Thinking Business through Translation

A recent article in the NY Times was as hilarious as instructive to organizations and businesses seeking to internationalize. The basic concept: when working between cultures, meaning must be bent and re-shaped to fit a new audience and a new value system. The value system includes religious connotations, concepts relating to color, words that could sound like other words, words that evoke historical events, and much more. Translation, then, is never just a search for equivalents between languages. In a business context, translation is a creative language of its own that allows an object or idea to transfer into a new cultural system. It is an adaptation. It is the carrying over of the spirit of the object or idea and the re-dressing of that object in a way that resonates in the new cultural system. Creative transposition.

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