Translation Studies Certificate Requirements

Program Requirements Units

15 units of courses overall, 6 of which may count towards both the certificate and the PhD degree, and 9 of which may only be allocated to the certificate. Students earning the Certificate in Translation with the PhD thus complete 69 units total, rather than the standard 60 units for the PhD alone.

Course Requirements

Requirement 1

Two core courses, which may be taken in order of preference, and which also integrate translation practice:

  • Comp Lit. 551. Methods of Literary Study: The Theory and Practice of Literary Translation I. A review of translation theories, with a study of translation practices of various literary forms (prose, poetry, drama) and media. Prerequisite native or near-native competence in English and another language. Also open to qualified students not in the Certificate program.
  • Comp. Lit. 552. Methods of Literary Study: The Theory and Practice of Literary Translation II. A review of translation theories and the study of translation practices of various literary forms (prose, poetry, drama) and media. Prerequisite native or near-native competence in English and another language. A more general approach to translation and cultural exchange in a globalizing world than Part I.  Topics will include the ideological underpinnings of translation, the political uses of language in intercultural communication, and the multiple uses of translations of all kinds of literature in a multicultural world. Students will choose a text that has already been translated for critique in addition to producing their own translation; students will be expected to report orally on the process and the product of this project several times during the semester.

Requirement 2

Three 1-unit translation modules (CL. 5521: Translation Module 1; CL 5522: Translation Module 2; and CL 5523: Translation Module 3). Modules are designed for the student to gain further experience translation; texts may be in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Ancient Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Persian, and Spanish. Students may elect to substitute a semester of "Literature in the Making" for the three translation modules.

CL 5521: Translation Module 1, CL 5522: Translation Module 2, and CL 5523: Translation Module 3 are sequential versions of the same course, as outlined below.

a.  Requirements: The student will translate a published text of 10-15  (or, exceptionally, an unpublished text) from either literature, literary criticism, or literary theory pre-approved by the appropriate faculty member.

b.  Organization:

  • CL 5521 Translation Module 1: The first of a series of three 1-unit courses devoted to the practice of translation. The student will translate a published text of 10-15 pages (or, exceptionally, an unpublished text) from either literature, literary criticism, or literary theory, pre-approved by the appropriate faculty member. The student should additionally write a brief introduction to accompany the translation. (The introduction should consist of a brief review of the socio-historical context of the original, the methodologies employed, and challenges encountered and addressed.)
  • CL 5522 Translation Module 2: same as above.
  • CL 5523 Translation Module 3: same as above.

The student will consult the faculty member about an appropriate text for translation.  The student’s choice of text must be approved by the faculty member who will read and grade the translation upon its completion.


c.  Registration: After completing all the steps in section b, the student will meet with the Chair of the Translation Certificate in consultation with the DGS  in Comparative Literature, will verify that all requirements have been met. At this point, the student will be authorized to enroll in CL 5521, CL 5522, or CL 5523 for completion of the translation modules.

d.  Translation Guidelines
The translation for foreign language-based literature or theory classes will be organized as follows (for English Dept. classes, see section ii):

  • A native speaker of English might translate a text from a national (foreign) literature into English.
  • A student whose native/national language is not English, might translate an English text into that national language, or a text from his/her national/native language into English.
  • Translation from a language other than English to a second language that is not English can only be done with permission of the Director, DGS, and the appropriate faculty members.

e.  Evaluation: The evaluation of the translation produced in each module will be done by the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the translation. When this is not possible, the evaluation of the student's work will be done by the appropriate professor from a list of faculty approved by the Translation Certificate Committee and available from the DGS of Comparative Literature (see list below). The Comparative Literature DGS in conjunction with the Chair of the Translation Certificate may also designate another member of the graduate faculty in the corresponding national literature program to certify the exam.

Requirement 3

Two electives (6 units) selected from the following list:

  • Comp Lit 502, Introduction to Comparative Literature 
  • Comp Lit 4300, Seminar in Translation. Topics course organized of issues germane to translation; taught by WashU faculty but featuring lectures conducted by invited speakers. 
  • Comp Lit 4252, Transatlantic Poetics
  • Comp Lit 512, Seminar: Literature in the Making I, II, III or IV   
  • Anthro 412, Sociolinguistics 
  •  Anthro 4121, Language and Power 
  •  Anthro 4122 (WS 4122), Language and Gender 
  •  Anthro 4124, Language and Politics 
  • Chinese 521, Practicum in Literary Translation
  • German 456, History of the German Language 
  • German 457, Structure of the German Language: Intro to Linguistics 
  • Japanese 520, Practicum in Literary Translation 
  • Ling 4171, Phonology and Second Language Acquisition 
  • Ling 453, History of the French Language 
  • Ling 4651, German Language Seminar 
  • Ling 466, Second Language Acquisition 
  • Ling 467, Grammar and Vocabulary Acquisition 
  • Ling 469, Second Language Reading and Writing 
  • Theory, Research and Practice 
  • Ling 470, Language and Learning Instruction 
  • Ling 472, History of the English Language 
  • Ling 478, Topics in Linguistics 
  • Ling 5013, SLA (Second Language Acquisition): Integrating Technology into Language Instruction 
  • PNP 466, Second Language Acquisition 
  • PNP 467, Grammar and Vocabulary Acquisition 
  • PNP 472, History of the English Language 
  • PNP 4060, Semantics 
  • Psych 433, Psych of Lang (PNP 408/Ling 408)
  • Psych 4081, Topics in Psycholinguistics 
  • Span 416, Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics 
  • Fr/Span 501, Language Teaching Methodology (Pedagogy) 

A major translation project (30+ published pages plus introduction) conducted under faculty supervision (3 units of Independent Study CL 500) can be taken to replace one of the courses from the list of elective courses identified under Requirement 3. Normally, this option can be undertaken only as the last element in work toward the Certificate; any student wishing to carry out a project of this scope would need the approval of the Translation Certificate Committee.

Selection of Candidates and Admission Criteria

Offered to PhD candidates only. While intended primarily for PhD candidates in Comparative Literature (including joint programs), EALC, English, German, and Romance Languages and Literatures, the Committee on Comparative Literature welcomes applications from qualified candidates in other doctoral programs at the University.

  1. Students are encouraged to begin taking courses that count toward the program early in their studies here, that is, prior to their acceptance in the program.
  2. Candidates will have demonstrated superior skills in coursework to date.
  3. Candidates will have native or near-native capacity in at least two languages. No one requiring remedial work in language will be admitted to the Certificate program.
  4. Students interested in the Certificate must complete a separate application form. This form, available in the Comparative Literature office, requires the approval of the student's home-based department.
  5. Candidates should submit their application to the Chair of the Translation Certificate Committee [TCC].
  6. Once admitted to the Certificate, the student will assume responsibility for conferring with the Chair of the Translation Certificate Committee at least once annually to ensure that his/her progress toward the Certificate is satisfactory.

Administrative Matters

  1. Students may need an additional semester (9 units) to complete the Certificate. 
  2. If necessary, students admitted to the Certificate program are eligible to request both additional tuition remission (9 units) from the Graduate School and stipend support from the home department.
  3. Students may complete 1-3 Translation Modules (1credit each) independently of the Certificate provided that they have taken at least one of the two required  500 level translation seminars (551 or 552) and that  a faculty member (could be a different one for each module) agrees to supervise the student’s  work on each Module.  Students must obtain approval from the Director of Comparative Literature and the Chair of the Translation Certificate Committee.

Faculty who are willing to work with students in Translation Module projects:

East Asian Languages and Cultures:
• Rebecca Copeland (Japanese)
• Beata Grant (Chinese)
• Robert Hegel (Chinese)
• Marvin Marcus (Japanese)

Germanic Languages and Literatures:
• Lynne Tatlock
• Gerhild Williams                                                                                                                    

Romance Languages and Literatures:
• Ignacio Infante     
• Harriet Stone