Literary translation is an essential human activity, necessary and central to almost every world culture. It is a complex activity that both invites and defies the grasp of many disciplines: computer science, linguistics, philosophy, politics, economics, sociology, and cultural history, to name but a few. Oberlin students concentrating in literary translation will study the history and theory of literary translation, analyze specific cases and practical problems, and develop their own extended translation projects. As they gain in-depth knowledge of foreign languages, as well as of the many contexts that shape the production of literature in those languages, students will learn to negotiate different perspectives while remaining mindful of cultural, social, political, and linguistic implications in both the original languages and in English.
For all Oberlin students who are interested in international careers and fields of study, courses in languages, literatures, and translation are increasingly essential. The Literary Translation Concentration can be completed by any student with any major, though the concentration itself may not substitute for a major or minor. Students completing the concentration will have it recorded on their final transcript along with their major(s), minor(s), and Honors. Courses in which a student earned a letter grade below a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the Literary Translation Concentration.
Students planning to declare the concentration should consult with their advisor or a member of Literary Translation Concentration Committee (members listed below) and complete the Literary Concentration Declaration Form .
The concentration in Literary Translation draws on Oberlin’s strengths in many areas and is thus inherently interdisciplinary, as befits our liberal arts philosophy. Students pursuing this concentration will become familiar with the history of literary translation, with key theoretical texts and approaches in Translation Studies, and develop and complete their own projects in literary translation in the language(s) of their interest. Students will also acquire advanced knowledge of a foreign language and learn to understand the literary production of that language within its particular cultural, historical, political, and linguistic contexts. As a result, students will develop their own informed and theory-based approach to translating works from one or more literary genres (such as poetry, prose, drama) and will complete a literary translation project as their capstone for the concentration.
Literary Translation Committee Members
Jed Deppman, Comparative Literature
Stiliana Milkova, Comparative Literature
Claire Solomon, Hispanic Studies
Hsiu-Chuang Deppman, East Asian Studies
Wendy Hyman, English
Kirk Ormand, Classics
Patrick O’Connor, Hispanic Studies
Sebastiaan Faber, Hispanic Studies
Tim Scholl, Russian
Students must complete five full courses distributed as follows:
One full core course:
- CMPL / CRWR 250: Introduction to Literary Translation
Two full courses in Advanced Translation chosen from:
- CRWR/CMPL 350 Advanced Translation Workshop: Poetry
- CMPL/CRWR 351 Advanced Translation Workshop: Prose and Drama
- 300-level Language Across the Curriculum (LxC) courses when 50% or more of the graded assignments involve translation.
- 300-level Classics courses.
One full course in an advanced language other than English:
- A course at the 400 level in a foreign literature taught in the original language (300-level in Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean).
One full course:
- 1 Capstone (or Honors) project focusing on translation in any department. A faculty member from any department with experience in translation should be first or second reader for the project.
No course can count more than once. Example: if a student takes a 300-level Greek course, it can count as either an advanced language course or an advanced course in translation, but not both.
Many LxC courses appear as a one-half (0.5) FC with a linked full (1.0) FC course. Students who take both sections of such courses may count both in the category of Advanced Courses in Translation, for a total of one and one-half (1.5) FC. Students who take only the one-half (0.5) FC LxC section may count only one-half (0.5) FC.
Courses Approved for the Literary Translation Concentration
The following core courses are taught every year. The rest of the curriculum changes annually.