Lost in translation: teaching intercultural skills through media images

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


In language teaching and in intercultural communications, we use images displayed in textbooks or in the media to help create an understanding of other cultures and to facilitate communication between cultures. To understand another culture, we need to understand our own. In this paper, I concentrate on how we can achieve the best results for intercultural competence by analysing and discussing images so that the implicit becomes explicit. Students need a toolbox of cultural know-how to obtain practicalbe results that can be used in intercultural communications. This toolbox includes a clear definition of culture, and a set of methods for the analysis of images. I use some practical examples from the internet and from advertising and film to show how students can take an active role in reading and interpreting signs to help crate meaning out of text (in this case the media image) by drawing upon their own experiences, attitudes, and emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntercultural communications across university settings
Subtitle of host publicationmyths and realities : referreed proceedings of the 6th Communication Skills in University Education Conference
EditorsJosta Van Rij-Heyligers
Place of PublicationNew Zealand
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781877371509
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventCommunication Skills in University Education Conference (6th : 2006) - Auckland
Duration: 29 Nov 20061 Dec 2006


ConferenceCommunication Skills in University Education Conference (6th : 2006)


  • intercultural communication
  • intercultural competence
  • image of culture
  • toolbox
  • taboo


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