2010 Kusch Lecture to Explore ‘Life as Translation’
Rainer Schulte Addresses Translation Studies and Intercultural Communication

The Polykarp Kusch Lecture Series continues its rich tradition of exploring “concerns of the lively mind” when Dr. Rainer Schulte speaks Friday, April 23, at 1 p.m. in the Eugene McDermott Library Auditorium on The University of Texas at Dallas campus.

Schulte is a professor in the School of Arts  and Humanities at UT Dallas, and the director of the Center for Translation Studies, which he established in 1978 to create and implement a new paradigm for teaching literature and the humanities and to promote cross-cultural communication. He is co-founder of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), whose national office also is  at UT Dallas. He is also the editor of Translation Review, a journal dedicated to the critical and scholarly aspects of translation studies promoting literary translation at other universities.

We sat down recently with Schulte for a preview of his talk:

The topic of the Kusch lecture series is Concerns of the Lively Mind. How does Translation Studies fit into that?

“The translator has become the most important mediator in a globalized world.  Translation builds bridges between languages and promotes dialogue with other cultures.

“Translation teaches us that all acts of communication are acts of translation. When we read, when we look at paintings, when we listen to music – we translate these works into our own sensibility. The exchange of literary and philosophical ideas depends on the communication through translation.”

Why is translation an important issue in today’s society?

“Since we live in the 21st century, we cannot avoid interaction with other cultures.

“Each language has a different way of interpreting the world, and for any kind of human understanding to take place between cultures, we must learn the cultural and anthropological situations of other languages. It’s also an important source of preservation: works of world literature are communicated and regenerated through the act of translation. The methods derived from the art and craft of translation provide the academic world with new ways of interpreting literary and humanistic texts.

“Translation studies address how works from other languages can be translated into English, how these translations can be evaluated, and how works from other languages can be understood through the act of translation.”

What does the future hold for translation?

“Translation will have to play a major role in the future development of the humanities to build associative thinking, to build new ways of how to approach the interpretation of artistic texts, and provide audiences with tools to approach the interpretation and the understanding of modern art works.  We have to make sure that our society realizes that translation is the most fundamental way of communicating within the same culture and from one culture to another.”

What’s one thing you hope people come away from your talk knowing that perhaps they didn’t know before?

“The model of translation provides the contemporary audience with a tool to understand the sensibility of new artistic works.”

Dr. Rainer Schulte is  the director of the Center for Translation Studies and co-founder of the American Literary Translators Association.  He is the Katherine R. Cecil Professor for Foreign Languages.

About the Polykarp Kusch Lecture Series

Polykarp Kusch was the 1955 Nobel laureate in physics. He joined UT Dallas in 1972 and was a UT System Regental Professor.

He served on the University’s physics faculty until he retired and was accorded professor emeritus status in 1982.

His science career was marked by a delight in teaching and research, and he connected with his students in countless ways, including via presentations of physics experiments in his “Phenomena of Nature” classes.

When he retired, the University endowed a program of annual lectures with the theme Concerns of the Lively Mind in his honor.

Hearing the Lecture

Kusch lectures are free and open to the public. Dr. Rainer Schulte speaks Friday, April 23, at 1 p.m. in the Eugene McDermott Library Auditorium on The University of Texas at Dallas campus. For additional information, call 972-883-2272.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].