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WMU German professor elected to national board for languages

by Deanne Puca

July 13, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke, WMU.
Dr. Peter Krawutschke
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke, professor of German, has been elected to the board of a national group that represents the interests of more than 60 language and international studies organizations in dealings with Congress and the federal government.

A WMU faculty member since 1967, Krawutschke was elected to the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies' Board of Directors for a two-year term.

He has long been active in the American Translators Association and the Federation Internationale des Traducteurs. He is a past president of both, and received ATA's most prestigious award in 2008 in recognition for his outstanding work on behalf of translators around the globe. In 1997, he helped establish the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation, of which he is currently a director.

Krawutschke came from Germany to the United States in 1960, and then spent the next three years in the U.S. Army, primarily working as a military interpreter and translator. He went on to earn two degrees from WMU, a Bachelor of Arts in 1966 and a Master of Arts in 1967, as well as a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in 1976.

Since 1995, Krawutschke has been serving as head of the University's German Section. His past administrative posts include chairing the foreign languages department for five years and twice serving as director of an on-campus translation center that he founded in the mid-1980s.  He also is president this year of the WMU Faculty Senate, which shares in the governance of WMU by formulating, reviewing and giving advice on policies and other matters of concern to the University.

He has been instrumental in advancing both the fields and practitioners of translating and interpreting. His efforts have not only helped establish worldwide standards and educational proficiencies for practitioners, but also have resulted in the professional category of "translators" being added to the listing of occupations in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 National Data Book. He also played a role in developing an International Translators' I.D., a badge akin to the international press I.D. that protects many translators as official professionals worldwide.

Founded in 1959, the American Translators Association's primary goals include fostering and supporting the professional development of translators and interpreters and promoting the translation and interpreting professions. ATA, based in Alexandria, Virginia, has 11,000 members worldwide. For more information on ATA, visit