Translation as a practice of resemiotization: a case study of the Opium War Museum

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This article aims to investigate how translations are resemiotized in a multimodal museum space. The theoretical framework of this study is based on a semiotic reading of translations, and the concept of resemiotization is adopted to address how the source text moves to the target text. The inclusion and exclusion of semiotic resources in museum space is further discussed through the process of re/decontextualization. The data were collected from a bilingual exhibition in the Opium War Museum in Dongguan, China. Our two research questions were 1) How are semiotics translated from one form into another? and 2) Why were certain semiotic resources chosen over others in this exhibition? Our findings illustrate how source texts, whether written or spoken, can be resemiotized into a combination of semiotic resources, and ultimately reveal how the diplomatic discourse on “China’s foreign friends” seems to motivate the process of re/decontextualization in the Opium War Museum.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTranslation Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jan 2021


  • museum translation
  • multimodal translation
  • resemiotization


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