Bicultural-Bilinguals: The effect of cultural frame switching on translation equivalence

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Cross-cultural management research suggests that bicultural-bilinguals are ideal cultural mediators as they are able to access dual cultural frameworks and seamlessly switch back and forth between these. The assumption is that this switching between cultural frameworks ensures equivalency in meaning across cultures. Yet previous research has only shown this effect at a between-subject level during which cultural variables were not controlled for. Our research controls for such influences by relying on a within-subject approach, illustrating that language triggers frame switching among bicultural-bilinguals and that the process is largely tacit. Moreover, such frame switching may lead to unintended consequences for organizations seeking to control a meaning across cultures as the meaning in the original language is uprooted to a point where it may no longer be recognizable within a different language. We illustrate this drift in meaning across both concrete and abstract concepts and discuss its managerial implications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)77-92
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 04.2010

    Research areas

  • Management studies - Bicultural/bilingual mediators, Frame switching, Intercultural comunication, Knowledge transfer, Multinational firms