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Translating Scotland's Heritage

An RSE-funded Research Network

Led by Dr Sharon Deane-Cox (University of Strathclyde) in conjunction with Historic Environment Scotland

Mediating the past - challenges & opportunities

This research network is a collaborative forum that aims to encourage and advance thinking around the translation of Scotland’s heritage sites across languages, cultures and peoples. It starts from the premise that translation - understood broadly to include interlingual and intralingual translation, sign language interpreting and audio description - plays a fundamental role in how the historic environment is accessed and experienced by visitors. 

We have already initiated stimulating, long-overdue dialogues between researchers, heritage and translation professionals, as well as advocates for the Deaf and Blind communities. We are keen to harness the insights that have emerged from these discussions for the effective transmission and promotion of Scotland’s past, while raising wider awareness of the economic, cultural and interpersonal value of quality translation.

If you are interested in learning more about our previous and forthcoming activities, please have a look at the information below. And feel free to contact us with any comments, suggestions or queries - we'd love to hear from you! 

Communication Tower

"Europe’s cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, is our common wealth - our inheritance from previous generations of Europeans and our legacy for those to come. It is an irreplaceable repository of knowledge and a valuable resource for economic growth, employment and social cohesion. It enriches the individual lives of hundreds of millions of people, is a source of inspiration for thinkers and artists, and a driver for our cultural and creative industries."

European Commission (2014)

Presentations from Workshop Two

Public Lecture

Prof David Katan: 'So what’s so special about Tourism Translation?'

Tourism translation is hardly considered a subject area by translation theorists, and is rarely done well in practice. In this paper I would like to give an overview of what it is in tourism translation that marks it out as distinctly different from many other translation fields, and what aspects of communication and translation theory would help in improving tourism translation.


In particular I will focus on 3 areas. The first is a discussion of the differences between translation as language transfer and translation as re-narration, particularly with regard to the heritage sector. It will be suggested that translated texts do not automatically narrate, and that communicating heritage requires attention to mindfulness, flow and culture-bound tourist gazes. Secondly we will look at specific translation issues with regard to an adaptation of Greimas’ typology (savoir, vouloir and pouvoir faire texts), each text type requiring its own translation priorities and solutions. Finally, we will touch on preferred culture-bound communication (and other) orientations and how they can be used to improve tourism translation.

Bio: David Katan is full professor of English and Translation at the University of Salento (Lecce). His 80+ publications include the seminal Translating Cultures: An Introduction for Translators, Interpreters and Mediators (Routledge) and contributions to the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies, the Benjamins Handbook of Translation Studies and the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. He has been editor-in-chief of Cultus, the Journal of Intercultural Mediation and Communication since its creation in 2008. His current research interests focus on public service translation, translation of tourism guides and transcreation.

Upcoming Events
IATIS 2021 Barcelona - Panel 6: Heritage and Art in Translation
Tue, Jun 29
Pompeu Fabra University
Jun 29, 2021, 9:00 AM – Jul 02, 2021, 5:00 PM
Pompeu Fabra University, Plaça de la Mercè, 10-12, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
We are welcoming contributions to Panel 6 "Heritage and Art in Translation" as part of the IATIS 2021 International Conference.
CANCELLED: Public Lecture - Translating Heritage: Audio Description and Museum Accessibility
Wed, Mar 18
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus
Mar 18, 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, Campus The Avenue, Edinburgh, Currie EH14 4AS, UK
With regret, the event on 18 March has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule later this year, though, so please watch this space for further information.

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