Similarly to Translation Studies, the academic field of Tourism Studies has been growing fast since the early 1960s, registering a sensational rise in the last twenty years (cfr. Hsu and Gatner 2012, Jamal and Robinson 2009). The interdisciplinary nature of this field has always been highlighted, fragmented as it is in an array of different perspectives connected with several disciplinary areas - such as sociology, ethnography, geography, economics and management, linguistics, etc. Linguistics should not be considered as a secondary, or minor component of this list: in fact language plays a fundamental role in any project concerning tourism, being one of the most important elements in tourism communication and promotion. And yet, the importance of the language of tourism has emerged very slowly in recent years, thanks to the long-term success of Dann’s seminal study (1996). Nowadays the field of tourism is being explored from a number of different perspectives, and it has received special attention in Italy, particularly in the field of specialized discourse. (Agorni 2012a, Gotti 2006, Calvi 2000, Fodde and Denti 2012, Nigro 2006, Maci 2010). An area which is being increasingly brought to the fore is that of specialized translation applied to the field of tourism: tourism text types have attracted the attention of both translation scholars and translators’ trainers (Agorni 2012b, 2012c, Stewart 2012, Manca 2004), but such a concern does not yet appear to be commensurate with the fundamental role of translation in tourism communication. The translation of tourism discourse is the subject of this paper, and it will be explored by means of a parallel between the specific knowledge tourists are supposed to have and the concept of cultural memory as developed in the field of Cultural Memory Studies, which will be described in the following sections.
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