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
Date Written: October 9, 2016
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: Suggested Citation