Cross-Cultural Communication: Perspectives from Translation Studies and Applied Linguistics

Journal of Social Sciences, COES&R-JSS, October 1, 2012

23 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2012 Last revised: 11 Apr 2013

Date Written: October 1, 2012


This paper has emerged out of the conviction that linguistic theory has more to offer to translation theory than is so far recognized and vice versa. One reason for the relative separation between the two fields is, perhaps, the domination of formal approaches to language study for a considerable period of time. But, with the spread of functional linguistics in the last three decades, there have been growing hopes for establishing links between linguistics and translation studies.

Accordingly, the discussion, in the present study, proceeds primarily from the perspectives of “Translation Studies” and “Applied Linguistics”. One major goal is to show the interrelationships between linguistics and translation, and how they benefit from each other. The basic underlying theme, here, is that “inside or between languages", human communication equals translation. A study of translation is a "study of language” (Bassnett-McGuire, 1980: 23). In addition, both translators and linguists deal with two linguistic systems, each with, perhaps, a different cultural system. So, if we agree that ‘all communicators are translators’ (Bell, 1994), we must remember that the role of the translator is different from that of the ‘normal communicator’: the translator is a bilingual mediating agent between monolingual communication participants in two different language communities.

On the other hand, there has been a great focus on using English only as a medium of instruction in all courses taught in the UAE University. Accordingly, the second goal of this study is to try to answer the questions, “How much translation from L1 is permitted in FL teaching?" and “What are the factors that determine the quantity to be used?”. The view adopted in the present study is that disregarding L2 learners’ mother-tongue and considering it “a bogey to be shunned at all costs” is a myth. And, providing maximum exposure to the foreign language may help in learning that language (Krashen, 1982, 1985), but, sometimes, at the expense of understanding and intelligibility.

Keywords: Communication across languages, Translation, Applied Linguistics.

Suggested Citation

El-dali, Hosni, Cross-Cultural Communication: Perspectives from Translation Studies and Applied Linguistics (October 1, 2012). Journal of Social Sciences, COES&R-JSS, October 1, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Hosni El-dali (Contact Author)

UAE University

College of Business and Economics
P.O.Box 17555
Al Ain, 17555
United Arab Emirates

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