As we have seen in a previous post (click here), within the language of advertising the translator is often bound by more factors than when translating other texts. We are constantly attacked by and completely surrounded by the language of advertising so much so that it filters into our respective cultures and seeps into the language of the average speaker.
The language of advertising has become an important element in the creation of new words, phrases and cultural references. It is noteworthy to mention Umberto Eco here and his last work of fiction The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana in which he shows the influence of both high and low culture on our social (and linguistic) make-up.
Advertising is intrinsically linked to a throw-away linguistic culture where words and phrases enter the language at great velocity, are used with great propensity and then disappear never to be heard again. Most people can remember the advertising slogans of their childhood, although these phrases often do not have the same function today as they once had.
Two common phrases in Polish advertising have been noted. The first is lubię chłodek. The second is mały głodek. Both are amusing phrases aimed at children or aiming to mimic the language of children through the use of diminutives: chłód (‘chill’, ‘the cold’) –> chłodek and głód (‘hunger’) –> głodek. The translation of these two phrases might prove difficult.
Lubię chłodek can be found on drinks and yoghurts that should be ‘kept refrigerated’. However, keep refrigerated is too formal a phrase for this context, thus constructions such as I like the cold or I prefer it chilly might be more appropriate, although in the second suggestion the key word has become an adjective.
Mały głodek is a slogan used as part of an advertising campaign for a well-known yoghurt-like product. The product is the enemy of ‘hunger’ which is personified as a small yellow creature. Here we have the additional problem of having to deal with a character/persona. A possible equivalent might be hunger pang which retains the noun quality of the original and adds an element of devilishness with the word pang.
Perfect equivalents they are not but they help shed light on the cultural, grammatical and semantic processes taking places in both languages.