The use of technical terms to communicate accounting information can lead to misunderstandings when the meaning of such terms is not fully appreciated by the recipient of the information. The discipline of translation studies suggests that full equivalence in translation between languages is rare. This suggests that the risk of misunderstanding is exacerbated when technical terms are translated into another language. This paper examines the implications of mistranslations of technical terms in the context of theories from linguistics, which suggest that language influences the way we think. It uses three examples of accounting terminology to illustrate these problems. It concludes that the choice of an inappropriate label in the translation of accounting terminology is detrimental to international accounting communication and creates problems for users and preparers of translated financial statements as well as for researchers in, and students of, international accounting and for those involved in harmonisation and standardisation of accounting.
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2004
Keywords: Accounting; Accounting procedures; Law; True and fair view; Linguistics
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