[CFP] IATIS 2018 – Translation and Cultural Mobility PANEL 06: Museum Translation: Encounters across Space and Time


PANEL 06: Museum Translation: Encounters across Space and Time

Panel Organizers:
Min-Hsiu Liao (Heriot-Watt University)
Sharon Deane-Cox (University of Strathclyde)

The panel will address the conference theme “translation and cultural mobility” in the specific context of museums. Museums are important sites of intercultural encounter, bringing visitors into contact with the tangible and intangible traces of other peoples, spaces and times. That encounter is frequently mediated through translation: many museums now provide international visitors with bilingual or multilingual texts in various modes, such as labels, text panels, leaflets, websites, audio guides, videos, interactive panels, tour guides. In multilingual societies, museums are often required by law to provide translation services. It follows that translation has the capacity to shape how the visitor understands and responds to the objects, images, sounds and memories that have been incorporated into a given collection or exhibition. Of particular interest are the various ways in which the translation of museum narratives re-mediates identities, voices, ideologies and pedagogies.

Taking its lead from the pioneering work of Kate Sturge (2007) and Robert Neather (2008), this panel aims to encourage and expand critical discussion on the important role played by translations in museums, not least since research on this topic remains relatively scant. This panel recognizes museum translation as an interdisciplinary research topic that can draw theoretical frameworks and methodological models from a range of academic fields, e.g. translation studies, museum studies, tourism studies, memory studies. Furthermore, museums as multimodal sites provide translation researchers with a rich source of data to examine how different modes of texts interact and communicate. This panel ultimately seeks to open up a collaborative and supportive space for researchers whose interests coincide with the topic, and in so doing, further our understanding of how translation mobilizes and directs cultural, cognitive, commemorative etc. encounters in the museum.
Contributors may address any aspects of museum translation. Below is a list of suggested questions:

  • How are individual, regional and national identities translated in museums?
  • How does translation transmit individual and collective memories in the museum?
  • What role does translation play in a museum’s narration of war, genocide and other traumatic experiences?
  • How do translations help museum visitors learn about other cultures?
  • How do translations negotiate different language communities in museums that are situated in multilingual societies?
  • How do translations mediate intersemiotic encounters in the multimodal space of museums?
  • How do visitors use translations in the museum?
  • How do museums decide on and implement translation policies?
  • Which theories and methodologies are helpful for the exploration of museum translation?

For informal enquiries: m.liao@hw.ac.uk

Min-Hsiu Liao is Lecturer of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University. Her recent research projects explored various aspects of museum translations, including how museum texts interact with visitors, how national identities are embedded in museum texts, and how narratives of trauma travel through time in memorial museums. Her articles on the topic of museum translation have been published in a range of interdisciplinary journals, including Translation Spaces, Museum and Society, Tourism Management, and East Asian Journal of Popular Culture.

Sharon Deane-Cox joined the University of Strathclyde as a Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting in October 2016, having previously held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship and various teaching fellowships at University of Edinburgh. Her research is anchored in the field of Translation Studies, but also intersects with a wide array of other disciplines, including Memory Studies, Holocaust Studies, Museum Studies, linguistics, and sociology. She is particularly interested in the translation of French individual and collective memories of occupation and deportation during WWII. She is author of the monograph Retranslation: Translation, Literature and Reinterpretation (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014) and a member of the IATIS Regional Workshop Committee.