Webinar series: interaction and engagement in museum translation

Thursday, 3 March (11.00-12.00 UK time)

Engaging the Visitors: The Impact of Translation in Memorial Museums

Dr. Kyung Hye Kim (Shanghai International Studies University)

Registration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hzTd6ToMQUaKwx03WHSxRw

As a repository of human experience, knowledge, and values, memorial museums offer a space for visitors to engage with both individual and collective narratives and experience memory, which may lead them to actively participate in social change. Interpretative and affective engagements, in addition to intercultural communication, are some of the most dynamic, and also central activities that take place in the museum space. As such, translation plays a significant role in generating a similar level of engagement from a wide range of international visitors, whose attachment to the messages presented is likely to be different from that of home visitors. The extent to which translation helps memorial museums mediate the international visitors’ schematic process and challenge their established knowledge can be examined by investigating the visitors’ reception, for example, through questionnaires, interviews and close readings of blog posts. However, failing to acknowledge the audience’s diverse spectrum in the interpretation of survey data is likely to return skewed results, precisely because the audience’s schematic and established knowledge and background information ultimately determine the extent to which they engage with museum narratives, and their willingness to be part of social change. For the same reason, the socio-political and historical context in which museum translators are embedded needs to be considered when analysing any significant translation strategies identified. Thus, centring on the methodological issues arising from museum translation research, this talk discusses rigorous and nuanced ways to read both museum visitors’ as well as translators’ engagement with museum narratives.


Deane-Cox, Sharon. 2014. “Remembering Oradour-Sur-Glane: Collective Memory in Translation.” Translation and Literature 23 (2): 272–283.

Valdeón, Roberto A. 2015. “Colonial Museums in the US (Un)Translated.” Language and Intercultural Communication 15 (3): 362–375.

Ünsal, Deniz. 2019. “Positioning Museums Politically for Social Justice.” Museum Management and Curatorship 34 (6): 595–607.


Kyung Hye Kim is Associate Professor at the Institute of Corpus Studies and Applications, Shanghai International Studies University, China, and Deputy Director and co-founder of SISU Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies. She is a member of Genealogies of Knowledge Research Network and an external partner of Global Health at the European University Alliance Circle U. She is also Chair of Nominations Committee of IATIS, the International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies. Her academic interests lie in corpus-based translation studies, critical discourse analysis, and multilingualism in media translation.