University of Rochester

Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation

student studying

The Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation is open either to matriculated University of Rochester graduate students or to non-matriculated students who want to pursue literary translation but do not want to write a masters thesis.

The certificate can complement a number of bachelors and graduate degrees in the liberal arts. It is equally suited for new translators who need grounding in the disciplines that constitute literary translation, as well as seasoned translators who seek a practical introduction to the business of the field.

The Certificate Program enables students to experience the full process leading to the publication of a work in translation—from evaluating a text, acquiring rights, and editing the translation, to designing the cover and launching a promotional campaign for an international author. The Certificate program begins with a required course introducing students to the theory and practice of translation, includes a practical component in the form of a portfolio of independent translation projects, and features an internship at a press specializing in literary translation. The Certificate program is based on translation into English.

Program Requirements

The following six components of the GLTS Program are designed for college graduates who want hands-on experience as translators along with a theoretical background in the field of literary translation. This includes current graduate students at the University of Rochester. Graduate Certificate Students will be required to take Component 1, the Studies in Translation seminar, and to complete Component 2, the independent project and translation portfolio, and will choose three of the remaining four components, generally completing two in the fall semester, two in the spring semester. A student’s course of study must be approved by a qualified advisor. The capstone of the program is Component 2, the independent project and translation portfolio, which students must present at an annual translation conference.

Students complete 5 of the following 6 components for the graduate certificate:

LTS 400: Studies in Translation (Required)
This course will introduce students to the theoretical backgrounds, practical challenges, and creative activity of literary translation. It will survey appropriate theories of language and communication including semiotics, post-structuralism, pragmatics, discourse analysis, and cognitive linguistics. This course will consider varied and conflicting descriptions by translators of what it is they believe they are doing and what they hope to accomplish by doing it; and will study specific translations into English from a variety of sources in order to investigate the strategies and choices translators make and the implication of those choices for developing a sense of what kinds of texts translations actually are. Finally, students will, in consultation with the instructor or with another qualified faculty member, undertake exercises in translation of their own. By the end of this class each student should have a working knowledge of both the critical backgrounds and the artistic potentials of translation.
LTS 401: Independent Project and Translation Portfolio (Required)
Under the direction of an advisor, students will complete an independent translation project—a group of poems or stories, a novella, or an excerpt from a novel or play—that will be the centerpiece of the student’s translation portfolio. The translation portfolio will also include other translations done independently as well as those done for other components of the program.
LTS 402 (Fiction) or LTS 402 (Poetry): Writing and Translation Workshop
To capture the subtleties of the original literary work and communicate its unique aspects in English, a translator must be a skilled and versatile writer, in control of style and structure. Component 3 in the Graduate LTS program is designed to provide students with opportunities to share and critique works-in-progress with other GLTS students and creative writers.
LTS 410: Publishing Internship
Editorial interns will have the opportunity to research literature from around the world and to work with international publishers and foreign agencies to obtain information on untranslated authors. Interns will be responsible for reading and reporting on untranslated texts, providing sample translations of books under consideration, and writing for the LTS/Press Website.
LTS 4XX: Studies in International Literature (Topics vary by semester)
Focusing on literary works from a number of different national cultures, this course will explore the rich world of international literature, as it takes shape in specific manifestations in different historical moments. A signature course, “International Literature” is different from courses currently existing in any of our national literature programs (English, Modern Languages and Cultures, Religion and Classics, etc.). “International literature” by definition would treat more than one culture and involve the study of thematic and stylistic differences and connections, with special attention paid to issues of cultural influence and transmission.
LTS 4XX: Advanced Literary Studies (Topics vary by semester)
To gain more in-depth knowledge of a specific area of literature, students may choose to focus their studies with a graduate literature course. In consultation with an advisor, students may choose and appropriate course at the 400 level or higher from one of the following departments: Modern Languages and Cultures, English, and Religion and Classics.

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