Language, translation and the problem of international accounting communication

Language, translation and the problem of international accounting communication 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

Language, translation and the problem of international accounting communication

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Volume 17 (2): 39 – Apr 1, 2004

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/09513570410532438
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 1, 2004

Keywords: Accounting; Accounting procedures; Law; True and fair view; Linguistics

References

  • Hofstede never studied culture
    Baskerville, R.F.

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