Wednesday, May 28, 2008


'Formidling' is a particularly difficult term to translate from Norwegian to English. It could be 'teaching' in one context, or 'education', or 'exhibition', or 'sending out'. For example, 'museumsformidling' usually translates as 'museum education'. When I was asked to translate Per B. Rekdal's book "Norsk museumsformidling og den flerkulturelle utfordringen" to English, the title became "Norwegian museums and the multicultural challenge - principles and practices in exhibition and education".

'Formidling' might also translate as 'dissemination'. Compare the Norwegian and English pages from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim:

Here is what Professor Jostein Gripsrud wrote about the term in 1997:

A central ambition of the KULT programme has been to demonstrate the social relevance of certain kinds of research within the humanities and the social sciences and the knowledge produced there. A key word in the programme has been “formidling”, which is the Norwegian version of the German “Vermittlung”. Its meanings include both “dissemination” or “transmission” (of knowledge and cultural phenomena/activities) and , more dialectically, “that which takes place in-between”. In the context of the Bergen project, we feel the term mediation is the most appropriate translation. We want to focus on (a) relations between research in different scholarly disciplines, (b) relations between research on the one hand and society at large and “ordinary people” on the other, particularly with a view to the role of modern mass media , and (c) the role of language (in an extended sense) in these relations and in the production of knowledge.

Gripsrud, J.(1997) Rhetoric, Knowledge, Mediation. A Project on Theories of Knowledge and Media. in The Nordicom Review no 2/1997: 89-96

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