Translating the Museum: On Translation and (Cross-) Cultural Presentation in Contemporary China

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This paper explores the way in which foreign museum visitors experience and reconstruct cultural identities through the museum text. It examines in particular how translations at one semiotic level ― the linguistic or 'verbal' ― influence interpretation of the broader museum text system as a whole, and draws on examples of Chinese/English museum exhibit captions and text-panels as a basis for discussion. It focuses on the contemporary museums sector in the People’s Republic of China as an example in which a range of issues are particularly acutely focused. These include the extent to which partial or inadequate translation may lead to cultural misinterpretation and misreading; the way that bilingual materials are used differently by source and target culture visitors in relation to the visual and spatial dimensions of meaning; and the presence of curatorial or ideological manipulation in the production of museum translations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslation and the construction of identity : IATIS yearbook 2005
EditorsJuliane House, M. Rosario Martín Ruano, Nicole Baumgarten
Place of PublicationSeoul
PublisherInternational Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS)
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9788995745401, 8995745401, 9788995745403
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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