The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Academics

Translation and Interpreting Courses

Undergraduate Translation and Interpreting Courses

Translation Matters (Comp Lit 130 AL, Gen Ed DG status pending)

This introductory course examines the far-reaching significance of translation and uses insights and practices from the field of literary translation to help students improve their communication skills. In the first part of the course, students will be introduced to some of the most common debates among translators and translation scholars about how best to translate literary texts. This is a rich and complex question because translation is not just a straightforward matter of exchanging words in one language for words in another. The matter of translation also involves cultural, social, aesthetic, political, economic, and ethical considerations. Students will be able to explore these issues through further readings in translation scholarship, through comparisons of multiple translations of the same literary text, and through written exercises that put theory into practice. Studying these issues will help us understand why translation matters so deeply: it helps us reflect upon the cultural values of ourselves and others; facilitates or impedes cross-cultural communication; enables the cross-pollination of ideas and literary innovations; and reinforces or subverts all sorts of established power imbalances. The skills gained in this course will be useful in improving oral and written communication between or within cultures and languages. In our discussions, we will draw on our familiarity with languages other than English, but knowledge of another language is not required for the course. Staff

Translation, Cross-cultural Communication, and the Media (CompLit 330 AL Gen Ed DG)

This 4 credit introductory seminar introduce students to translation theories and methods that expose them to a plurality of global perspectives on translation. Students engage with a wide range of diverse written and visual texts including literature, song lyrics, film and television subtitles, painting, photography, journalism and advertising. Through their exposure to different media in translation they gain knowledge of the difficulties as well as the new possibilities involved in translating language and culture and learn how to creatively and ethcially addressing those challenges. The course is open to all students. Though knowledge of a language other than English is welcome, it is not required. 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 Translation and Interpreting Research and Practice I (CompLit 481)

Comp Lit 481 is the first part of a two-semester undergraduate certificate course. For those students who wish to complete the requirements for the Undergraduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies, you must also take Comp Lit 482 (see below).  Both courses are open to undergraduate students from UMass and the Five Colleges. While no prior experience in translation or interpreting 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 translation and interpreting studies and to a number of practical skills required of professional translators and interpreters. Translation and interpreting will be viewed throughout the course as socio-cultural and ethical activities as well as linguistic ones. 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 be introduced to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills using recorded  texts in the language lab. Role plays will be conducted to familiarize students with the triadic nature of interpreted communication. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice II (CompLit 482)

In this course students will build on the knowledge and skills they acquired in Comp Lit 481. They 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 “Civic Engagement and 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 Undergraduate 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

Translation and Technology (CompLit 551) - see above

Introduction to Translation and Interpreting Research and Practice I (CompLit 681)

Comp Lit 681 is a required course for the Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies. This course is open to graduate students working in any discipline at UMass and the Five Colleges. While no prior experience in translation or interpreting 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 translation and interpreting studies and to a number of practical skills required of professional translators and interpreters. Translation and interpreting will be viewed throughout the course as socio-cultural and ethical activities as well as linguistic ones. 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 be introduced to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills using recorded texts in the language lab. Role plays will be conducted to familiarize students with the triadic nature of interpreted communication. Professor Moira Inghilleri.

Introduction to Translation and Interpreting Research and Practice II (CompLit 682)

Comp Lit 682 is one of two optional courses (the other is Comp Lit 751) that can be taken to fulfill the second requirement of the Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies. In this course, students will 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 “Civic Engagement and 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. Professor Cristiano Mazzei

Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Translation (Comp Lit 691RS)

This course takes a critical look at issues of race, gender, and sexuality both in translated texts and in the translation profession. Readings will include: translation studies scholarship addressing race, gender, and sexuality; example translations dealing with these issues; and scholarship from critical race and ethnic studies and gender and sexuality studies. The objectives of the course include developing a reflective, ethical practice for translating discourse around race, gender, and sexuality as well as developing strategies to address the marginalization of certain identities in the profession (queering translation, combatting publication inequities for women authors and translators, increasing the number of domestic translators of color, etc.). Students will prepare a critical essay that can be developed into an article or dissertation chapter; or a translation with a critical reflection that can be submitted for publication. Professor Corine Tachtiris

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

Theory and Practice of Translation (CompLit 751)

Comp Lit 751 is one of two optional courses (the other is Comp Lit 682) that can be taken to fulfill the second requirement of the Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies. In this course theoretical issues and practical problems raised by translation, in light of recent research will be examined along with 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 will also be considered. Texts by Nida, Catford, Even-Zohar, Quine, Toury, Bassnett, and Lefevere are combined with workshop practice. There is also a final project. For students in the MA or PhD in Translation Studies, this is a required course. 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

Translation, Ethics, and Ideology (CompLit 791K)

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 Social Justice (CompLit 791SJ)

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

 

 


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.