North American Advertising, Translation and Face-Threatening Acts

By Geneviève Quillard.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the English North American advertisements, there seems to be a fairly high number of potential face threatening acts (to use Brown and Levinson’s terminology). This might be a good argumentative strategy in a very individualistic culture where the individual is expected to strive to be the best and to get all the material things which are associated with high status and prestige. However, judging from the reluctance of translators to translate these utterances literally, French Canadians’ reactions to face-threatening acts would be negative.

This study will be based on a corpus of around twelve hundred advertisements published in North American magazines and the translation of these advertisements for the French Canadian readership. Drawing heavily on research conducted in cultural studies (Hall, Hofstede, Triandis, Tompenaars, etc.), this paper will analyze the reasons why potential FTAs seem to be more damaging in the French Canadian culture than in the English North American one. It will also analyze the means used by the translators to avoid or deflate the face-threatening acts.

Keywords: Advertising, Translation, Culture, Face-Threatening Act

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 9, pp.43-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.845MB).

Prof Geneviève Quillard

Full professor, Department of French Studies, Royal Military College of Canada, Canada

G. Quillard current interests are translation and cultural studies. She has published a number of articles on these issues in journals such as "Babel", "Interface", "Language matters", "La linguistique", "Meta", "TTR", etc.

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