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College of Arts and Sciences News

National Endowment for Humanities Summer Institute Grant Awarded to IAL Members

Posted Aug. 15, 2014

 

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced the grant awardees for its Summer Institutes for 2015. Among them is the Summer Institute for College and University Teachers titled “What Is Gained in Translation: Learning How to Read Translated Texts.” The institute, which will be held at Kent State University, home to an internationally recognized translator training and research program, will be led by Dr. Françoise Massardier-Kenney, Professor of French and Translation Studies and Director of Kent State’s Institute for Applied Linguistics, and Dr. Brian James Baer, Professor of Russian and Translation Studies and founding editor of the journal Translation and Interpreting Studies. Guest speakers will include prominent translation scholars, who are also practicing translators, working in a variety of languages and cultures: Dr. Rosemary Arrojo of Binghamton University (Translation Theory), Dr. M. R. Ghanoonparvar of the University of Texas at Austin (Persian Translation), Dr. Carol Maier of Kent State University (Spanish and Latin American Translation), Dr. Ibrahim Muhawi of the University of Oregon (Arabic Translation), and Dr. Michelle Yeh of the University of California at Davis (Chinese Translation). Under the guidance of these experienced translators, participants in the Institute will have an opportunity not only to familiarize themselves with theoretical writings on translation and cross-cultural communication, but also to incorporate approaches to reading in translation into their own research and teaching. The NEH grant will provide support to 30 participants.

The three-week summer institute is dedicated to the study of literature in translation as a way to develop cross-cultural literacy. The institute will focus on features of translated literary texts that distinguish them from texts that are written and read in the same language in order to explore the complexities involved in cross-cultural communication. Specifically, the institute will investigate the deep cultural beliefs and assumptions, related to time, space, and agency, that shape the production and reception of the original text, and, through a series of case studies, explore the role played by translators in presenting that culture to a new audience. Informed by discussions of contemporary translation scholarship, participants will consider translated texts not as mere copies of an original, but as versions that provide points of access to the source culture, shaped both by the translator’s voice and the receiving culture’s beliefs and practices. The Institute’s mission is to provide participants with the resources necessary to engage with the unique issues posed by translated texts, making them aware of a crucial process (translation) that is often ignored in literary study. The readings and discussions at the Institute will enable them to use translated texts more knowledgeably in their classrooms and their research.