Metaphorical and Interlingual Translation in Moving Organizational Practices Across Languages

Rebecca Piekkari, Susanne Tietze, Kaisa Koskinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational scholars refer to translation as a metaphor in order to describe the transformation and movement of organizational practices across institutional contexts. However, they have paid relatively little attention to the challenges of moving organizational practices across language boundaries. In this conceptual paper, we theorize that when organizational practices move across contexts that differ not only in terms of institutions and cultures but also in terms of languages, translation becomes more than a metaphor; it turns into reverbalization of meaning in another language. We argue that the meeting of languages opens up a whole new arena for translator agency to unfold. Interlingual and metaphorical translation are two distinct but interrelated forms of translation that are mutually constitutive. We identify possible constellations between interlingual and metaphorical translation and illustrate agentic translation with published case examples. We also propose that interlingual translation is a key resource in the discursive constitution of multilingual organizations. This paper contributes to the stream of research in organization studies that has made translation a core aspect of its inquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0170840619885415
Pages (from-to)1311-1332
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number9
Early online date19 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • agency
  • interlingual translation
  • metaphorical translation
  • multilingual organizations
  • translators

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Metaphorical and Interlingual Translation in Moving Organizational Practices Across Languages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this