In addition to our traditional specialisations (higher education, EU, Dutch government, finance), the cultural sector has come to play an increasingly prominent role in Metamorfose’s services portfolio. It all started several years ago, when the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum commissioned Metamorfose to translate its audio tours and other informative texts into various European and Asian languages. Since then we have had the pleasure of welcoming several other renowned institutions in the cultural sector among our clients, including Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht, the AkzoNobel Art Foundation and one of the country’s largest art dealers, Simonis & Buunk.
To a considerable extent, effective translation in the cultural sector depends on the translator’s personal creative skills. For example, an attractive translation of an exhibition catalogue will need to reflect the spirit of the source rather than its actual wording – all the more so in texts on the interpretation of works of art, which require the translator to make creative choices of his own to represent the author’s intentions as effectively as possible. It seems that machine translation, despite its steady advance in several other fields, will remain hopelessly inadequate in the cultural sector for a long time to come.
Note however that texts in this segment tend to be not as nebulous and indistinct as is often thought. After all, source documents on art and culture are also about hard facts, scientific knowledge and historical insights. Metamorfose is happy to have two university-trained art historians in its translation team, who have greatly contributed to our success in this segment.