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Translation and Interpreting Courses

Undergraduate Translation and Interpreting Courses

Translation, Cross-cultural Communication, and the Media (CompLit 330)

Introduction to translation studies in the framework of cross-cultural and international communication. Students explore the practice of translation in the age of global communication in a variety of media, including literary texts, songs, news media, film, radio, TV, Internet, blogs, and video games. Discussion sections include practical exercises allowing students to experiment with translation and translation theory. Oral presentations and written projects. Knowledge of one language other than English helpful but not necessary. Fulfills GenEd AL (literature) and G (global diversity) requirements.  Professor Moira Inghilleri

Translational Fiction (CompLit TBD)

Many fiction writers, including Borges, Vargas Llosa, Brossard, Crowley, and  Kingsolver, foreground the theme of translation in their work. In addition, many immigrant authors, including Theresa Tak Kyung Cha, Teju Cole, and Khaled Hosseini, write in one language about events that occurred in another language.  Students read and respond to such texts, focusing on the means and languages of representation, the depiction of non-English cultures in fiction, and the connection of translation to fiction. Students become aware of how translation is used both as a means of cross-cultural communication and as a mode of understanding increasingly multilingual cultures. Staff

Translation and Migration (CompLit TBD)

This course explores migrants’ experience of translating and being translated in a newly occupied space, shifts in identity, the glimpses of belonging or not belonging, and the sense of the contingency of place. It considers the similarities and differences in how translation (or its absence) impacts migrants’ experiences in the USA and other countries, viewing these through a rich variety of illustrative literary, ethnographic, visual, and historical materials. It also examines the internal migration of people within nations or regions. Both cultural and linguistic translation are covered, as is the impact of new technologies and social media on the migrant experience. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice I (CompLit 581)

Comp Lit 581 is the first part of a two-semester certificate course in the study of interpreting and translation; students who enroll are not required to take the second course unless they are interested in receiving the Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies. This course is open to upper level undergraduates and graduate students. While no prior experience in interpreting or translation is necessary, students must have a strong command of English and at least one other language. The course will introduce students to research in the field of interpreting and translation studies and to a number of practical skills required of professional interpreters and translators. Interpreting and translation will be viewed throughout the course as socio-cultural activities as well as linguistic ones. The social, cultural and ethical complexities of the role of interpreters and translators will therefore be an important focus of the course. Students will work with written and spoken texts to develop an understanding of micro-textual elements and macro-textual structures and patterns and understand how to analyze both written and spoken texts. They will begin to develop consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills using recorded spoken texts in the language lab. Role plays will be conducted to familiarize students with the triadic nature of interpreted communication. For students in the MA in Translation Studies, this is a required course. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice II (CompLit 582)

Comp Lit 582 is the second part of a two-semester Certificate in the study of interpreting and translation across a range of contexts. In this course, students will continue to build on the knowledge and skills they acquired in the previous semester. Students will work on understanding the institutional and discursive structures of particular institutional domains, gain relevant vocabulary in English and other languages and practice translating, sight translating and interpreting a variety of relevant texts. This course is a designated “Service-Learning” course and endorsed by the office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning (CESL) at UMass. A part of the course has been designed to provide opportunities for students to engage in a service project outside the classroom that is guided by appropriate input from a community partner and contributes to the public good. Selected project sites have been selected and students, with the help of faculty, will be matched with one or more community partners in the first three weeks of the semester. The CESL component of this course reflects the view that interpreting and translation are socio-cultural activities as well as linguistic ones. Your experiences of serving the community will increase your understanding of the social, cultural, and ethical complexities of the role of interpreters and translators. It will give you first-hand knowledge of the significance of interpreting and translation (and its absence) for members of communities for whom English is not their primary language. All projects will involve some additional reading of relevant literature. Successful completion of this course is a requirement for the Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies for undergraduates. Professor Cristiano Mazzei

Translation and Technology (CompLit 551)

Introduction to the exciting world of translation and multilingual computing. The course covers a range of technologies that are useful for students of all languages, helping them expand their international communication skills. Technologies covered include multilingual word processing, desktop publishing, proofing tools, Web translation and design, video subtitling, and the transfer and translation of sound and image files. Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Readings with discussion, experiments with latest technology, practice in lab. Staff


Graduate Translation and Interpreting Courses

Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice I and II (CompLit 581 and 582) - see above

Translation and Technology (CompLit 551) - see above

Theory and Practice of Translation (CompLit 751)

Theoretical issues and practical problems raised by translation, in light of recent research. The role of translation and translated literature in cultural systems and in the history of literary development. Genre and form (poetry, dramatic literature), language register and tone, metaphor and imagery, word play. Texts by Nida, Catford, Even-Zohar, Quine, Toury, Bassnett, and Lefevere combined with workshop practice. One final project. For students in the MA in Translation Studies, this is a required course. Professor Maria Tymoczko.

Translation Workshop (CompLit 691Q)

Focuses on the practical challenges and creative activities of literary translation. Students discuss each other’s translations and read essays on the craft of translation by leading translators, developing the ability to talk and write about translators’ strategies and choices.  Although open to translators of varying levels, students should have a particular translation project in mind since one of the goals of the workshop is to produce a polished English version of a text. All languages are welcome. In addition, students research the translation history of a specific text and discuss it in a comparative context, carry out a short collaborative translation project with a classmate, and write a critical review of a recently published literary translation. At the end of the semester, students submit a final portfolio. Visits from translators, editors, and publishers. In exceptional cases, this workshop may be open to advanced undergraduates when granted permission by the instructor. Professor Jim Hicks

Advanced Translation Technology (CompLit 753)

Translation today involves complex language engineering, information technology, computer memory tools, and sophisticated graphics editing.  This course covers project management, Internet authoring and file-sharing, software localization, and computer-aided translation tools, including translation memories and translation databases.  Prerequisites: Knowledge of one language other than English; successful completion of CompLit 551 recommended. Staff

Translation and Social Justice (CompLit 791K)

This course will explore the role of translation and interpreting in the fair distribution of social justice within communities, societies, and nations, focusing on complex ethical issues that emerge in the process. It will examine the position of refugees and asylum seekers, foreign contract and domestic workers, and the role of translation and interpreting in waging war, maintaining peace, and attempting reconciliation. A central focus of the course will be on the function of translation and interpreting in situations where a clear bias, conflict, injustice, or imbalance of power is evident. The course will also explore the visual terrain or semiotic landscape within which different forms of translation occur, and the part this plays in promoting or constraining individual or collective forms of agency, particularly with regard to migrants and social movements. Students will examine street art and other forms of public signage, web-based materials, ethnographic and fictional texts, including plays, poetry, and graphic novels, non-fictional texts, and films representing a range of contexts in which translation and interpreting play a central role. Professor Moira Inghilleri

The History of Translation (CompLit 691G)

Readings on translation by translators, philosophers and scholars from the ancient world to the present, focusing on the changing role of translation in culture over time. Topics include  the rise of the notion of individual authorship and the significance of gender and the place of women translators. Alternative models for pursuing the history of translation are considered by examining the approaches of Robinson, Kelly, Venuti, and Pym and other contemporary theorists as well. While the main focus will be on history of translation in the West, students will be encouraged to develop projects that explore other traditions. Staff

Translation, Ethics, and Ideology 

This course investigates the ethics of translation in relation to language, culture, literary form, and ideology. How is the translator conceptualized in terms of ethics and ideology? What is meant by the metaphor “in-between” in translation studies? What is the intersection of translation and power? What are the ethical implications of translating difference? How can translation impact on and shift culture and values? Readings consist of articles by contemporary translation and postcolonial theorists. Successful completion of  CompLit 751 recommended. Professor Maria Tymoczko.

Translation and Postcolonial Studies (CompLit 791B)

In a postcolonial context, translation has taken on a broader meaning. Sturrock and Asad see ethnography as an act of translation; Niranjana and Cheyfitz employ it as a metaphor for empire; Bhabha and Rushdie view it as an hybrid intercultural space.  Students discuss these issues in light of post-colonial scholarship in India, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Sections on technology and translation, genre and translation, gender and translation, and caste and translation help widen the field of study. Readings by Spivak, Trivedi, Simon, Chatterjee, Mehrez, Niranjana, and Ngugi.  Several short discussion papers and one final paper/project. Staff

International Shakespeare (CompLit 791C)

This course is to explore the translation and reception of various Shakespeare plays in different countries. The most widely translated texts in the world are books of the Bible and the plays of William Shakespeare. While much scholarship exists on Bible translations, surprisingly little exists on Shakespeare translations. Students will read several Shakespeare plays in English, including A Midsummer Night’s DreamHamletMacbethRomeo and JulietKing Lear, and The Tempest and review the translation of the plays in different parts of the world, including Germany, France, Canada, the USA, Japan, China, India, and various countries in Latin America. Staff



Additional Translation Courses

Workshop in Translation for the Stage (Theater 729)

This graduate seminar is a hands-on workshop in the art of translation for the stage.  Students look at different approaches to the translation of dramatic texts, honing their skills in this craft and discovering  factors that makes stage translation different from other forms of translation.  Each student works on a major translation project, appropriate to his/her skill level in the source language. At the end of the semester, scenes from these projects are presented with actors at a public event in the Theater Department. Collectively, the students in the workshop serve as and producers of this event, helping to curate each other’s work. Professor Harley Erdman.