The Linguist

The Linguist 56,5 – October/November 2017

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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8 The Linguist Vol/56 No/5 2017 FEATURES Are foreign visitors missing out at popular attractions? Chloe Paver and Matthew Philpotts ask whether translated materials in German museums could do better A black and white photograph from the 1930s shows a young boy proudly clutching an out- sized paper cone. It serves as a lead image for one of the Jewish Museum Berlin's excellent online exhibitions. In the English version of the accompanying text, the Zuckertüte becomes 'a cone full of candy', a translation of the object's material function rather than its cultural associations. In the German-speaking world, a Schultüte is given to children on their first day at school; the ritual is not complete until a photo is taken of the new schoolchild proudly, or anxiously, clasping the Tüte. To a German viewer, the photograph therefore signals the self-evidence with which this Jewish-German family occupied its place in German society – an effect heightened by the motif printed on the paper cone: kitsch images of a boy and girl in decidedly non-Jewish, Bavarian dress. Today, #Schultüte and #ersterSchultag are popular Instagram hashtags. This continuity of cultural practice invites the German viewer to relate the Jewish boy's experience to the here and now: What would the social exclusion of a schoolchild mean today? Along with other examples from history museums, the Schultüte got us thinking about what translation does at the museum and, more intriguingly, what it does not do and what it might be able to do. Like subtitling and dubbing, museum translation sets necessary but artificial restrictions on word-length and format. An exhibition board is not the place for lengthy glosses, or for contextual information about social values and practices. Exhibition texts in English also have to work for a global tourist audience, which means that finding UK or US comparators is not necessarily an option. Our academic work, being carried out at the universities of Exeter and Liverpool, focuses on museums about TOURIST ABSTRACTION JEWISH MUSEUM Unlike other museum architecture in Germany, the concept for the Jewish Museum Berlin building is explained to visitors in English and German. However, historic cultural artefacts that are instantly recognisable to German visitors are not always described for tourists

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