Bicultural-Bilinguals: The Effect of Cultural Frame Switching on Translation Equivalence

Torsten Ringberg, David Luna, Markus Reihlen, Laura A. Peracchio

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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
Volume10
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)77-92
ISSN1470-5958
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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