Language management, knowledge transfer and translation-mediated communication in global environments: old paradoxes, unseen practices and new insights

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Language is definitely a fundamental element in international communication, namely in multinational companies (MNC) which per se are “multilingual organizations” (Bjorkman et al. 2004). There are several research studies that stress its relevance in international business (Marschan, Welch, and Welch 1997; Marschan-Piekkari, Welch, and Welch 1999; Feely 2003; Domingues 2009; Harzing and Pudelko 2013; Ozolins 2003; Janssens, Lambert, and Steyaert 2004), both in (i) corporate communication and (ii) in the communication between company and other stakeholders in foreign markets (clients, suppliers, etc.). Moreover, this communication in multinational companies (MNCs) and international business environments very often deals with streams, sequences of decisions and resource commitments, formulated and articulated in specialized language, that might be not completely clear to all stakeholders.
However, it is also true that language management and the role of translation and of the translator in companies operating in foreign environments and mediating interlingual communication is often unseen and has been rarely explored, neither by researchers in international business (IB), or in translation studies, nor by linguists (Ozolins 2003).
This paper intends, therefore, to contribute to trans-disciplinary research on language and terminology management in international business (IB) and, most of all, help to the break the old paradoxes related to the (i) wrongly assumed self-sufficiency of language in professional and business communication situations and (ii) costs of investment in language.
We will present results of two empirical studies that describe some language management and business translation practices in companies operating in foreign markets. Finally, although it is still an ongoing research, we will give some insights on how language management and translation mediated communication can be more cost-effective in these kinds of environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Approaches to Business and Institutional Translation
EditorsDaniel Gallego-Hernández
Place of PublicationBern
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-3-0343-1656-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Ad Hoc Translation
  • Terminology Management
  • International Business
  • Business Translation


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