Most people would agree that culture and art belong to us all – and that these global treasures should be accessible to everyone. The world is home to around 7,000 languages, and between 150 and 200 of these are spoken by at least one million people.
Can you imagine crowds of visitors coming to your art gallery and not being able to enjoy the exhibits because all the information is only in English?
These days, translation plays an important role in the world of art and culture, allowing people who speak different languages to access and fully appreciate artistic expression. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to explore the keys to translating artistic texts and discuss why it’s so important that your cultural centre translate its cultural documents.
Translation in the world of art and tourism: The fundamentals
Art is a universal language that transcends borders and connects people on an emotional and cultural level. Viewed through the lens of tourism, art can also become an attraction, whether it’s showcased in museums or featured in exhibition catalogues or books about the history of art.
Of course, people understand information better when it’s written in their native language. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional translator who has experience and training in the field of art and culture.
This kind of work involves more than just translating a text from one language to another: it requires an understanding of the cultural context and an awareness of the spiritual and moral connotations that an artwork may express. A translator that specialises in this area will take care to accurately convey the message and spirit of the artistic work, taking into account the subtle differences and nuances that are unique to each culture.
Research and specialised terminology in art translation
Terminological accuracy is key when translating artistic texts. Every linguistic detail needs to be handled with care to ensure that the original message is not lost in translation. Translators must have a deep understanding of the context of each artwork and the intention behind it so that they can be sure that their translation faithfully reflects the vision and objective of the artist.
Cultural adaptation and localisation
The translation of artistic texts goes beyond the individual words on the page. Translators need to take into account the unique cultural context and sensitivities of both the artwork and the intended audience and adapt the message to each culture, to ensure that tourists are treated to an authentic and enriching experience.
What cultural documents need to be translated?
The biggest mistake that cultural centres make is only translating the material that they themselves create for their visitors. If your aim is to reach a wider audience and to become a popular tourist destination, you need to consider expanding the material that you translate.
In general, the cultural documents that need to be translated include the following:
- Audio guides
- Exhibit labels
- And, in the case of auctions, a list of all the items in the auction and a detailed description of each.
In our digital age, it’s also important that cultural centres translate their websites, as 82% of tourists use the internet to look for information. Websites need to be accessible and translated into the appropriate languages.
Having information available in various languages, in addition to the local language, gives museums and art galleries access to new markets and increases their visibility. This translates into more visitors and, as a result, a higher profile.
Creativity and persuasion in the translation of artistic texts
Translating artistic texts is not just about communicating information: it’s about provoking emotion and creating deep connections with the audience. Artistic translations need to convey the beauty, passion and transcendence of the artwork in every translated word.
Artistic translations also need to use captivating and poetic language to communicate the spirit and magic of the artwork, enabling visitors to immerse themselves in the experience.
Collaborating with art professionals
The translation of artistic texts for tourists requires close collaboration between translators and experts in the fields of art and tourism. By working together with art historians and tour guides, translators can ensure that their translations are accurate, complete and engaging.
These professionals can share their specialised knowledge, clarify ambiguities and make sure that the translation conveys the authenticity and depth of the artistic experience.
In short, in situations when art and tourism are interwoven, translation plays a vital role in creating rich and meaningful experiences for travellers.
That’s why, if you’re planning to translate artistic or cultural content, it’s important that you select your target languages based on the nationalities of your potential visitors. Apart from English (which is essential the world over) there may be other languages to consider.
Remember, it’s vital that you use the services of a good translation agency. At Traducendo, our specialist art and tourism translators have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the field. Whether it’s a museum guide, hotel marketing material or a tourist art trail, Traducendo produces the best translations in the business.