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Student finds passion for art of translation

Ben Van Wyke knows what it means to be singular. He’s poised to be the first to receive a doctorate in translation studies from the University.

Van Wyke, 32, works mainly in Spanish and Portuguese, and has earned a master’s degree and an advanced graduate certificate in translation, both from Binghamton. He has taught and lectured extensively on translation and translation studies in addition to translating a series of scholarly and literary texts from Spanish and Portuguese into English.

Van Wyke, who grew up in South Carolina and went to school in Michigan, has spent semesters studying in Spain and Honduras, and has traveled to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to conduct research on Brazilian translation programs and theory.

He describes translation as an art form, a designation that he delves into in his thesis topic — translation metaphorics, a deeply intuitive rendering of latent meanings in translating texts.

His passion for the discipline is evident within minutes, and it’s easy to see the breadth of emotional investment Van Wyke has in TRIP, Binghamton’s internationally recognized Translation Research and Instruction Program.

Van Wyke has helped manage TRIP’s translation referral service, which supplies translators to professionals ranging from lawyers to doctors. He was also the chief organizer of two major translation studies conferences between Binghamton and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst — conferences that he says have done a lot in the way of expanding ideas in a field that is “promising to explode.”

Rosemary Arrojo, professor of comparative literature and former director of TRIP, describes Van Wyke as integral in TRIP’s day-to-day function and credits him with keeping the program afloat.

“He is so enthusiastic,” Arrojo says. “He is completely devoted to the program.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08