Judith Turnbull Sapienza University of Rome “Museum communication:  The role of translation in disseminating culture.”


This article examines the English translation of Italian museum website pages as vehicles of cultural dissemination. Museum communication aims to make information about exhibits accessible to the wider public who will come from different cultural and educational backgrounds and age groups, with different learning styles and interests. The complexity of Museum Communication is compounded by the internationalisation of museum audiences where the use of English as a target language in translation will serve a dual purpose – firstly, to address native speakers and secondly, to act as a lingua franca for many other readers. Not only must the translation deal with textual difficulties (terminology, systemic and rhetorical differences between languages), but also culture specific pragmatics and contextual factors, especially about readers’ expectations. The analysis has been made drawing on Juliane House’s Recontexualization Model of Translation (2006) and highlights three areas of interest: the lexicon, ‘foreignness’, and cross-cultural pragmatics.

Keywords: museum communication, translation, English as lingua franca, culture, context, pragmatics.


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