'Non-Expert' translators in a professional community: Identity, anxiety and perceptions of translator expertise in the Chinese Museum Community

Robert John NEATHER*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper focuses on issues of translator expertise, professionalism and identity in and around a community of practice (Wenger 1998) not normally associated with translation: the 'museum community'. In Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau, where exhibitionary practice is predominantly bi/trilingual, the museum community is a nexus of translational activity that brings together a whole variety of stakeholders with differing forms of professional competence (Bhatia 2004). Adopting an ethnographic approach and drawing on interviews with curators and translation-related staff across museums in the region, the paper focuses on interactions between the museum and translation communities in these three cities, as a means of interrogating our assumptions about expertise and professionalism. The discussion is organized around two key issues: community practices, focusing on the stakeholders in the translation process; and community identities, focusing on perceptions of expertise in the museum community, 'boundary practices', and genre ownership. The findings suggest that no one community has the full set of competences needed for fully effective museum translation, and that much museum translation involves an anxious negotiation of differing expertise deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-268
Number of pages24
JournalTranslator
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese
  • Communities of practice
  • Competence
  • Expertise
  • Museums
  • Professionalism

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