Translating Heritage: evaluating the impact of translation fluency on visitor experience
Outside of Translation Studies, there is a consensus that translated texts should not read as translations; a premium is placed on the fluency or fluidity of translated texts and this has contributed to the translator’s invisibility (Venuti, 1995). Yet, this fluency can be disrupted either through deliberate intervention,unintentional mistranslations or rich points which Agar (1994) defines as instances of misunderstanding across different cultures and/or languages. In these instances,the translator then regains a degree of visibility.In the context of tourism, that visibility is often for the wrong reasons; tourism translation has been strongly criticized by both users and Translation Studies scholars (e.g. Snell-Hornby, 1996; Valdeón, 2009 & 2015; Sumberg, 2004), precisely because it stands as an obstacle to fluidity; the poor quality of the translation impedes the readers’ access to practical information or cultural knowledge. Yet, regarding the more specific field of heritage tourism, there has been little research on the translation of interpretive material and its impact on the circulation of discourses on the past.This paper seeks to explore translation fluency and translator interventions in the context of translations for French-speaking visitors to Scottish heritage sites. Through a comparative analysis of texts from a range of Scottish heritage sites and their French translations,based on Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (1961), this paper surveys the different strategies used in translation and the implications of fluent or disfluent translations on visitor experience and engagement.