Visiting Professor in Poetics of Translation to Hold Inaugural Lecture

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Karin Betz will be speaking about her work as a translator at the Institut français on November 1, 2021

The translator Karin Betz will be delivering her inaugural lecture as visiting professor to Freie Universität Berlin on November 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. She will be serving as August Wilhelm von Schlegel Visiting Professor in Poetics of Translation this winter semester. The translator of Chinese literature will be speaking about the perils of intercultural translation in her talk "Irrfahrten auf dem Weg zur interkulturellen Übersetzung" at the Institut français. Established in 2007 by the Deutsche Übersetzerfonds and Freie Universität Berlin, the visiting professorship is the first of its kind in the German-speaking world devoted to the art of translation. A new person is selected each year to come to the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature during the winter semester.

Karin Betz studied modern and classical Chinese, philosophy and politics in Frankfurt am Main, Chengdu (China), and Tokyo (Japan) and worked in cultural exchange. Since 2009, she has worked primarily as a literary translator from Chinese - and occasionally English and Spanish - into German. She has translated writers such as the Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mo Yan, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, peace prize winner Liao Yiwu, and the popular science-fiction author Liu Cixin. Her translation work focuses on contemporary Chinese literature. She received the City of Zug’s 2013 Recognition Award for her translation of "The Reincarnation of The Ants" by Liao Yiwu and the 2017/2018 China Writers Association’s Translation Prize for Yan Ge’s "The Chilli Bean Paste Clan."

"Poetics of Translation," the ambitious title of this professorship, defines its agenda. Since its establishment, the chair has been intended as a prominent space for reflecting on the historical methods and theories of literary translation, as well as examining the relevance of translation to literature and cultural history. The professor’s own translation methods as well as those of others become objects of critical reflection, while the technique of comparative text analysis brings the original into dialogue with its translation or invites an analysis of different translations of the same text. August Wilhelm von Schlegel, the professorship’s namesake, was himself known for his work as a literary scholar, poet, and literary translator. His remarkable translations from Sanskrit (Bhagavad Gita), Italian (Dante), Spanish (Calderón, Cervantes), and English (Shakespeare) made him a key figure in both literary theory and translation theory.

Event Location and Registration

The inaugural lecture will take place on November 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. at the Institut français Berlin, Kurfürstendamm 211, 10719 Berlin. Please register for the event before October 29, 2021, by sending an email to the following address: anmeldung@uebersetzerfonds.de (in the subject line please write "Antrittsvorlesung" + your last name).

The event will also be broadcast via livestream. The link will be posted in advance at: www.uebersetzerfonds.de.


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