Translation Quality in the Museum: Towards a Greater Awareness of End-User Needs

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This paper explores issues of translation quality in the context of museums and heritage sites, arguing that translated texts in the museum are frequently constructed with little awareness of end-user (visitor) needs. The paper begins with an account of how meaning is produced in the museum, noting that written texts form but one part of a greater meaning system which includes the objects that the texts describe as well as the spatial layout of the museum. It then proceeds to examine examples from the Confucian Temple site in Beijing, showing how a failure to understand the nature of museum texts leads to faulty translation and in turn to an "inter-semiotic" breakdown - an inability on the part of TT users to adequately decade the artefacts presented to them. In the final portions of the paper, various reasons and motivations for the production of such translation are rehearsed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages25
JournalTranslation Quarterly
Issue numberSpecial Issue IV
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
Event2nd Tsinghua-Lingnan Translation Symposium -
Duration: 5 Jun 20046 Jun 2004


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