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Current Location:Home >> News and Events >> Professor Michael Steppat Gave Virtual Lecture for Faculty of Foreign Languages, JUFE
Professor Michael Steppat Gave Virtual Lecture for Faculty of Foreign Languages, JUFE

On March 30, Professor Michael Steppat was invited to deliver a lecture for Faculty of Foreign Languages, JUFE on the topic of Rethinking Translation: Challenges of Interculturality.

Dr. Michael Steppat is currently an Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Bayreut University, Germany. He used to Professor Fulbright of the University of Texas, Research Professor of Arizona State University, Honorary Professor of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, resident Scholar of the John Kruger Center of the Library of Congress, and distinguished Professor of Shanghai Foreign Studies University.

Based on Tencent video conferencing platform, the lecture was presided by Du Jingping, vice dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages. More than 150 participants, including Dean Zhang Xifeng, vice dean Tu Niangen and Zhang Xiangjun, teachers and students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages, and teachers and students from other universities attended the lecture.

In the beginning, Dr. Steppat showed some funny experiences with translations, and asked audiences to find out the reasons behind, thus triggering a heated discussion among them.

Then, he cited Walter Benjamin’s definition about the Translator’s Task and illustrated that languages relate to each other, no language can be isolated. The same is true of translation, which does not exist for the sake of the reader and cannot fill the gap between source text and foreign reader. Namely, word for word translation just reveals the foreignness of a foreign syntax and shows how language works. But in fact, translation practice includes not only the linguistic transformation, but also the cultural perspectives. That is why we continue to learn cross-culture under existing, well-functional machine translation. Human society contains different cultural systems, so translation is a kind of exchanges and communication under cross-cultural systems, involving the intention of the author. When referring to the dynamic equivalence theory of Eugene Nida, which emphasizes formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence between source text and target text, Dr. Steppat bore the reservation about whether this equivalence can be achieved in real life.

Dr. Steppat cited Hofstede's three levels of uniqueness in human mental programming. The bottom is human nature, the middle layer represents culture, and the top is personal personality.

Finally, Dr. Steppat proposed the concept of “Cultural hybridity” as one possible solution to translation practice. Culture is dynamic and the cultural frames which participants in the translation process share are not bound to any specific culture, meaning that translation has the potential to create a sense of Third Space.

At the end of the lecture, the teachers and students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages actively asked questions, such as, how to treat the dynamic equivalence theory dialectically, and how to enhance the understanding of the culture of the source language in the translation practice and so on.

Finally, Dean Zhang Xifeng and vice dean Du Jingping, expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Steppat for his wonderful speech, and sincerely invited him to visit JUFE.

By Zhi Zhangyue & Du Jingping