Visuals are a universal language. This is just one of the characteristics that makes visuals effective storytellers.
Certainly, there can be cultural differences and missed details in understanding and interpreting a photograph, a symbol or a graphic, but you do not need to be able to read or speak a different language to understand the basic premise of most visuals used in an information capacity. And this is true across the media and across platforms.
I often use this ad from dtac, a mobile phone provider, as an example of visuals as a universal language. I have no idea what is said in the ad, but the message is clear: love and human connection are universal.
Symbols can also be a universal language, such as the well known and globally used pause, play and stop symbols.
I was especially struck by this concept on a recent trip to Japan, during which time I found numerous examples of visuals as a universal language. Several examples follow: