Graduate degree: M.F.A. in literary translation
Graduate certificate: literary translation

The Certificate in Literary Translation complements students' primary graduate training to allow them to:

  • become more firmly grounded in comparative literature or contemporary international writing,
  • take advantage of the synergy between creative writing and literary translation as part of their personal writing life, and
  • develop stronger competencies in translation as a method of scholarly inquiry and pedagogy.

Students will benefit from the creative commons established when translators, poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, playwrights, and literary scholars work together for a shared purpose.

The Certificate in Literary Translation is administered by the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Shelf of books photo.

The Center for Language and Culture Learning (CLCL) provides a wide variety of services and facilities to the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, including a 54-computer Instructional Technology Center (ITC) and six "All in One" studios/small group study rooms, each equipped with video production and editing software. The CLCL also has a digital media and hardware collection available for checkout.

Directed Independent Language Study (DiLS), administered by the Center for Language and Culture Learning in the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, offers students guidance on engaging in self-instruction in languages that are not currently taught in the division. Any current University of Iowa student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in pursuing language study to enhance their professional research or academic profile can take advantage of this program. With the support of CLCL staff members, learners design their own study plans to learn basic language skills or improve upon existing skills in preparation for study or research abroad, and are paired with a language and culture consultant when possible. 

Translation Courses

TRNS:1000 First-Year Seminar 1 s.h.

Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities, field trips). Requirements: first-semester standing.

TRNS:1620 Bhagavad Gita: Essential Teachings of Indian Religion 3 s.h.

Students read the Bhagavad Gita and discuss its interpretations and use in classical and modern religious, literary, and political contexts; composed around 2000 years ago, it is the best known and most influential religious text in Indian history and concisely addresses war and peace, duty and righteousness, renunciation, devotion, and the nature of the universe; its been read, debated, and discussed by ancient philosophers, modern religious teachers, and political figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, the father of modern Independent India. Same as RELS:1620, SOAS:1620.

TRNS:2000 Translation and Global Society 3 s.h.

Contexts and functions of translation in the age of globalization; how translations are produced, received, and utilized in various contexts; effects of globalization on ethics, aesthetics, and politics of translation; how we understand cultures when they are received or transmitted through translation; effects of these exchanges on the English language. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

TRNS:2001 Global Science Fiction 3 s.h.

Science fiction from around the world; spanning poetry, fiction, drama, film, television, comics, mobile phone games, and music; produced on six continents. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as ASIA:2001, FREN:2010, RUSS:2001, SPAN:2001, WLLC:2001.

TRNS:2248 The Invention of Writing: From Cuneiform to Computers 3 s.h.

Invention of writing as one of the most momentous events in the history of human civilizations; how the use of written sign systems, notations, maps, graphs, encryptions, and most recently, computer programs have consequences that reach deeply into all aspects of people's lives; how writing fascinates and delights, fosters reflexive thinking and facilitates development of complex societies, and gives rise to institutions of social power and control; students explore the invention of writing and its consequences in broad international and interdisciplinary context. Taught in English. Same as ANTH:2248, ASIA:2248, CL:2248, CLSA:2048, COMM:2248, GRMN:2248, HIST:2148, IS:2248, LING:2248, WLLC:2248.

TRNS:3122 Tolstoy and Dostoevsky 3-4 s.h.

Tolstoy's War and Peace and Anna Karenina; Dostoevsky's Crime and PunishmentThe Demons, and short stories. Taught in English. Same as RUSS:3122, WLLC:3122.

TRNS:3179 Undergraduate Translation Workshop 3 s.h.

Translation exercises, discussion of translation works in progress; alternative strategies for translation projects. Same as CLSA:3979, ENGL:3850.

TRNS:3189 Undergraduate Translation Workshop II 3 s.h.

Continued training through translation exercises, discussion of translation works in progress; alternative strategies for translation projects. Prerequisites: TRNS:3179.

TRNS:3200 Literary Translation from German 3 s.h.

Workshop and seminar on translating from German to English; emphasis on literary translations and studying existing translations; special issues of German as a source language for translation into English. Taught in English and German. Requirements: prior completion of two German courses at the 3000 level or above. Same as GRMN:3200.

TRNS:3201 Workshop in Japanese Literary Translation 3 s.h.

Workshop in translation from Japanese to English, with emphasis on literary translation; issues in theory and practice of translation; special features of Japanese as a source language for translation. Taught in Japanese. Corequisites: JPNS:3001, if not taken as a prerequisite. Same as JPNS:3201.

TRNS:3202 Workshop in Chinese Literary Translation 3 s.h.

Translation from Chinese to English with emphasis on literary translation; issues in theory and practice of translation; special features of Chinese as a source language for translation. Prerequisites: CHIN:3102. Same as CHIN:3201.

TRNS:3203 Russian Literature in Translation 1860-1917 3 s.h.

Survey of major works, figures, and trends of 19th- and early 20th-century Russian literature; age of the Russian novel; works of Turgenev (Fathers and Sons), Tolstoy (Confession), Dostoevsky (The IdiotThe Brothers Karamazov), and Chekhov (plays). Taught in English. Same as HIST:3492, RUSS:3202, WLLC:3202.

TRNS:3205 Literary Translation Workshop in Ancient Greek and Latin 3 s.h.

Translation from Greek/Latin to English with emphasis on literary translation; issues in theory and practice of translation in the discipline; special features of ancient languages as a source language for translation. Taught in English. Same as CLSG:3200, CLSL:3200.

TRNS:3208 Classical Chinese Literature Through Translation 3 s.h.

Reading of English translations of classical Chinese literature; discussion of special features of classical Chinese as a source language for translation; issues in translation practice and theory with focus on trends in translation of Classical Chinese literary works to English. Taught in English. Recommendations: completion of required ESL courses. Same as ASIA:3208, WLLC:3208.

TRNS:3232 French Literary Translation Workshop 3 s.h.

Workshop in literary translation from French to English; practical, ethical, and theoretical questions about translation; focus on specific complication of French-English language pair; mapping style, genre, and literary influences of French authors for purpose of translation. Taught in French. Requirements: prior or concurrent enrollment in FREN:3060 or FREN:3300. Same as FREN:3232.

TRNS:3491 Translation Internship 1-3 s.h.

Translation internship. Requirements: permission of the program coordinator of the undergraduate minor in translation for global literacy in consultation with the student's advisor.

TRNS:3498 Translate Iowa Project arr.

Internship with the Translate Iowa Project. Taught in English. Requirements: TRNS:2000 or TRNS:3179 or TRNS:3202 or ENGL:3724 or JPNS:3201 or FREN:4890 or SPAN:3030 or SPAN:3050 or SPAN:4980. Same as ARAB:3498.

TRNS:3700 Topics in Global Cinema 3 s.h.

Identification of new models and methods to investigate cinema's relationship to current global issues beyond traditional scholarly focus in Western Europe and the United States; exploration of an emerging field, moving away from the paradigm of national cinema and bringing together shared theoretical frameworks while acknowledging different historical and cultural contexts. Taught in English. Same as ASIA:3700, JPNS:3700, WLLC:3700.

TRNS:4040 Topics in Translation 3-4 s.h.

Examination of special issues related to craft, context, and practice of translation.

TRNS:4050 Independent Study 1-3 s.h.

Focused study on topic of student's choosing under direction of faculty member. Requirements: permission of the student's academic advisor or the program coordinator of the undergraduate minor in translation for global literacy.

TRNS:4480 Literature and Translation 3 s.h.

Translation in the broadest sense; originality, authority, authorship, accuracy, ownership, audience; issues problematizing differences between medium and message.

TRNS:4497 Techniques of Translation 3 s.h.

Taught in French. Prerequisites: FREN:3300. Same as FREN:4890.

TRNS:4500 Undergraduate Capstone Project 0-3 s.h.

Culmination of undergraduate minor in translation for global literacy; translation manuscript or a scholarly/research thesis on topics relevant to scope of minor. Requirements: approval of the program coordinator of the undergraduate minor in translation for global literacy; consent of a faculty member willing to serve as director of the capstone project.

TRNS:4800 Seminar in Comparative Literature 3 s.h.

Focus on comparative, interdisciplinary, theoretical, and/or inter-arts topic; topics vary; required for comparative literature major. Taught in English. Same as CL:4800, GRMN:4800, WLLC:4801.

TRNS:4900 Topics in Translation Studies 1-3 s.h.

Current topics and/or issues in translation studies and practice.

TRNS:5491 Translation Internship arr.

TRNS:5500 Advanced Translation Practice 1-3 s.h.

Substantial translation project guided by a faculty advisor; readings and assignments designed to help translator with particular tasks and challenges presented by the project; translation and critical/reflective writing. Prerequisites: TRNS:6459 and TRNS:7460. Requirements: advanced-level translator in literary translation M.F.A. program.

TRNS:5999 Publishing, Prizes, and Prestige 3 s.h.

Introduction to contemporary world literature and its producers, circulation, and gatekeepers; students award the annual Translator's Choice Award for a literary translation published in the previous calendar year. Taught in English.

TRNS:6000 The Craft and Contexts of Translation 1,3 s.h.

Focus on craft and contexts of translation practice; provides students with information and experience regarding the profession and practice of translation; readings, reflective writing, and participation at guest events that focus on topics and practices relevant to the craft and professional contexts of translation.

TRNS:6050 Independent Study arr.

TRNS:6400 Thesis arr.

Translation thesis with critical introduction.

TRNS:6444 Thesis Workshop 3 s.h.

Intensive multi-language workshop; focus on M.F.A. thesis manuscript and critical paratext; translations from various languages into English. Prerequisites: TRNS:7460. Requirements: second-year standing in M.F.A. literary translation.

TRNS:6459 Issues in Translation 3 s.h.

Contemporary and historical theories.

TRNS:6555 Translator-in-Residence Workshop 3 s.h.

Translation workshop facilitated by the translator-in-residence; focus on review and revision of student manuscripts; readings on technique and theories, translation practice, and manuscript review.

TRNS:7460 Translation Workshop 3 s.h.

Requirements: at least one foreign language. Same as IWP:7460.