Translation Studies

The undergraduate secondary field in Translation Studies offers students the opportunity to undertake a sustained study of the theory and practice of translation. More than simply examining how meaning is transferred from one language to another, translation studies opens up a space to examine linguistic encounter and exchange across languages, as well as across multiple cultures and disciplines. Students who pursue a secondary field in Translation Studies will root their translation work within language study, but they will be able to expand their engagement with the art and craft of translation to encompass questions raised by different genres, media, and disciplinary questions and practices.

Housed in the Department of Comparative Literature, the secondary field in Translation Studies allows students to deepen their interaction with a non-English language, to take courses across departments which consider a range of theoretical issues raised by the process of translation (e.g., problems of language and style, issues of power dynamics in the uneven global landscape, and strategies for reinscribing elements of a non-English text within an American or Anglophone context), and to engage in a capstone translation project.

Students who pursue a secondary field in Translation Studies must be sufficiently proficient in a non-English language to translate a non-English work into English. This proficiency can be demonstrated through 1) the completion of one upper-level language course (see attached list); or 2) an hour-long translation exam administered by the Department of Comparative Literature. If a student wishes to work in a non-English language not offered at Harvard, every effort will be made to find local resources to support the interest.

The secondary field in Translation Studies will likely be of particular interest to students concentrating in the Humanities; but the participation of students from outside of the Humanities who are interested in translation and intercultural communication is strongly encouraged as well.