How Does the English of IFRS Challenge an International Student Cohort? Evidence from a Chinese Cohort

Working Paper 105

33 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2016 Last revised: 8 Jun 2017

See all articles by Rachel F. Baskerville

Rachel F. Baskerville

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Accounting and Commercial Law

Qingmei Xue

Nanjing University - School of Business

Huw Rhys

University of Wales, Aberystwyth - School of Management and Business

Date Written: October 9, 2016

Abstract

Educators and regulators world-wide are recognizing a range of problems that are arising in both teaching and implementation of IFRS due to language and translation issues. The research question asks what it is about the English in which IFRS are written that causes problems for an effective understanding of IFRS by a Chinese undergraduate student cohort. All 88 participants, with Chinese as their first language, were studying accounting at New Zealand and Chinese Universities. They translated, and then independently back-translated, four sentences of IFRS chosen for the research. There were 168 back-translations useable for the analysis. This study highlights the specific problems students face in understanding the specialized English of accounting, and in particular illustrates problems with the syntax and lexicon used in IFRS. The significance of the findings of this paper originate in the method used; there are other studies which tackle the issue of translatability but only using a quantitative approach. The analysis of these sentences from IFRS is detailed enough to illustrate exactly how problems arise in syntax and the lexicon. We suggest what steps educators may take to alleviate the degree to which pedagogical outcomes are compromised by such issues of understandability.

Suggested Citation

Baskerville, Rachel F. and Xue, Qingmei and Rhys, Huw, How Does the English of IFRS Challenge an International Student Cohort? Evidence from a Chinese Cohort (October 9, 2016). Working Paper 105. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2850191 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2850191

Rachel F. Baskerville (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Accounting and Commercial Law ( email )

Faculty of Commerce and Administration
PO Box 600
Wellington
New Zealand
006444636951 (Phone)
006444635076 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/staff/rachel-baskerville.aspx

Qingmei Xue

Nanjing University - School of Business ( email )

22 Hankou Road
Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093 210093
China

Huw Rhys

University of Wales, Aberystwyth - School of Management and Business ( email )

Old College
King Street
SY23 2AX Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
United Kingdom

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