[New Publication] Museum translation as a political act

Museum translation as a political act: narrative engagement for affective experiences in the War and Women’s Human Rights Museum in Seoul

Museum Management and Curatorship 

Featuring both collective memories and individual stories of trauma, the War and Women’s Human Rights Museum in Seoul serves as a site for visitors to learn about and experience the history, generate emotional responses to, and to shape their ethical outlooks. However, the role of translation as it is used for the benefit of international visitors, who most likely will have different mind-sets and cultural backgrounds from native Koreans, has not been examined to date. Therefore, drawing on Arnold-de Simine’s ‘memory museums’ and Landsberg’s ‘prosthetic memory’, triangulated with questionnaire surveys, this study examines the role of the English translations of the audio guide in the museum. This study ultimately argues that translation, in tandem with both a museum’s narrative construction and its display strategy, can be a catalyst for reconfiguring public narratives about past events and the victims of them, by involving visitors in active social engagement.