Master of Arts in Literary Translation

The master of arts in literary translation (MALTS) program has three components:

The core introduces you to the theories and problems of literary translation, giving you the framework to work on a series of translations independently and in consultation with your advisor. You also take a writing workshop to hone your writing skills not only as a literal translator but as a translator of literature.

For elective requirements, you may pursue at an advanced level of specific national literatures and of international literature as a global phenomenon. You may also elect to work as an intern at a literary press.

The annotated thesis translation is a book-length literary translation into English, accompanied by commentary addressing the particular problems you encountered with the work and a description of your resolution. It is expected that the thesis will be of near publishable quality. The very best theses will be considered for publication by the Open Letter press.

Program Requirements

See the courses page for course descriptions.  

Core (12 Credits)

LTST 400: Studies in Translation (four credits)
LTST 401: Independent Project and Translation Portfolio (four credits)

Plus one of the following:

  • LTST 402 (fiction): Writing and Translation Workshop (four credits)
  • LTST 403 (poetry): Writing and Translation Workshop (four credits)

Electives (12 Credits)

LTST 4XX: Studies in International Literature (Four or Eight Credits)

Focusing on literary works from a number of different national cultures, these courses, which are offered through several departments and change from semester to semester, explore the interactions of literatures from different national contexts.

LTST 4XX: Advanced Literary Studies (Four or Eight Credits)

In consultation with an advisor, students can choose graduate literature courses at the 400 level or higher from modern languages and cultures, English, and/or religion and classics.

LTST 410: Publishing Internships (Four Credits)

MALTS students interested in pursuing a career in translating or publishing are encouraged to participate in one of the following internship programs:

  • Editorial Internships with the University’s Open Letter press—Editorial interns will have the opportunity to research literature from around the world and to work with international publishers and foreign agencies to obtain information on untranslated authors. Interns will be responsible for reading and reporting on untranslated texts, providing sample translations of books under consideration, and writing for the LTST/Open Letter website.
  • International publishing internships—A limited number of international internships may also be available to MALTS students at publishing houses in France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Italy, and Japan.
  • Domestic publishing internships—MALTS students may be able to intern with US publishing houses or literary magazines involved in international literature, such as New Directions, Archipelago Books, and Graywolf.

Thesis (Six Credits)

LTST 495: Master’s Dissertation

Under the direction of an advisor, students complete a book-length translation of a complete work or of a significant selection of a complete work large enough to be presented to a press for publication. The translation will be accompanied by an analysis addressing the significant theoretical and practical problems encountered in the work’s translation. The translation should also contain a short critical introduction, which will address issues such as:

  • The selection of author
  • The selection of texts in the case of a thesis that is not a translation of a stand-alone work
  • The balance of cultural and linguistic fidelity with literary readability
  • How the translation itself is a new way of understanding the source text
  • Translation as literary theory
  • Potential appeal and market of the translation