home-style tasty." To be honest, it is difficult to imagine home-like tasty cat food, but the phrase is perceived at the subconscious level: “home-like tasty” = “very tasty”.

    Fourth sentence [You can see] how much he loves it. Again replacing the common expression "ask for supplements." The direct translation “you will see how he likes it” sounds clearly weaker than the adaptation “your cat will ask for supplements”.

    And the end is a slogan. Russian analogue sounds even better than the original. In the phrase "resourceful cat" Felix will find "there is a rhyme, it sounds nice and quickly remembered - this is important for a Russian-speaking buyer. In the phrase "sewn" brand name, which contributes to sales.

    The use of the word “resourceful” is also interesting. Translators chose a less common translation of the word “clever” - this made the phrase fresh and unfree.

    Cultural and creative adaptation

    There is a separate category of commercials, which are inherently much closer to art than to the marketing tool. To translate such videos literally and without style adaptation is a real crime.

    Translation of such texts and commercials is a literary task and in its meaning is closer to the translation of literary texts. After all, such advertising should cause certain emotions. And the task of the translator is to create such a text in Russian, which will cause absolutely the same set of cognitive sensations.
    For example, take an ad for Johnnie Walker whiskey "Dear Brother". By the way, a very powerful advertisement, which by its emotions more resembles a plot from a movie.

    The difficulty is that the original ad text is a poem. That is, it was necessary not only to keep the mood and the presentation of the commercial, but also to transmit it in a poetic form.

    However, the translators handled it well. We shake hands with them. Advertising in Russian is perceived in the same way as in English. Poems do not correspond to the original size and rhythm, but the main thing - they convey the meaning in full. It is important.

    You can evaluate the result of the work of translators yourself. Here is a movie in Russian:

    Let's dig into the text a little bit. We will not consider the poetic correspondence to the original, because the translation of poems has always been at the highest level of difficulty for the translator.

    Nevertheless, experts very successfully convey the original style:
    «Когда дорогой юности пойдём.
    Родными тропами, где детство наше, где наш дом…»

    «… Изгони моих бесов и ступай, брат, со мной,
    покуда идти нам тропою одной...»

    Juicy literary language sounds very attractive. One wants to listen to him not only as part of a video series, but also as a full-fledged poem.

    The translators even managed to observe the timings, which mark the climax.

    The phrase “And my memory will never die” absolutely fits into the moment when, when you first watch, there comes a moment of awareness, which is actually described in the video. And this is the most important, because it is the culmination that generates emotions, for the sake of which the video was filmed and which later are associated with the brand. If you screw it up - all ads will be ineffective.

    It is difficult, because the translator is responsible not only for a competent translation, but also for his perception by the consumer. Therefore, the translator needs to be not only a linguist, but also a good psychologist.

    Advertising translation is a difficult task, because the company's profits depend on the right advertising. This is a class for top pros. What do you think? - online English learning platform

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