Intercultural communication

Updated: Apr 16, 2018



An important requirement, nowadays, is to view translation as an intercultural communication. Originally, culture was simple. It referred exclusively to the humanist ideal of what was civilized in a developed society (the education system, the arts, architecture). Then a second meaning, the way of life of a people, took place alongside.

Translation as intercultural communication requires treating the text itself as only one of the cues of meaning. Other, ‘silent’, ‘hidden’ and ‘unconscious’ factors, which when shared may be termed cultural, determine how a text will be understood. In translating, a new text will be created which will be read according to a different map or model of the world, through a series of different set of perception filters. Hence the need to mediate. The translator should be able to model the various worlds, through, for example, the Logical Levels model, and by switching perceptual positions gain a more complete picture of ‘What it is that is, could or should be, going on’.


Do not confuse intercultural communication with cross-cultural communication and international communication. These terms do not mean the same things but are often used interchangeably.


Intercultural communication is the communication exchange between people who are different culturally – it examines how the specific cultural differences affect the interactions of the people engaged.

Since we’ve clarified the meaning of culture in a previous blog, it’s important that we clarify some other terms. When we talk about intercultural communication, cross-cultural communication and international communication, these terms do not mean the same things but are often used interchangeably.

Intercultural communication is the communication exchange between people who are different culturally – it examines how the specific cultural differences affect the interactions of the people engaged. For example, if you are from Switzerland and your colleague is from Singapore, the interaction would be intercultural because of the communication strategies each person uses is different based upon their cultural background. The focus is on the individual as the unit of analysis.


Cross-cultural communication is not about the interaction of people from different cultures communicating, but the comparison of their differences across culture. The study of cross-cultural communication comes from anthropology and is usually comparative in nature.


International communication also involves the interaction of people from differing cultures, but it is focused on macro issues, such as governmental or political influences that affect the communication processes as people interact with each other in each respective country. International communication is about the power, politics and processes of one nation influencing another.


In conclusion: while these terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to understand these distinctions.

Natalia Rojcovscaia

from Master Degree Thesis "Structural and Semantic Analyses of

Musical Terms in English and Russian. Russian Translation Strategy"

Institute of International Relations of Moldova


#music #language #linguistics #terms #translation #interpretation

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