Visitor Experience and the Role of Translation: The Case of MOCA

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


    While a growing body of research exists on museum and heritage translation, there has so far been little empirically-informed consideration of the visitor perspective. The present paper seeks to advance such research by considering the visitor experience of translation in memorial museums. Memorial museums are of particular interest for the questions they raise about how highly sensitive and emotive material can be simultaneously presented to audiences with interests that range from commemoration to “dark tourism”, and how global visitor expectations may conflict with those of the local visiting public. Building on the work of Deane-Cox (2014), Liao (2017), and Deganutti, Parish and Rowley (2018), the paper will begin with a survey of translation issues highlighted in online reviews of memorial museums, including the role of translation in prioritizing “existential authenticity” (Souto 2018) in the visitor experience, visitor memories of translation in other sites visited, and perceptions as to the importance of translation quality. The paper will then explore these issues further though a mixed methods approach that combines in-depth museum visit diaries with follow-up interviews. The paper seeks ultimately to understand how and to what extent visitors use translation in the memorial museum, and how far translation impacts both their understanding of and empathy for the traumatic events presented. The paper will also provide a broader reflection on the possibilities of Visitor Studies methodologies for museum and heritage translation research.


    ConferenceThe 7th Conference of the International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies
    Abbreviated title7th IATIS Conference
    Internet address

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Visitor experience
    • trauma museums
    • museum translation


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