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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 42, Issue 4, 2014

Charikleia Yoka, Evangelos Kourdis
Pages 499-516

Cultural semiotics, translatability, and informational loss in visual texts of the biotech industry

The paper examines a specific advertising campaign of a biotech company characteristic of the whole biotech industry and discusses how the evocation of universal values, such as the protection and correct management of the planet’s resources, the struggle against poverty and against the shortage of raw materials, the support of farmers and their families, distorts information about nature, global agriculture and the biotech industry’s products. This distortion is a necessary and vital part of this industry’s existence. The rhetorical techniques of conscious informational repression and distortion, which are often discussed only in terms of informational loss, are expressly evident and even taken to their extremes in the case of biotechnology. Yet on the other hand they are characteristic of a translation process that takes place in the rhetoric of advertisement in general, as is evident in the use of Goran Sonesson’s translation model which we suggest is appropriate for the definition and study of advertising codes.