Posted by: patenttranslator | August 8, 2012

Neural Advertising With Subliminal Messages Or Truth In Advertising – Which Is Better For Your Business Website?

Neural marketing or neural advertising is advertising that appeals directly to our senses, our eyes, ears, and nose instead of trying to persuade the brain by engaging our critical thinking ability. For example used car dealers spray “the new car smell” inside old cars from a handy spray container, and McDonalds has some sort of a special “floral” scent that they add to the detergent used for cleaning the floor. The floral scent will make you feel good about yourself and you will come back for more junk food.

In fact most types of advertising are usually trying to circumvent our critical thinking ability by playing on our emotions to convince us that we absolutely must have something that we don’t really need at all.

And then there is advertising that is simply based on outright lies, such as “You can learn any language in 10 days if you buy our CD for only 9.99 dollars“. Advertising that is based on shameless lies probably works the best in terms of how much money one can make from suckers who will fall for it. Of course, not only do you not learn a language in 10 days if you buy the CD, but you will have to waste hundreds of additional dollars on other CDs because by buying 1 CD you agreed to buy the entire course. You should have read the last clause hidden in small print at the end of a long paragraph.

In a world filled with highly deceitful advertising ad nauseam, what kind of design should one use for a website informing the world about a new translation business?

I personally believe in an advertising concept that is not seen or practiced very often – a website for translation services that is trying to appeal to the brain without using deceit.

Thousands of websites of small and large translation agencies and even some translators have the same content: Photoshoped smiling faces of beautiful, pensive young people who have absolutely nothing to do with translation. One reason for this is that that many website hosting companies will throw in a generic free website if you buy their hosting plan.

Is it a good idea to do that? It’s free! Well, it’s probably better to have a generic website than to have no website at all.

But I think that it is much better to have a website that tells the world a real, original story that people will be able to remember instead of insulting their intelligence with photoshopped images of smiling mannequins.

Most patent law firms, for example, have on their websites a pull down menu where a potential customer can look up the lawyers, see what they look like, find out about their education, specialty and experience. I personally find this very handy because when a new patent law firm finds my website, I know exactly who my customer is.

 This kind of information is often missing on the websites of translation agencies, especially those that specialize in “any language, any direction, any subject”, which seems to be a good deal of them. I sometime wonder why don’t they add “any planet, any galaxy” as well. Why not go the whole way?

 But when an agency or translator’s website does have the relevant information about the people behind the translation service, I read it with interest and tend to remember the details for a long time. You can only get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of a translation business if you know something about the people who run the business. To read “Our Mission Statement” on a website is a complete waste of time because nobody ever says the truth in it. At least so far I have never seen something along the lines “Our Mission is to make as much money as possible in as little time as possible”, which is always the case with contemporary commercial enterprises.

 Real, truthful information must be much more effective than subliminal messages hidden in scents, sounds and words cranked out by the millions daily by modern advertising advertisement industry with a particular type of customer – the thinking type.

 But unlike subliminal messages, real information is not very common in advertising, possibly because the thinking kind of customer is not very common either.


Please let me know if you find my habit of framing my posts in two music videos somewhat irritating and if you would prefer if I stopped doing that.



  1. Well, Steve, the new way to do business is to let people come together and share information, so that the operators can do advertising business without really providing any information. Everyting is provided by the “community members.”

    Besides, they are not selling you merely a CD, they give you education programms to become professionals and you can earn a badge that you can proudly show others that you’ve become a professional without doubting wether you are a fake or not.

    They even educate you how to fend off scammers by letting people vent information about the most stupid scams by letting people denounce non-payers or so when it suites the operators. Otherwise, they censor the denunciaitons. In Chinese, we call this practice “A thief yelling at other thieves.”

    This is how it works with many translation streetwalking websites, instead of providing real services to translators and appealing to translators’ capacity of reasoning/thinking.

    What did Hitler’s propaganda minister Dr. Goebbels said? “Das Volk muss bei Laune gehalten werden.” (People must be kept motivated.)

    Joseph Goebbels was right. When people are emotionally motivated, they don’t think. They keep going with the system until it collapses.


  2. I know what you are talking about, and most people reading this probably know as well.
    Could you write the Chinese saying about yelling thieves in Chinese? I would like to see some characters, please.


    • It reads in Chinese like this: 做贼的喊捉贼.

      Breaking down the phrase:
      做贼的 = 泥棒, n. thief;
      喊 = 叫ぶ, v. yell;
      捉 = 捕まえる, v. catch;
      贼 = 泥棒, n. thief.


      • A bit correction:
        做 = 行う, v. do;
        贼 = 泥棒, n. thief;
        的 = の or な, adjective morph.

        BTW, I’ll be in Munich tomorrow at this time and stay for 16 days. So, I won’t be able to attend Oktoberfest. What a pity.


      • I decided not to go to Munich with my son. I would not have enough time for Czech republic.

        But he is going with a friend. Do you happen to know somebody there who speaks English and who could recommend inexpensive accommodation and things like that?

        If you do please send me a private e-mail.


      • Arrived in the air of autumn in Munich last night. A very good night sleep.

        I’ll write you a private e-mail in a few days. It shouldn’t be too hard to find some young people to assist your son and his friend in Munich. Though my friends here are mostly elder people, they have their children, too.


  3. To answer your final question, I like the way you frame your posts with two videos. I find it rather entertaining, quirky and original.


    • Thank you, Rob.

      Now all I have to do is figure out why is it that I can’t embed Youtube videos.


  4. Thank you! Your post has come just at just the right moment as I’m busy putting together a web site for myself (24 years of translating but no website, can you believe it?) and I have been having the same kind of (internal) discussion with myself…


  5. “(24 years of translating but no website, can you believe it?)”
    You probably missed quite a few valuable direct clients during that time, or it would be probably more accurate to say that they missed you when they were looking for you but could not find you website as it was not there.

    About 20 to 30% of my income has been generated every year by new clients who find my website since about 2005 (I launched my website in 2000 and for the first 4 years nobody could really find it).


  6. @Wenjer
    Thank you. It’s very different from Japanese. The Chinese characters gave me no clue.

    It reminded me of the famous sentence “Me thinks thou dost protest too much” from Hamlet.

    There is one untranslatable Czech proverb that often comes to mind when I watch American corporate media, namely “Koho chleba jíš, toho píseň zpívej”. translates it thusly – literally: Sing the song of him who gives you bread.

    Tentative translation: Don’t speak up against the person or a company upon whom depends your earning of living.

    The Czech words in the proverb (only 6 words are needed) are as follows:

    koho = whose
    chleba = bread
    jíš = you eat
    toho = his
    píseň = song
    zpívej = you sing

    I was thinking about this proverb today when I saw a short news announcement that the US government will not prosecute Goldman Sachs for the massive fraud perpetrated on what they call “muppets”, which would be the rest of the world.

    I am looking forward to commentaries and reasoned analyses of this decision of my government, but only on blogs, of course.


    • It must be different, for Chinese has a totally different sentence construction in this case. “A thief yelling ‘Catch the thieves!'”

      As to the case of Godman Sachs, I take it for normal, like your Czech proverb expresses. People usually don’t care that other people get hurt, especially when they profit from the practices that get other people hurt, until they are personally concerned or the system collapses.

      So long we are no “muppets,” the bankers would wonder that we care. Even when we are “muppets,” they wouldn’t mind that we care, for there are always some ones in the right positions, who profit from their frauds, to help them out of the prosecution.

      Little people shall be smart enough to take care of themselves – stay away from becoming a muppet!

      BTW, we have a similar saying in Chinese to your Czech one. “吃人的,嘴软;拿人的,手软。” He who eats (bread) from others reprimands soft. He who takes (money) from others strikes supple.”


    • Steve,

      Untranslatable, you say? Believe it or not, we have the exact same saying in German: “Wes Brot ich ess, des Lied ich sing.”

      Great post, BTW. I liked especially the part about the photoshopped, smiling young people all over the place. They just make me sick!



      • I meant untranslatable into English.
        Try to translate it so that it sounds exactly like the original.

        It is possible that the proverb is originally German. Many if not most Czech proverb and idioms have exact German equivalents because the Czech language was very strongly influenced by German for many centuries.


  7. Steve,
    The Czech saying might be equivalent to the English “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
    I might have a Munich contact for you, but it’s been some years since I passed through there. I’m pretty sure it was Munich . . . ;v)


  8. Thanks Paula, that is the closest English proverb.

    A contact in Munich, Amsterdam and Rome would be appreciated. That’s where they will go after Prague and Cesky Krumlov


  9. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you offer.

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  10. Now I am going away to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.


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