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Study of advertising language

Structure (composition) of advertisements is determined by their purpose and tasks referred to. A very common feature of any advertisement is the advertising claims which possesses certain peculiarities and is of great interest to a translator.

As it has been mentioned, the first chapter of this work examines the main features and peculiarities of advertisements and ways of their translation. In particular, the following aspects were presented: structure (composition) of advertisements of different types; main features present in different types of advertisements; syntactical features and their functional importance; lexical peculiarities – main vocabulary characteristics; advertisements, ways of translating advertisements focusing especially on difficulties and peculiarities of advertisement translation. The following conclusions were drawn:

Structure (composition) of advertisements is determined by their purpose and tasks referred to. Thus, advertisements may present a solid text of a considerable length or they may consist of a few sentences, phrases or even words. The style of advertisements is dependent upon the purpose of the advertisement. The main stylistic features characteristic of all types of advertisements were presented and it was stated that the advertisements of a logical nature, i.e. in order to be translated properly they must be understood properly; they might be formal; they are always showing various emotions which are traps for a consumer, and they may be precise or vague.

Very often the advertised product may not be named directly but through various was and a thorough reading of the advertised text will help to translate the object advertised in a proper way. Often adjective + noun phrases have either the adjective or the noun used figuratively. This features requires a thorough reading of the advertised text and consulting monolingual dictionaries. In this case the context is of great importance. Advertised titles are also of great interest to a consumer-text translator.

A very common feature of any advertisement is the advertising claims which possesses certain peculiarities and is of great interest to a translator. The claim is a verbal or print part of an advertisement that makes some claim of superiority for the product advertised. Very many of them are misleading to an average consumer and, of course, to a translator. The translator must study both the claim and the text thoroughly and find the hidden meaning of it. Very often the equivalent may be completely different from its original but have the same purpose. Another common feature of advertisements is the use of slogans which are short, laconic phrases that a company uses over in its advertisements. Good slogans are easy to remember and tend to stick in people’s minds. Therefore, the translation of slogans must have the same features, i. e. be easy to remember. In some cases the target slogan might differ completely from its source but have the same psychological purpose. The translator must possess a great talent to understand such slogans and convey them in the target text as close as possible. While translating advertisements from different fields of commercial activity (cars, computers, TVs etc.) certain terms have been encountered which do not exist in the target culture so far. Such equivalents may be forwarded by the translator himself/herself only after consulting special reference books or after consulting a specialist in the field.

Certain terms are not difficult but curious for translation requiring a thorough logical thinking. As it is seen from the above-mentioned issues the most important thing in translating advertisements is the context. The context explains the meaning of the title, helps to understand words and phrases. It eliminates any difficulty or curiosity that may appear. Several pieces of advice could ensure from the above-mentioned points:

A consumer-oriented text translator, or an advertisement translator, should always refer to monolingual dictionaries while translating. A bi-lingual dictionary, which should at least contain 70,000 entries, must be the last book o reference. The advertisement translator must be acquainted very well with the characteristic field of the advertisement and must be familiar with all the features of the advertised product or service. The advertisement translator should refer to specialized reference books in order to translate well any possible difficulty.

The grammar and prosody of the advertisements are presented and discussed in the second and third chapters. The linguistic choices observed at each level of analysis are interpreted and discussed in the second chapter. The choices in respect of grammar include topicalized versions of nominal and verbal sentences, imperatives and interrogatives, hypotaxis and parataxis, disjunctive mode of expressions involving clauses, phrases and compounds, nominal and verbal attributes of different kinds, intensifiers of different degrees, morphemes of conversational significance and morphemes related to euphony, emphasis and contrast. Alliteration, rhyme and rhythm form the choices in prosody and the choices related to figures of speech include simile, metaphor, personification, pun, hyperbole, litotes, antithesis, oxymoron, metonymy, rhetoric question, exclamation, climax reduplication, repetition, onomatopoeia and idiom. At the level of discourse, the choices are related to form of address (direct and indirect address) and style of discourse (formal and colloquial style). All different choices mentioned above are closely linked with the five functions of advertising – attracting attention, arousing interest, stimulating desire, creating conviction and getting action.

It is also found that these choices fulfill the different communicative functions of language such as informative, expressive, directive, contextual, interactional and poetic. There is no one to one correspondence always between linguistic choices and the advertising function. That is, one particular choice may overlap with different functions. As for instance, the use of rhyme or rhythm may serve to attract and arouse interest. Almost all the choices mentioned above are found to be attested in this medium. For instance, the verb ’be’, which is occasionally used in the body copy of magazine advertisements, is never used in radio and television advertisements. This is related to the fact that both radio and television involve the oral mode of expression, where the use of the verb ‘be’ is mostly avoided. The use of direct form of address is more frequent in magazines, whereas, the use of colloquial style is more predominant in other forms of media rather than in magazines. The relationship between language use and non-linguistic aspects of advertisements such as typography, visual, audio effects is another possible area for future research.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the study of the language of advertisements constitutes an interesting and challenging process. This process rises certain issues that may present a fruitful area for a follow-up research.

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