Translation, Memory, and the Museum Visitor

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the interface between translation and memory in the museum, particularly in relation to visitor experience. Not only does translation happen at the levels of interlingual and inter-semiotic transfer within the exhibition space, but museums also function on a much broader level as cultural translations. Issues of memory at each of these levels are discussed, beginning with the idea of museums as translations of memory. Two key aspects are explored here: the way in which the memories of particular communities can be accommodated and translated in the design and conceptualization of exhibitions, and the role of personal and collective memory in visitor experience. Trauma museums are highlighted as particularly sensitive sites that must negotiate the potentially conflicting imperatives of remembrance and global heritage tourism and balance the sometimes intensely local nature of collective memory with the desire to foster more universal, cosmopolitan forms of memory. Also discussed is the importance of semantic and episodic memory in museum learning. Focus then turns to the multilingual exhibition context, examining how these concerns play out at the level of interlingual translation and how different forms of textual adjustment have been used to attempt to speak to different audiences’ needs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Memory
EditorsSharon Deane-Cox, Anneleen Spiessens
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003273417
ISBN (Print)9780815372158, 9781032226200
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Translation and Interpreting Studies


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