Cross-cultural pragmatics and translation: the case of museum texts as interlingual representation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter documents issues of interlingual and intercultural transfer in museum texts from a cross-cultural pragmatics perspective. Research interest in museum communication has been limited in translation studies and linguistics, with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Neather, 2005, 2008; Jiang, 2010; Sturge, 2007; Ravelli 2006, for sources in English). The questions about linguistic and cultural representation that arise, in museum texts, from the interplay of systemic or pragmatic differences across languages and factors like museology policies, audience expectations (communicative, textual and museological) and support media, for example, have barely received attention despite their rising significance in a global context. Although there are textual problems (e.g. terminology, culture specific intertextuality or referencing), it is the contextual and the pragmatic that have been least catered for and require attention as the internationalisation of museum audiences and the global dissemination of cultural products gather pace. This is evidenced in translation students’ responses to museum text materials in the context of UK higher education work experience modules that are used here as a trigger for the discussion. Subsequent analyses are then applied to texts relating to exhibits (e.g. information panels and labels available in situ or online) rather than signage or other practical information, within a broadly functional and register and discourse approaches framework. These analyses also deal with text for fine arts displays, as an extension to discussions for the more ethnographic contexts that are the main object of study in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslation: A Multidisciplinary Approach
EditorsHouse Juliane
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781137025463 HB 9781137025494 , 9781137025487 PDF 9781137025494
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameAdvances in Linguistics Series


  • Translation
  • cross-cultural pragamtics
  • linguistic and cultural representation

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