National Identity, International Visitors: Narration and Translation of the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum

Chia-Li Chen, Min-Hsiu Liao


Although many museums nowadays provide multilingual services, translations in museums have not received enough attention from researchers. The issue of how ideology is embedded in museum texts is translated is particularly underresearched. Since museums are often important sites for tourists to learn about a nation, translation plays a pivotal role in mediating how international visitors construct the host nation’s identity. The translation of national identity is even more important when sensitive topics are dealt with, such as exhibitions of the past in memorial museums. This paper takes the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum as a case study to examine how Taiwanese identity is formatted in the Chinese text and reframed in the English translation. The current study found inconsistent historical perspectives embedded in both texts, particularly in the English translation. We argue that, without awareness of ideological assumptions embedded in translations, museums run the risk of sending unintended messages to international visitors.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Chia-Li Chen, Min-Hsiu Liao

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360