Differences of British and Chinese advertisements


Advertisement is a responsible information broadcast activity is paid by advertisers. They carry some particular messages and they are displayed on public media in order to achieve certain purposes. Specifically, advertisement is a publicity campaign made to introduce products to the public, report content of services or for entertainment. The globalization of the world economy has made the cross culture advertising broadcast come into being. Even though they are the same type of information sources for modern life and share certain characters, British and Chinese advertisements are from different culture backgrounds so that they are different in language and mode of thinking. This essay will discuss the differences of Chinese and British advertisement in three areas: language, mode of thinking and culture.

The difference in languages of British and Chinese advertisement

Language is closely related to culture as they are beneficial and limited to each other. Also, it is influenced by philosophical thoughts, cultural psychology, moral concepts, and the modes of expression. Similarly, the advertising language is a kind of practical language, with different and similar expressions, which are reflected on philosophical thoughts, cultural psychology, moral concepts and thinking modes. Meanwhile, to understand the similarities and differences between the advertising languages,such as English and Chinese advertising languages, will help us to understand differences and similarities between the cultures. So it is necessary to analyze the similarities and differences between Chinese and Western advertising languages. This paper tends, to some degree, to reveal the similarities and differences between Chinese and English cultures by analyzing the English and Chinese advertising languages on philosophical thoughts, cultural psychology, moral concepts and thinking modes. Language is the carrier of culture. Although the advertising language is limited by culture, it will broadcast and spread culture. Therefore, a further research will have to be carried on in the future, as the advertising language is subject to change with culture. Chinese is a language governed by meaning. Chinese is regarded as a flexible language which can be long or short in its lexical units, and is based on the language of logic phrase chunks while British language are made up of verb central elements which are inflexible.

Flowery language vs. concise wording[4]

"When concerning about the rhetoric, Chinese tends to use gorgeous words while English has a vivid character of conciseness.

"Chinese is good writer to express their feelings by writing and try their best to apply grand vocabulary to describe beautiful and moving images to be sounded elegantly. Many high-sounding words can be found in Chinese. For instance, in Chinese advertisements we frequently see words like"??"(first class),"??"(perfect),"??"(specific) regardless of the quality of goods being advertised. With regard to language forms, the Chinese language strives for symmetry in structure and rhyme in sound, hence reading neat, implicit and musical. For example, four-character phrases, parallelism, antithesis appears frequently in Chinese. In order to achieve rhyming, emphasis or neat structure Chinese language often resorts to tautology.

"On the contrary, western literature and art have been developing under the theory of imitating the reality. The English language reflects this theory and proves to be objective, factual and rational. It has tight sentence structure, meticulous stream of thought, and logical relationship between linguistic units, concise wording and straightforward description. All in all, brevity is the soul of wit, or in other words, a proper word in a proper place is good English. Abusing of florid language is forbidden in good English, for it is considered illogical and may harm the original meaning or communication.

"Thus Chinese and English advertisements are quite different, especially when describing scenery in tourist advertisements. It is a language for poets to give expression to special feelings instead of defining or judging. Even when describing sceneries, English displays a beauty of form, straightforward, explicit, objective, unlike the casual, subjective Chinese. For example, the following advertisement written by a native speaker of English is concise and plain, and through simile and combination of concrete scenes, it provides enough space for imagination. However, from the point of view of Chinese, it may be too plain. For example:

From long time ago, Chinese culture stresses on the public opinion. It insists that people should solicit comments and suggestions from other person outside his/her organization. And it also regards that the records can prove everything including the last, the present, and the future. The authority has a great power to affect the purchase of the consumers. So this is one important feature of Chinese advertisements. The advertisers often enumerate the honors and certificates and let them occupy a pivotal position, when the advertisers introduce the products to the readers.

But different from Chinese advertisements, English advertisements have this kind of expressing way rarely. Because they have the successful realization of self-value. So the practical consciousness appeared here and there in English advertisements.

The difference in culture of British and Chinese advertisement

From the aspect of culture basic form, Chinese culture has the monism viewpoint and the western culture has the pluralism viewpoint. "Nature and human are in oneness" is one of Chinese philosophy concepts in Chinese traditional culture. It insists that nature and human should be in harmony. Contrary to the Chinese culture, the western culture insists on the view of pluralism. It emphasizes on the changes and differences of the matter, self-development, and enterprising spirits. Some Chinese advertisements meet the culture psychology of Chinese public, and create some preferable advertising words.

The three advertising examples take advantage of the idea "Nature and human are in oneness", and create imagining language in the way of empathy. The means of artistic expression attract the readers' attention and the advertisement gets its ideal effect. The advertiser takes the Wahaha beverage as the holy water from Paradise by using a metaphor. "Water from the Paradise" comes from the five-thousand-year-old Chinese culture. The myth makes the common water noble and mysterious. The consumers feel it should be out of ordinary if they buy the merchandise. The pure, the holy and the rich fragrant make the tea beverage be the essence of heaven and earth. So the products fascinate the consumers so much that arouse the people's enthusiasm and the strong purchase desire. This advertisement gets it goal.

The English advertisements are affected by the pluralism viewpoint of western culture which prefers the individual freedom, self-development and the creative ability. It also encourages people to transform world and conquer the nature. These advertisements highlight the importance of person self-development, and publicize their products from point of view of personality. They show the ideas in western value system that people can change everything and people can create everything. The advertisements manifest the beliefs that people should pursuit the freedom and the self-development, and create the future. Theses expressions satisfy the consumers' personality development and arouse the sympathetic responses.

So if only the advertisers design the English advertisements by taking the consumers' the essential interests as the base and by taking the idea of self value realization as the goal. in culture centers on the personal value, western people treat the official position as the very common thing. Western culture pays more attention on the personal value and self interests. It ad may lead to the dissimilarity in advertising translation. Such as the trademark " ??", should it be translated to" White Bear" or "Polar Bear"? This is something to do with the current politics. Along with the change of the international political situation," Polar Bear"( ???) have already had another extra meaning, people may easy regard it as the nickname which refer to a kind of political power in the world. Therefore, "White Bear" may be more acceptable. When Japanese company Toyota firstly entered into the Chinese market, they created an advertisement slogan " Where there is a way for car there is a Toyota." this has borrowed from one of China's colloquialism. But if publicized in the United States still remain this, it will make people puzzled. Hence they changed the advertisement language into" Not all cars are created equal" Everyone knows the history of the United States may understand that the first sentence of Declaration of Independence is" All men are created equal", By using this borrowing sentence ,Toyota make its declaration that the quality of their cars is much better than others'.


Advertising is an implicit form of persuasion. Language and cultural differences can be reflected from the advertising language. This paper has shown that language and culture differences can influence the advertisement from so many aspects. On the basis of analyzing the problems which has appeared in the advertisement translation between Chinese and English language, this paper suggests the requirements and methods of advertisement translation nowadays.

To make a good advertisement and to influence the behavior of potential customers toward a predetermined direction, the advertisers try to produce memorable and attracting works. Following the economic growing, the market becomes a global one and the competition becomes more drastic. So making clear of the features of each culture is the most urgent task to advertisers. "Do as Romans do" the advertisement should be designed according to the nation-specific culture. Only if the advertisers do so, this advertisement can achieve its goal that it can satisfy the consumers, and help the product to be well sold. Thus, as the translator, he or she should know the nation-specific culture further, grasp the pity and make full use of it.

The goal of advertising translation is to persuade target language consumers to buy a product or service. To attract and communicate to them in a way that produces this desired result, translators must acquaint themselves with target language consumer's way of thinking, with those factors that motivate them to buy, and with the environment where they live. In this sense advertising translating is more of a marketing practice. A good advertisement translator must be a first artistic writer. He or she must first be able to know clear about the cultural difference; and then to identify the cultural constraints in a given advertisement; the last is to facilitate across-culture communication by overcoming the obstacle set by the constraints. In all, a good advertiser can do the contribution to the products' sale.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!