Two Languages, One Message: Shop Ames

chinese mag still

AMES-Iowa — Iowa State University student Ceci Du needed to find an internship project in her advertising major.  She looked at her own life to come up with an idea. She proposed creating an advertising guide of Ames businesses, done in English and in Mandarin Chinese.

To her surprise, the idea was approved and produced.

ISU has around 3,800 international students. As of last year’s stats almost 2,000 of those students come to Ames from the People’s Republic of China.  So it was not a surprise that some advertisers in Ames might want to reach out to this group.

“Our goal is to help more upcoming students to Iowa State,” said Du. “Back to my freshman year, I was kind of struggling how to fit in in a whole new culture,” added Du. For Du, who came from a town near Beijing in China, life in Ames was a culture adjustment.

“Took me a year to adapt to a new environment, to get to know people,” said Du. She said she needed to know things like “where to buy food, where to shop.”

Laura Widmer is the Chief Executive Officer for the Iowa State Daily Media Group. She said when Du came in with her idea, she knew right away this is something the Daily should produce. Du worked with American members of the Daily creative team to produce the flip book guide. Half of the book and cover are in Chinese, turn it over and a second cover and pages with the same ads are in English.

“Great opportunity for Ceci as a Chinese international student to work with a team of American students to make this project a reality,” said Widmer.

When it comes to the advertisers in the book,”some people are nervous to be the first timers,” said Widmer. “Some really embraced the opportunity,” she added.

Du said one of the biggest challenges was taking an American ad message and conveying that in Mandarin Chinese. Du said she just basically rewrote the whole message, “as if I were a Chinese business speaking to the students.” The words may differ but the purpose is the same,”give them guide-book to get used to living at Iowa State,” she said.

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