Students pursuing the undergraduate Minor in Translation Studies have two options to receive credit for the capstone project. The first 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, in regular consultation with the faculty member teaching the course.
The second option is to design and complete your capstone project as an independent study, either in the fall or winter term (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 Adviser), or you may propose an independent study with another faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project.
Past Capstone Projects
Olivia Alge ’17 (BS, Informatics) found a way to integrate her studies in computer science with her passion for language. Her capstone project was a paid internship through Lakeside Software Company, where she translated software strings from English to Spanish. As she developed skills in technical translation and technical writing in Spanish, she was able to apply what she had learned in her translation classes to her methods of translating. Throughout her undergraduate studies Olivia also enjoyed participating in the annual U-M Translate-a-thon, and she plans to continue working on literary and technical translations while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics at Michigan.
Sara Cusack ’17 (BA, Asian Studies-Chinese and Cognitive Science-Language and Cognition; Minor in Community Action and Social Change) dedicated her capstone project to volunteering as a law clerk at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC). She worked with Spanish and also with Chinese in translating client declarations and correspondence, and interpreting for client meetings. As she practiced literary, legal, and technical translation, her internship also provided a platform to engage with translation as civil service and social justice, and to reflect on the ethics of translation. Sara will continue this work as Engelhard Social Justice Fellow, supported by the U-M Center for Engaged Academic Learning.
Thomas Degroat ’17 (BS, Neuroscience) approached his capstone project as a translation between media. He adapted an excerpt from George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, into a script designed as pilot episode for a television mini-series. Using concepts from translation theory to describe adaption from literary to film, he found new and exciting ways to think about his experience of translating. He expects that translation will become even more important as he continues, especially in the science field.
Haley Schafer ’17 (BA, French and International Studies) translated selected interviews from the movie HUMAN: Le Film, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. By transcribing audio into text, and translating from French into English, she was able to refine her listening language skills and to recreate compelling testimonies from around the world. Haley continues to work on translation projects through the Virtual Student Foreign Service, and is interested in becoming a professional translator.
Marine Barjol ’18 (BA, Political Science) developed a capstone project out of her internship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where she worked with a visiting fellow to translate his book about the Syrian conflict. Translating from French into English, she had a chance to work directly with the author to clarify questions for American readers. As an international student, she found that minoring in Translation Studies helped her become more comfortable in moving between languages. She hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree or Certificate in Translation in the future.
Quynh Kieu ’18 (BS, Neuroscience) drew on her native language and culture to create a capstone project entitled “Translating Vietnamese Women.” She contributed English translations to Women in War: Wartime Posters from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam 1955-1975, and was invited to participate in a panel discussion about this U-M special exhibit at Hatcher Graduate Library. In addition Quynh translated a short story by Mai Thuy Tran, with a reflection on the role of women in Vietnam, her own role as a translator, and the expansion of her cultural knowledge through translation.