Interview to Nathalia Chiappani, on Museology

28th October 2007

Can you give me a definition of Museology?

Museology is an interdisciplinary science, which studies the Museum (its role in society, organization, management and design) and the evolution of the concept of museum troughout History.

Which is the ideal mission of a museum, in your opinion?

The ideal mission of a museum is to collect and preserve our heritage, transmitting the results of its researches to society and providing an educational and a pleasant environment for its visitors.

Can you tell me about your collaboration with a museum in Rio?

For a while, I worked as a volunteer in a geology/paleontology museum in Rio. It was a short period, but also a great experience. It is not a big museum and they have a very low budget (as most of the museums in Brazil), but they have a wonderful collection of rocks and fossils. My job there was basically to organize and catalog the items that were not on display. Nowadays I am working for a private art collector.

Do you think that the best way to stimulate people to visit a museum is a guided visit service or display panels?

In my opinion, the best way to stimulate museum visitors is using as many interactive resources as possible. Not everybody has the patience to walk around those big rooms full of things having to read those tiny labels to find out what are he or she is looking at. That's the reason why some people consider museums a boring place. When you give the visitors the opportunity to interact with the exhibition, with the use of computers and holograms or even touching the objects (this option is not always possible, though, as it gets in conflict with the concepts of conservation), it is guaranteed that they will actively enjoy it, specially the children.

Which kind of jobs one can do in Brazil after obtaining a degree in Museology?

That is something I am still trying to figure out, as I am still in the second year of the course. In theory, a professional in this area is able to work in several kinds of institutions that go from private collections to archives and zoos. Basically, anywhere that requires a professional capable of organizing exhibitions, familiar with the concepts of conservation and preservation of items, etc. In practice, things are not that easy, considering that this profession in Brazil is not well recognized yet and constantly professionals of other areas are hired to do what is supposed to be our job.

Do you think you will go to Europe for extra experience in your field?

I hope I can do that. Europe has so many great museums and has a lot to offer in terms of culture and knowledge. In the short time I've been there, I was impressed by the importance given to education and how the children were stimulated to visit those museums and how they enjoyed it. Unfortunately, in Brazil our reality is very different. It's shameful to see that the government just doesn't care about that. Museums, here, don't have much support from the government, and neither do schools or universities, and that is a very challenging situation for one who wants to work with culture and arts.

Let's change subject, now. I know that you work as a freelancer in movie translations from English to Portuguese. Can you tell me about your job?

My job as a translator is, basically, to write a version of the original script in Portuguese. It takes about two days to translate all the lines of the movie and after it's done, the actors dub these lines based on this new script. In the future I plan to work also with book translations.

Which are the greatest difficulties in that kind of translation?

One of the greatest difficulties regarding movie translation is writing a line in Portuguese that has the same length as the one in English, so there won't be any problems like the mouth of the actor stops moving while he is still talking. It's difficult to do that, especially because those languages are very different from each other. Besides that, there's always the problem of slang and jokes. It can be quite hard to find the correspondent expression in Portuguese and, in the case of jokes, most of the time I have to create a new one; otherwise it will make no sense at all.