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About the Minor in Translation Studies

The minor is intended for students who would like to put their budding or advanced foreign language skills to work. You might want to build on the skills you learned while fulfilling the LSA language requirement, or you might already be bi-lingual, or nearly fluent in another language. Not all minors translate between natural languages, however: we have designed the program with enough flexibility to allow students to explore the concept of translation more broadly as an interaction between cultures, media, discourses, and disciplines. This flexibility makes it easy to integrate the minor into diverse programs of studies and many different majors: there are hardly any disciplines to which translation is not important.

A final capstone project gives students an opportunity to pursue individual interests in literary, legal, medical, technical, film, or business translation. You may choose to translate across media, to pursue interdisciplinary projects, to develop a creative project related to translation, or to pursue your translation studies as part of an internship or a community engagement project, either on or off campus.

While the Minor in Translation Studies is not intended to certify students as professional translators or interpreters, the minor may prepare students to pursue certification or other professional credentials in translation after graduation.

The goals of the minor are:

  • to make students realize how central translation is, be it in their coursework, their communities, or the world at large

  • to promote critical and creative reflection on translation, and encourage students to pursue various translation activities 

  • to introduce students to a wide range of academic, creative, and career opportunities related to translation 


The Minor in Translation Studies requires a minimum of 15 credits of courses. At least two courses have to be taken in Comparative Literature, and a minimum of 12 credits must be upper-level courses.

There are no prerequisites to the minor. 

No course will count towards the academic minor in Translation Studies unless the student receives a grade of C- or better

Coursework must be approved by the Translation Studies Advisor, according to the following plan:

  • 3 credits: either COMPLIT 200: Translation Across Disciplines or COMPLIT 322: Translating World Literatures

  • 3 credits: An upper-level course (taught at the University of Michigan or taken for credit during Study Abroad) that develops skills in a language that the student will use for the capstone translation project. As a rule, an approved course plan for the Minor in Translation Studies will include at least one upper-level course in a second language. However, students interested in translating across different media, technologies, or disciplines may petition for exception to the language rule, by proposing an upper-level course that develops other skills relevant to the capstone translation project. 

  • 6 credits: two upper-level courses with a central component on translation (taught in any department at the University of Michigan, or taken for credit during Study Abroad). Students may select courses from a pre-approved list, or propose courses for approval. In the latter case, students should identify the translation component and explain the relevance of the course to the Minor.

  •  3 credits: A capstone translation project. In most cases, Minors will design their capstone project together with the translation advisor and/or a faculty member who works in the field and register for COMPLIT 498: Independent Study. Students can also choose to register for COMPLIT 495:  Senior Seminar, which is offered every fall. In that case, they will have to complete all coursework required for the seminar and develop a final translation-related paper or project for CompLit 495.

Scheduling Advising Appointments

Students interested in pursuing the minor should first make an appointment to meet with the Translation Studies Advisor. During their first meeting, the student and the Translation Studies Advisor will devise a plan to satisfy the requirements. Any changes to the plan must be approved by the Translation Studies Advisor, who will provide ongoing advising regarding course selection and planning for the capstone project.

To schedule an advising appointment, check the online advising calendar for available appointments. If there are no appointments available or you cannot meet during regular office hours, send an email to that includes your availability and the purpose for the appointment.

Approval of Upper-Level Courses

Below is a list of pre-approved upper-level courses that will count toward the Minor in Translation Studies. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list, and many of the courses listed below are not offered every term of even every year. Students are free to propose other courses (taken at UM or during study abroad) that include a central component on translation and are offered across a wide range of departments. All courses counted toward minor requirement must be reviewed and approved by the Translation Studies Advisor.

List of Pre-Approved Courses for the Minor

AMCULT 380/FTVM 380/LATINOAM 380/DIGITAL380 Studies in Transnational Media

ANTHRCUL 374/LING 374 Language and Culture

ARABIC 513 Arabic-English Translation: Theory and Practice

ASIAN 457 Translating Korean Poetry: Theory and Practice

ASIANLAN 441 Practicum in Japanese Translation (Hon'yaku jisshu)

COMPLIT 200 Translation Across Disciplines

COMPLIT 222/GTBOOKS 212 Great Books in World Literatures

COMP LIT 300 Global Humanities

COMPLIT 340/GREEKMOD 340 Travels to Greece

COMPLIT 382 Literature and the Other Arts

COMPLIT 422 Comparing World Literatures and Cultures

COMPLIT 490 Comparative Cultural Studies

ELI 390/EDUC 390/LING 390/RCSSCI 390 Community-Engaged Learning in ESL Teaching Contexts

ENGLISH 317 Literature and Culture

ENGLISH 375 World Literatures in English

ENGLISH 408/LING 408 Varieties of English

FRENCH 337 Seminar in Translation

FTVM 485 The Global Screen

GERMAN 449 Special Topics in English Translation

GERMAN 470 Workshop in Translation

GERMAN 472 Un/Translatability in Theory and Practice

GREEKMOD 330 Translating Modern Greek, Reporting the World

LING 342 Perspectives on Bilingualism

RCCORE 309 Study Off-Campus

RELIGION 363/MIDEAST 322 The Qur'an and Its Interpretations

SPANISH 289 Introduction to Translation

SPANISH 308 Workshop in Academic Writing

SPANISH 415/ROMLING 415 Problems in Language Translation

SPANISH 440 Literatures and Cultures of the Borderlands: The Politics of Language

THTREMUS 326 Intercultural Drama

WRITING 302 Global Communication: Rhetorical Approaches to Multilingual Conversation

Registering for the Capstone Project

Students pursuing the undergraduate Minor in Translation Studies have two options to receive credit for the capstone project. The first and preferred option is to design and complete your capstone project as an independent study, either in the fall or winter term (we allow registration for spring/summer term only in special circumstances).  You may register for COMPLIT 498 (Independent Study with the faculty member serving as Translation Studies Advisor), or you may propose an independent study with another faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project. All students who take COMPLIT 498 must complete a project proposal, progress report, and summary in addition to their project. Review the Capstone Project Checklist for details.

The second option is to register for COMPLIT 495 (Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature, offered only in the fall semester). As a student in this class, you will have an opportunity to develop and complete your capstone translation project as part of your coursework, in regular consultation with the faculty member teaching the course.  But it is important to understand that the Senior Seminar is not necessarily devoted to translation studies, and you will be responsible for all the coursework. Students must submit an abstract of their final paper or project for the class the Wednesday after fall break.

Statement on Plagiarism in Translation

Please read the following statement carefully, to make sure you understand what constitutes plagiarism in a translation assignment. You may find it difficult to distinguish between your own translation and that of other translators. Plagiarism is often the result of ignorance rather than of an intent to cheat; once you know what the rules are, you are much less likely to break them by mistake.

There are multiple resources that you may use in preparing your translation, such as dictionaries (online or in books), online translation tools (e.g. Google Translate, Babelfish), translation software (e.g. Trados), community-source assistance (e.g. listservs, online forums, discussion groups), and existing translations (online or in print).  While you are encouraged to use these helpful tools where relevant, it is important to acknowledge the sources you have used, and to recognize that they cannot replace your own work.

If you are confused or uncertain about how to acknowledge your sources, please consult first with the faculty member who gave you the assignment. For further questions or concerns, you can also make an appointment with the Translation Advisor.

If there is reason to believe that a passage in a translation assignment has been adopted verbatim from another source, you may be asked to complete a new translation of the same passage in your own words, or to translate another paragraph from the same text in the presence of an instructor.

If a translation assignment has been completely or substantially adopted from another source, you will receive a failing grade on your assignment and the instructor will follow LSA procedures for academic misconduct. For more information about plagiarism, consult the following links:

LSA Policies on Academic Integrity and Misconduct

UM Library Resources for Understanding Academic Integrity

LSA Student Honor Council on Academic Misconduct

Sweetland Center for Writing: Beyond Plagiarism

Please understand that, in the intellectual community of the University, plagiarism is a form of theft. If you are ever unsure if any part of your work might be plagiarism, there is a simple rule of thumb: if in doubt, acknowledge your sources!



Updated July 2021