My name is Julia van Duijvenvoorde and I am a cultural heritage academic and translator whose mission is to translate narratives in a way that is both grammatically correct and culturally sensitive. Not only does my threefold approach (see below) ensure that translated texts are as meaningful and accurate as the originals, but it also promotes a more inclusive, diverse, and multi-sided heritage space.
This work allows me to live my two passions simultaneously. Growing up bilingual in French and English, languages have always been a focal part of my life. They then became even more important as I fell in love with the German language during my undergraduate studies in International Relations & German as well as my time living in Berlin.
Although my main reason to move to the Netherlands was to take part in the University of Amsterdam’s postgraduate program in Heritage & Memory Studies, I very quickly started taking Dutch language courses on the side. As had been the case with German, I became fascinated by the new world view Dutch introduced me to and have yet to reach the end of this linguistic journey.
Inclusion through Language
More linguistically accurate and culturally sensitive translations to allow an opening up of the heritage space to a wider variety of nationalities and cultures.
Over the course of the 20th century, the English language has become a global lingua franca. No matter the speaker's nationality, the language offers a particular set of lenses through which to see the world. For every international visitor to be able to understand an English translation in depth, the text should therefore not only respect the language's explicit linguistic rules, but also the unwritten social constructs that inevitably come with it.
Richer, more complex and nuanced translations to support the heritage field's move towards exposing the multi-facetted nature of human beings.
Although binary oppositions such as good vs. evil or nature vs. culture are common tools used to dramatise a story, they are often at the source of much discord and misunderstanding, thus needing to be used with great care, if at all. Recognising that texts come closer to malleable narratives rather than top-down, fixed, neutral information during the translation process contributes to reflecting the fascinating multi-dimensionality of human beings.
Translating not only content, but also the form of the cultural text, to allow the public to give the latter meaning, rather than just making sense of it.
Giving meaning to a cultural text occurs when a visitor has interpreted and placed the new information in the context of their own life, either by drawing parallels, broadening or even challenging existing beliefs. Narration techniques such as the use of patterns, tone of voice or focalisation can greatly contribute to creating that deeper connection between visitor and text. Seeing the close ties between giving meaning and remembering, narrative forms must not be lost in translation.