With an increasingly global marketplace, translation as both an art and a technical practice is becoming more important in the publication, dissemination, and appreciation of international cultures.

In literary fields, translators need to be aware of how to render a source text into another language, and to be able to do so while respecting the style and tone of the original work and the cultural references contained therein. To do this, literary translators must have superior language and writing skills, as well as a thorough understanding of international literature.

As publishing professionals, it is also important to have an in-depth understanding of the business side of literary translation and publication.

Literary translation studies at the University of Rochester provides a multi-faceted approach to the art, technique, and business of translation by combining academic rigor, strong practical training, and intensive professional development through internships with Open Letter, the University’s renowned imprint for literature in translation.

Undergraduate Program

The literary translation certificate introduces students with high proficiency in at least one language other than English to the theories and practices of translation. Students in the certificate program translate works of their choosing, and they study international literature and the craft of writing. They also may choose to do an internship with a literary press.

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Literary Translation Studies (MALTS) is for those preparing for careers as literary translators. Students who enter this program have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as language and literature, and they will have significant knowledge of at least one literary tradition and foreign language.

As a part of this program our students:

  • Take seminars on translation theory, fiction and/or poetry writing, and international literature
  • Craft a significant translation portfolio
  • Intern with a literary press
  • Participate in a capstone project where they translate a book-length work of literature into English and provide a theoretical commentary on their translating problems and solutions 

Our students also become familiar with the business of translating, editing, and producing books through their coursework and internships. Our MALTS program prepares them for the complex work of collaborating with editors, agents, marketing professionals, and others involved in the production of literary translations.

Literary translation studies at Rochester is based on translation into English. All students, regardless of level, will maintain a portfolio of translation work they accomplish while in the program, and will work with faculty advisors on their ongoing projects.

The advanced certificate in literary translation is either for students who are already matriculated in a degree program at the University of Rochester or for graduate students who would like to study this field as a stand-alone project. Students in the advanced certificate program follow the same general program as master's degree students, but do not complete the thesis component.