Literary Translation Studies


Literary Translation at Rochester

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In the face of an increasingly global marketplace, translation as both an art and a technical practice is becoming significantly more important in the publication, dissemination, and appreciation of international cultures. In literary fields, translators need to be aware of how to render a source text into another language, and to be able to do so while respecting the style and tone of the original work and the cultural references contained therein. Consequently, literary translators must have superior language and writing skills, and they must also have a thorough understanding of international literature. Moreover, as publishing professionals, they need an in-depth understanding of the practical side of the business of literary translation and publication.

Literary Translation Studies at the University of Rochester provides a multi-faceted approach to the art, technique, and business of translation by combining academic rigor, strong practical training, and intensive professional development through internships with Open Letter, the university’s renowned imprint for literature in translation. The Literary Translation programs include an undergraduate certificate, a graduate certificate, and a master of arts degree.

The Undergraduate Certificate introduces students with high proficiency in at least one language other than English to the theories and practices of translation. Students in the Undergraduate Certificate program translate works of their choosing, and they study international literature and the craft of writing. They also may choose to do an internship with a literary press.

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The Master of Arts in Literary Translation Studies (MALTS) is for those preparing for careers as literary translators. Students who enter this program have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as language and literature, and they will have significant knowledge of at least one literary tradition and foreign language. Masters degree students will take seminars on translation theory, fiction and/or poetry writing, and international literature; they will craft a significant translation portfolio; they can choose an internship with a literary press; and, as a capstone project, they will translate a book-length work of literature into English and provide a theoretical commentary on the particular problems encountered during the translation and the means the translator found to solve them. Both a creative and an academic work, the thesis will showcase the student’s abilities as a literary translator and articulate his or her analytic capabilities as an academically and culturally informed reader of texts. Students for the Masters degree are apprentice literary and publishing professionals, and they will become familiar with the business of translating, editing, and producing books through their coursework and their internships. The MALTS program will prepare them for the complex work of collaborating with editors, agents, marketing professionals and others involved in the production of literary translations.

The Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation Studies is either for students who are already matriculated in a degree program at the University of Rochester or for graduate students who would like to study this field as a stand-alone project. Students in the Graduate Certificate program follow the same general program as Masters degree students, but do not complete the thesis component.

Literary Translation Studies at Rochester is based on translation into English. All students, regardless of level, will maintain a portfolio of translation work they accomplish while in the program, and will work with faculty advisors on their ongoing projects.