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Translation, Advertising and Culture: Selling Italian Products Abroad

Prof Eleonora Federici, Univeristy L’Orientale, Naples

If we look at print ads of Italian products for an Anglophone market from a diachronical perspective, we can see that they reiterate very specific and connoted images of Italy and Italianness all over the world. Italian culture is metaphorically ‘translated’ into visual and verbal discourses that a British, American or English-speaking audience can immediately recognize and be charmed. Looking at them closer we can see how ads are always cultural representations created for a target consumer who possesses his own mental representations, attitudes and values. Stuart Hall’s notion of translatability of culture in terms of shared conceptual maps, codes and signs is useful in decoding these ads, as they are the result of a set of social conventions through which individuals become cultural competent subjects. If on the one hand, ads of Italian products abroad are dictated by economical choices, on the other hand, they are the result of social practices strictly linked to a collective ideol

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