The translation of IFRSs into different
languages is possible, however direct equivalence cannot be
achieved due to translation differences in accounting systems and
language structures, according to the Institute of Chartered
Accountants Scotland (ICAS).

An ICAS report, ‘The darkening glass:
Issues for translation of IFRS’
, found that as languages are
indeterminate and meanings between different languages do not
exactly overlap, translators have to interpret the original
meaning; therefore increasing the risk that they do not capture the
meaning intended by the standard setter.

The report, based on a survey of 67 speakers
of 23 languages, found that most respondents use the English
version of IFRS to translate into their respective languages.

The respondents said they don’t see the
translation of IFRS as impossible and that where problems arise, a
number of strategies and solutions are adopted to reduce their

The research also found the need to
standardise IFRS terminology as currently IFRS in English consists
of about 90% US terminology using UK English spelling and

ICAS said this may suggest currently available
translations of IFRS are not fit for purpose and this is likely to
be due to the inherent problems of language translation rather than
flaws in the translation process itself.

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