In an inaugural professorial lecture given at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, Professor Rachel Baskerville looked closely at how technical complexity and the lack of concise English render international accounting standards difficult to translate.

‘There are a number of problems translators face when translating accounting standards into other languages, especially when the original version is deemed largely incomprehensible by many native English speakers, ‘ says Professor Baskerville.

Because most accounting theory originated in English, precise translations can be difficult and translators must find creative ways to define difficult terms or concepts. Some of the issues lay in the lack of distinctions in accounting concepts. For instance in Finland there is just one word for ‘depreciation’ and ‘amortisation’.

‘Translations can be problematic if these types of issues are not fully addressed and understood, ‘ says Professor Baskerville.