Kent State’s Institute for Applied Linguistics Receives NEH Grant to Host Translation Institute | Kent State University

Kent State’s Institute for Applied Linguistics Receives NEH Grant to Host Translation Institute

Three-Week Summer Institute will Enhance Cross-Cultural Understanding

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Kent State University’s Institute for Applied Linguistics (IAL), in the College of Arts and Sciences, a $166,000 grant to host a three-week summer institute on literature in translation as a means of enhancing cross-cultural understanding for 30 college and university teachers from across the U.S. 

The project titled “What is Gained in Translation?” will provide professional development opportunities for college faculty. Led by two professors in Kent State’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Brian Baer, Ph.D., and Françoise Massardier-Kenney, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Applied Linguistics, the institute will run June 7-27, 2015. It is one of 15 Institutes for University and College Teachers funded by the NEH.

The grant, part of $34 million in grants for 177 humanities projects recently announced by the NEH, was one of only three awarded to Ohio institutions. The two others were awarded to the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus.  

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. 

“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,” Massardier-Kenney said. “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 as it is 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 specific questions posed by translated texts. The readings and discussions at the institute will enable participants to use translated texts more knowledgeably in their classrooms and their research.

“As American colleges and universities seek to globalize their curriculums, instructors have come to rely more and more on translated texts,” Baer said. “Many instructors do not know how to address the texts that have been selected and re-presented in another language for an audience often very different from that of the original. The failure to treat the specificity of translated texts in a pedagogically sound way increases the likelihood that these texts will be made to align with the reader’s previously held cultural beliefs and perspectives, and that their ‘difference’ will be lost.”

“The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support these exceptional research, educational and public programs in the humanities,” said NEH acting Chairman Carole Watson. “The projects made possible by these grants will enrich our knowledge of our history and ourselves, encourage reflection on the traditions and values that have shaped our culture, and help preserve and make accessible our nation’s diverse wealth of humanities materials and resources.”

About Kent State University’s Institute for Applied Linguistics
Kent State University’s Institute for Applied Linguistics has the largest graduate (M.A. and Ph.D.) translation studies program in the U.S. and is recognized internationally as a leading translation studies research and instructional center with 10 tenured/tenure-track Translation Studies faculty members. It is home to Translation and Interpreting Studies, one of only two American journals devoted to the study of translation, and the American Translation Association Scholarly Series. For more information about the Institute of Applied Linguistics at Kent State, visit

About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

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Media Contacts:
Françoise Massardier-Kenney,, 330-672-1792
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Friday, September 19, 2014 - 4:34pm
UPDATED: Monday, January 26, 2015 - 11:09am
Jim Maxwell