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"What is gained in Translation." NEH Summer Institute for College and University Faculty

What Is Gained in Translation:

How to Read Translated Texts


National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute

Kent State University, June 7-27, 2015

Welcome to “What Is Gained in Translation:  How to Read Translated Texts,” a Summer Institute for College and University Teachers. The institute will be held June 7-27, 2015, at Kent State University, home to the Institute for Applied Linguistics, an internationally recognized Translation Studies research and instructional center.

 The three-week summer institute is dedicated to the study of texts 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 the humanities. The readings and discussions at the Institute will enable them to use translated texts more knowledgeably in their classrooms and their research.


The institute will be led by Françoise Massardier-Kenney, Professor of French and Translation Studies and Director of the KSU Institute for Applied Linguistics, and Brian James Baer, Professor of Russian and Translation Studies and founding editor of the journal Translation and Interpreting Studies. Guest speakers include prominent translation scholars who are also practicing translators working in a variety of languages and cultures: Rosemary Arrojo of Binghamton University (Translation Theory), M. R. Ghanoonparvar of the University of Texas at Austin (Persian Translation), Carol Maier of Kent State University (Spanish and Latin American Translation), Ibrahim Muhawi of the University of Oregon (Arabic Translation), and Michelle Yeh of the University of California at Davis (Chinese Translation).