“We want you to love our product” — An English-German Translation Analysis of Consumer Oriented Language on Drink Packaging Texts



The aim of this paper is to explore on a cross-cultural level the different use of consumer oriented language on English and German drink packaging texts. To this end, we propose to compare the original English texts of a popular fruit drink (‘innocent’ smoothies) both with their German translations of the same product that has recently been introduced on the German market and other German original texts of a similar product. The intention is to explore how the consumer oriented language of the original English texts impacts on or is adapted for the German texts. Consumer orientation with respect to drink packaging texts is here understood as language use that does not primarily aim at informing about the respective product, but at creating a bond between consumer and brand, e.g. by use of humour and direct addresses. The methodological framework is provided by the functional pragmatic concept of homileic discourse (Rehbein 1983) and (1997) concept of the Cultural Filter. The latter is a concept based on cross-cultural differences in English and German text conventions; our focus will be on the dimension of Implicitness vs. Explicitness.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Austin, John. L. (1962): How to do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  2. Beaugrande, Robert-Alain, de & Dressler, Wolfgang (1981): Introduction to Text linguistics. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  3. Blum-Kluka, Soshana/ House, Juliane/ Kasper, Gabriele (1989): Cross-Cultural pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood, N.J.: Applex.Google Scholar
  4. Böttger, Claudia (2007): Lost in Translation? An Analysis of the Role of English in Multilingual Business Communication. Hamburg: Kovac.Google Scholar
  5. Bruhn, Manfred/ Boenigk, Michael (1999): Integrierte Kommunikation. Wiesbaden: Gabler.Google Scholar
  6. Ehlich, Konrad/ Rehbein, Jochen (1986): Muster und Institution. Untersuchungen zur schulischen Kommunikation. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
  7. Forman, Janis (1998): More than Survival: The Discipline of Business Communication and the Uses of Translation. The Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 35, No. 1, January 1998, 50–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Halliday, Michael H.K. (1994): An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  9. House, Juliane (1997): Translation Quality Assessment. A Model Revisited. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
  10. House, Juliane (1998): Kontrastive pragmatik und Interkulturelle Kompetenz im Fremdsprachenunterricht. In: Börner, Wolfgang & Vogel, K. (eds.): Kontrast und äquivalenz. Beiträge zu Sprachvergleich und übersetzung. Tübingen: Narr, 162–189.Google Scholar
  11. House, Juliane (2003): English as a lingua Franca: A Threat to Multilingualism? Journal of Sociolinguistics, Vol. 7(4), Oxford, 556–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hyland, Ken (1998): Exploring Corporate Rhetoric: Metadiscourse in the CEO’s letter. Journal of Business Communication, 35(2), 224–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hyland, Ken (2005): Metadiscourse: Exploring Interaction in Writing. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  14. Janik, Christina/ Böttger, Claudia (2007): ‘look after your smoothie’: New Trends in British and German Drink packaging Texts? A Contrastive Study on Communication Strategies in Differing Markets. In: Schmidt, Christopher M. & Neuendorff, Dagmar: Sprache, Kultur und Zielgruppen. Wiesbaden: DUV, 139–156.Google Scholar
  15. Leonhard, lothar S. (2004): Köpfe und Konzepte. In: Zeitschrift Mobil. Hamburg: Grüner + Jahr, 47–50.Google Scholar
  16. Rehbein, Jochen (1983): Zur pragmatischen Rolle des Stils In: Sandig, Barbara (ed.): probleme der Stilistik. Hildesheim: Olms, 21–48.Google Scholar
  17. Rehbein, Jochen/ Fiennemann, Jutta (2004): Introductions — Being polite in Multilingual Settings. In: House, Juliane & Jochen Rehbein (eds.) Multilingual Communication. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 223–278.Google Scholar
  18. Scharnigg, Max (2007): Werbestrategie für junge Obstsäfte. Das duzende Früchtchen. Süddeutsche Zeitung (13.8.07) (accessed 14/08/07).Google Scholar
  19. Schlieben-lange, Brigitte (1977): Kulturkonflikte in Texten. In: Schlieben-lange, Brigitte: Kulturkonflikte in Texten. Zeitschrift für literaturwissenschaft und linguistik. 25/97, 1–21.Google Scholar
  20. Simmons, John (2006a): The Invisible Grail. How Brands Can Use Words to Engage with Audiences. Singapore and London: Texere.Google Scholar
  21. Simmons, John (2006b): Great Brand Stories. Innocent. Building a Brand from Nothing but Fruit. London: Texere.Google Scholar
  22. Smith, Karen (2006): Rhetorical Figures and the Translation of Advertising Headlines. Language and literature 15(2), 159–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stewart, Bill (1995): Packaging as an Effective Marketing Tool. London: Pira International.Google Scholar
  24. Steves, Sonja (2000): Verpackungsaufschriften als Text. Eine linguistische Analyse. Norderstedt: Books on Demand Verlag.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SFB 538 MehrsprachigkeitUniversität HamburgDeustchland
  2. 2.University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC)UK

Personalised recommendations