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Course Descriptions

Below is a list of regularly offered translation-related courses at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They are listed according to level.

 

Undergraduate Translation Courses | Graduate Translation Courses

Undergraduate Courses

 

FFYS 191LLC10-01: Thinking Translation

This first-year seminar will introduce students to the place and practice of translation, mostly as it is seen from the perspective of the United States. It seeks to have students think about the ways in which translation is all around us and its importance in our everyday life. Students will also consider machine translation vs. human translation. Students will not only discuss these rich themes but also practice translation via specific assignments. Knowledge of a language other than English is not necessary for this seminar, but will be helpful. Professor Regina Galasso

 

COMP LIT 330: Translation, Cross-cultural Communication, and the Media (Gen Ed ALG)

Introduction to translation studies in the framework of cross-cultural and international communication. Students explore the practice of intra-lingual, inter-lingual, and inter-semiotic 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 seminars include practical exercises allowing students to experiment with translation and translation theory. Students are expected to do oral presentations and written projects. Knowledge of one language other than English helpful but not necessary.

 

COMP LIT 481: Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice I

COMP LIT 481 is the first part of a two-semester certificate course in the study of translation and interpreting. 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 introduces 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 are viewed throughout the course as socio-cultural and ethical activities as well as linguistic ones. Students 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 are introduced to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills using recorded spoken texts in the language lab. Role plays are conducted to familiarize students with the triadic nature of interpreted communication.

 

COMP LIT 482: Introduction to Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice II

COMP LIT 482 is the second part of a two-semester certificate in the study of translation and interpreting across a range of contexts. In this course, students continue to build on the knowledge and skills they acquired in the previous semester. Students 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.

 

COMP LIT 551: Translation and Technology

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.

 

PORTUG 456: 20th Century Brazilian Literature: Belonging (or not) in Translation

The aim of this course is two-fold: it examines a number of significant works in Brazilian literature where strangers and “border crossers” are portrayed and constructed. At the same time, this course explores what happens when some of these original texts in Brazilian Portuguese move and cross borders to the English language. How do the characters represented in Machado de Assis, Clarice Lispector, Guimarães Rosa or Moacyr Scliar, among others, respond to moving, not belonging, shifting to a new culture? And what do we learn from their translation into English about the translation process, about the original, about the target language and culture, about loss and gain, about displacement?

 

SPAN 350: Translation Today: Spanish-English

This course offers students extensive practice in Spanish-English and English-Spanish translation of a wide range of texts and materials: literary, legal, medical, business, commercial, and more. Students build upon their knowledge of both Spanish and English and gain the ability to produce fluent, accurate, and effective translations between the two languages. Students also become familiar with key translation studies texts by theorists and literary translators from the Spanish-speaking world. Through translation practice, students better understand the relationship between Spanish and English today. Consistent attendance and participation are mandatory. Students will complete several assignments, in-class presentations, and a final project. Readings and assignments will be in both languages. Most discussions will be conducted in Spanish.

 

SPAN 397 / PORTUG 397: Multiple Linguistic Worlds: On Multilingualism and Translation in Spanish and Portuguese American Writings

The main objective of this new course is to investigate how questions of multilingualism and translation emerge in Spanish and Portuguese American writings. We will start by looking at the ways in which America has been the scene of multiple encounters between communities speaking different languages and examine how writers both in English and in other languages have represented these collective language encounters. We will proceed to consider the particular language encounters between English and Spanish/Portuguese, and ask how certain texts reflect the inhabiting of multiple linguistic worlds. By studying a number of texts representing these particular language encounters we will attempt to identify the distinctive linguistic elements of these texts and, very importantly, the role of cultural and linguistic translation within this body of writing. The course will introduce the students to a multidisciplinary approach which combines sociolinguistics, translation theory and discourse analysis in order to explore a wide range of genres such as memoir, prose, personal essays and diary entries produced by the Spanish and Portuguese American diaspora. Through readings, papers, in-class presentations, translation exercises and discussions we will examine in which specific ways the intricacies of the authors' experiences as immigrants, refugees, and sojourners happen through the paths of translation and language movement. Professor Tal Goldfajn

 

SPAN 497TC: Spanish Translation for Community Health Services

Students will work in translating from English into Spanish documents for a regional community health services provider while also studying the challenges and responsibilities of working as civically-engaged volunteers in an urban community health services setting. Each week we will engage in two types of activities. During our first weekly sessions, we will learn about the Latino community and its interactions with the healthcare system. We will learn about current health disparities and the importance of linguistic and cultural competency within the healthcare system to address them. We will also learn about different types of community engagement and learn about the differences between charity and solidarity. Our class will also participate in Holyoke Bound, a day-long event in Holyoke, to learn about the history of Latinos in the city, and interact with organizations that are working to improve the community. During our second weekly sessions, we will work in groups translating documents assigned to us by a selected community health services provider. This should give students an opportunity to develop health-specific vocabulary and reflect upon the challenges of translation, as we will have to consider a range of linguistic issues, including choice of dialect, tone, and vocabulary.

 

SPAN 597PT: Practicing Literary Translation: Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish

This course offers extensive practice of literary translation with readings of key texts by translators of Iberian and Latin American literatures. Students will work on a semester-long project of their choice that is a translation involving any language combination of Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, and English. As students become familiar with the varying views of translation, they will develop their ability to talk and write about translators' strategies and choices, and recognize translation as a scholarly activity. This course also provides an opportunity for students to enhance their literary analysis skills while forming a community of readers and writers. Students will complete short exercises, collaborative work, and presentations. Knowledge of at least one of these languages and English required. Professor Regina Galasso


Graduate Courses

 

COMP LIT 551: Translation and Technology

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.

 

COMP LIT 681: Introduction to Translation and Interpreting Research and Practice I

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

 

COMP LIT 682: Introduction to Translation and Interpreting Research and Practice II

In COMP LIT 682 students will build on the knowledge and skills acquired in Comp Lit 681. 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. Cristiano Mazzei 

 

COMP LIT 751: Theory and Practice of Translation

COMP LIT 751 explores a range of theoretical issues and practical problems concerning literary translation. The role of translated literature in cultural systems and in the history of literary development is examined. Genre and form (poetry, dramatic literature), language register and tone, metaphor, imagery and word play are also considered. Texts by translation theorists including Nida, Catford, Even-Zohar, Quine, Toury, Bassnett, and Lefevere are combined with workshop practice. For students in the MA or PhD in Translation Studies, this is a required course. Professor Maria Tymoczko

 

JAPAN 597C / 660: Problems and Methods in Translation

Advanced training in practical techniques associated with the translation of modern Japanese; familiarization with appropriate glossaries, dictionaries, and other translator’s tools. Discussion of specific problems in Japanese-English translation and practice with a variety of prose styles used in journalistic, political, commercial, literary and other forms of modern writing.

 

SPAN 597PT: Practicing Literary Translation: Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish

This course offers extensive practice of literary translation with readings of key texts by translators of Iberian and Latin American literatures. Students will work on a semester-long project of their choice that is a translation involving any language combination of Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, and English. As students become familiar with the varying views of translation, they will develop their ability to talk and write about translators' strategies and choices, and recognize translation as a scholarly activity. This course also provides an opportunity for students to enhance their literary analysis skills while forming a community of readers and writers. Students will complete short exercises, collaborative work, and presentations. Knowledge of at least one of these languages and English required.

 

THEATER 729: Workshop in Translation for the Stage

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