UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities


60 seconds with... Kathryn Batchelor

2 October 2019

Meet Kathryn Batchelor, Professor of Translation Studies at UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society. Kathryn will be delivering her Inaugural Lecture, 'Translation as Microhistory', on Tuesday 8 October. Read on for a sneak preview...

Translation as Microhistory

Tell us a little about your research...

I tend to be a bit eclectic in my research interests. At the moment I’m working with colleagues from the University of Ouagadougou on a project about health communication in multilingual contexts (65 different languages are spoken in Burkina Faso), whilst also writing an article on Jacques Derrida’s use of translation to deconstruct other concepts.

Why is your research important?

One of the big achievements of the relatively new discipline of Translation Studies has been to show that translation is always a form of rewriting. Far from being innocent, transparent, or neutral, translation changes things. And that’s not a fact to be bemoaned; it’s something that means that translation has considerable power to shape the world we live in. Studying translations and translation activity up close can also give us new insights into our societies and societal attitudes. 

What inspires you in your research?

Sometimes it’s a desire to change policies or approaches; sometimes it’s the richness of learning from people from other linguistic and cultural backgrounds; sometimes it’s just the pleasure of wrestling intellectually with a difficult problem.

What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

Wangling a journalist pass for the 2015 Forum on China-African Cooperation in Jo’burg, South Africa. It was fascinating to see the conditions in which journalists work and to hear Robert Mugabe eulogising China and Chinese leadership first hand.

What passions/hobbies do you have outside of work?

Swimming, reading, travelling in Europe, visiting chocolate factories.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Lucy Mangan’s Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading. I recently picked it up again after forcing my kids to watch The Secret Garden. Mangan is one of very few writers who can make me laugh out loud. In these benighted, Brexited times, I need that.

Register on Eventbrite for Kathryn's lecture


Inaugural Lecture Series 2019/20

This lecture is part of the 2019/20 series for UCL's Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences. The series provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our professors who are undertaking research and scholarship of international significance, and offers an insight into the strength and vitality of the arts, humanities and social sciences at UCL.

All our lectures are free to attend and open to all. You don't have to be a UCL staff member or student to come along.

Lectures begin at 18:30 and are typically one hour long. A drinks reception will follow, to which everyone is welcome to join.

We look forward to meeting you at one of our events.

Take a look at the full programme below and register your place on our Inaugural Lectures Eventbrite page.