Translating of advertising texts - particularly short texts like slogans, including plays on words (intertextuality) - is often difficult or even construed to be impossible in many cases. The reason for those difficulties is the fact that plays on words very often depend on letters, syllables, spelling, pronunciation, or rhythm and thus are extremely language specific. But since the purpose of translating an advertising text is the target text fulfilling the same function(s) as the source text (Nord, Christiane (1997): Translating as a Purposeful Activity. Functionalist Approaches Explained. Manchester: St. Jerome), this paper argues that the functions of advertising texts can be achieved by other means than by for instance puns. Plays on words create cognitive dissonance and intellectual inconsistencies in the reader's mind which puts him or her in a state of activation (a neuro-psychological condition of the human organism where it is alert and capable of performing, including receiving, processing and storing information (Kroeber-Riel, Werner & Weinberg, Peter (1996): Konsumentenverhalten. Munich: Vahlen). In the cases where this activation cannot be achieved by the textual means of cognitive/intellectual impulse in target culture or target-language puns, other means can be used: physical, emotional, or biological impulse, in that way enabling the translator to avoid typical translation difficulties and to create an appropriate translation.
Third Riga Symposium on Pragmatic Aspects of Translation. Proceedings, 2003, p. 116-125