Exploring the Chinese translation of Australian health product labels

are they selling the same thing?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In recent years, Australian health products have become highly popular in the Chinese market. In this context, labels of some big Australian health product brands have been translated into Chinese and appeared in pharmacies and online stores. This paper aims to examine to what extent these translations have become “transcreations”, where something new has been created and added into the translated labels targeting Chinese buyers. Using systemic functional linguistics as the theoretical framework, the paper tries to find some detailed linguistic evidence, exploring how the actual transcreations happen through lexigrammatical choices made by the translators. A comparative analysis of the English labels and their Chinese translations is conducted, mainly focusing on the following linguistic features: the generality of the nouns representing targeted symptoms and disease names, the experiential features of the lexical choices representing claimed health benefits, and the use of modality words in the texts. Results of the analysis indicate that lexicogrammatical analysis of the translators’ choices can provide very valuable insights into the process of a transcreation, especially into the ‘creation’ part of the process, and an analysis of the context where transcreation takes place can help us discover the motives behind the translator’s choices. An open attitude is needed in translation criticism, based on which transcreation can be judged on the basis of a duel-perspective analysis involving both macro anmicro aspects of the source and target texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-95
Number of pages24
JournalCultus : the journal of international mediation and communication
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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