Translation and intercultural communication: similarities and differences

Christina Schäffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite increasing attention in the last decade, both Intercultural Communication Studies (ICS) and Translation Studies (TS) seem to have reached a stage where some of the key concepts and assumptions are being challenged. This paper looks at similarities and differences in the use of shared concepts, especially the concept of intercultural communicative competence. It begins with a brief sketch of the development of the discipline of Translation Studies and goes on to present some assumptions which TS shares with ICS. However, the two disciplines operate with a different concept of communication and intercultural communicative competence: ICS is researching natural communication for independent acting, whereas TS is concerned with a specific kind of professionally enabled communication. The paper then presents a definition of a translationspecific cultural competence (based on Witte 2000) and illustrates the development of translation competence in the context of translator training at universities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-107
Number of pages29
JournalStudies in communication sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • mediated communication
  • translation studies
  • translatorial action
  • transcultural text production
  • translation competence
  • translation specific cultural competence


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