Sophie Decroupet is a PhD fellow in the Department of Translation, Interpretation, and Communication at Ghent University. Her research focuses on translation and museums and combines a broad metaphorical perspective of “the museum as translation” with an analysis of translated texts. Her project aims to propose a comparative study of museums and to determine the impact of translations on representations and narratives of climate change. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies (Harvard University) and a Master in Art History (Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne) and has professional experiences in museums and galleries. At Ghent University, she is affiliated with the TRACE research group.
In recent years, climate change has not only become a major topic in scientific discourse but also in many other areas, including as a focus of displays in museums. Museum exhibitions represent climate change, sometimes to display or discuss knowledge, sometimes to motivate environmental action. Sophie’s project proposes a transnational comparative study of Natural History museums to look at how they construct narratives about nature’s past and present to invite international visitors to learn about climate change. Building on previous research on Memory museums, it questions whether environmental memory is mobilized in museums to motivate positive environmental action in the present. Museums can be considered as “translation spaces,” places of heightened language awareness and intense cultural transaction. Therefore, translation is used as a framework for this research and is analyzed as both a metaphorical transfer process and an interlingual activity. Museums “translate” stories for their visitors through the selection and combination of objects and texts, and through various scenographic strategies; but as touristic destinations, they also resort to translation “proper” to cater to different language user needs. The study thus combines a broad metaphorical perspective with a micro-level analysis of translated texts towards the study of environmental narratives in museums.
Department of Translation, Interpretation, and Communication Ghent University