press release
Published: 08 May 2019

International visitors to benefit from student translations of Watts Gallery – Artists' Village guidebook

By Laura Butler

The international visitor experience at the renowned local attraction Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village will be enhanced thanks to a voluntary translation project delivered by students from the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Surrey.

In an effort to raise the profile of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village among international audiences and tourists visiting the UK, 15 Masters students from the Centre for Translation Studies will embark on a community outreach project to translate the charity’s 12,500-word guidebook into Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Norwegian and Spanish.

Situated in the Surrey village of Compton, the former studio-home of George Frederic Watts RA (1817-1904) attracts a significant number of international visitors who currently rely on Google Translate to access the guidebook. This outreach project will enhance international appeal and visitor experience, with the objective of boosting international tourism which will naturally benefit Surrey’s local visitor economy too.

Director of Masters of Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies Dr Dimitris Asimakoulas said: “I initially contacted Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village to see if I could retrieve authentic examples of texts that students could analyse as part of their ‘Issues in Literary Translation’ module assignment. I was met with such enthusiasm that we explored more ideas about how we might collaborate and a project to deliver high-quality translations of the guidebook appealed to both parties.”

Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village Head of Marketing and Communications Susanna Plummer said: “Our vision is for Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village to be an international centre for engaging with mid-19th to early 20th-century art, social history, craft, design and architecture and the exploration of its relevance in our lives. Accessibility is incredibly important to us and we are grateful for the chance to benefit from the support and linguistic expertise of the students at the University of Surrey. This project will enable us to provide content in more languages than ever before, enhancing our relationship with international visitors.”

Head of the School of Literature and Languages Professor Bran Nicol said: “We’re always looking at ways in which we can engage with the local community and this translation project presents a brilliant opportunity. The collaboration enriches our student experience, allowing them to use their refined translation skills in practical application that can also be used as dissertation material, and Watts Gallery will benefit from much-needed publishable guide translations.”

The custom-made translations of the guide will be ready for immediate use via the Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village website. The expansion of linguistic offerings also aids the development of Watts Gallery – Artists Village’s most recent initiative, The Artist's Studio Museum Network, which brings single-artist museums, house museums and studio museums across Europe closer together in partnership.

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