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TRIP Graduate Student Handbook 2008 - 2009

The mission at the Translation Research and Instruction Program, is to foster both the practice of translation and a critical reflection on such a practice, as well as the exploration of its relationships with the study of culture and related areas.

Besides an undergraduate minor, two graduate degrees are offered: a translation Certificate and a Ph.D. in Translation Studies. (TRIP also collaborates with various Binghamton University M.A. and Ph.D. programs that have Translation Studies as one of their possible research interests.)




The goal of the translation Certificate program is to provide graduate students with practical training and to introduce them to the formal study of translation. It can be taken as a separate track and also in conjunction with other BU graduate degree programs such as the Comparative Literature M.A. (Plan C), the M.A. in Romance Languages or English, the M.A. in Social Science and, also, the Comparative Literature and PIC (Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture) doctoral tracks.

TRIP has been able to offer translation practice into Spanish and French on a regular basis. Depending on availability of instructors, we may be able to offer translation workshops involving the following source languages: Arabic, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Korean, and Russian. Those interested in languages other than those indicated, are advised to contact the TRIP Co-directors to check whether there are available instructors at any given semester.


Students pursuing this track must formally apply for the translation Certificate and follow the standard Graduate School matriculation procedures.

Admission decisions are made by the TRIP Co-directors in consultation with the TRIP Advisory Committee and with any other faculty member whose expertise seems in line with the applicant's interests.


Students should demonstrate writing skills in English, the language into which they will generally be required to translate, as well as a near-native command of a second language, from which they will be translating. It is expected that students pursuing the Certificate have had an extended period of residence in a foreign language milieu, either prior to or during their translator-training program.

Students who have not had any experience with translation are advised to take one semester of the translation workshop (see below) before formally applying to the program. After the first semester and after consulting with the student's translation instructor, the TRIP Co-directors will evaluate the student's performance as a translator and advise him/her either to apply or improve his/her language skills elsewhere.

Program of Courses:

Students following this degree track are required to successfully complete the following courses for a total of 16 credits:

- TRIP 572 or 573 (Literary or Non-Literary Translation Workshop), 2 semesters, 4 credits each.
- One graduate course in Translation Studies: either the Introduction to Translation Studies (TRIP 580A), or the Introduction to Computer-Assisted Translation (TRIP 580D); 1 semester, 4 credits.
- One graduate course involving the history or culture of their source language, 4 credits.

Students pursuing the Certificate track must score at least a B in all the courses required for the degree. Those whose general performance has been positive, but who have failed to achieve at least a B in any of the required courses may be advised to take at least one more semester of the translation workshop or the Introduction to Translation Studies (or Computer-assisted Translation).

Students interested in certification in more than one language combination, i.e. Spanish>English and German>English, are required to take at least one more semester of the translation workshop in order to practice translating from the second source language of their choice in addition to a graduate course involving the history or culture of this same language.


After successfully concluding the required 16 credits with a final grade not lower than B in each course, students may request to take the Certificate examination, which is offered at the end of every fall and spring semesters. In order to take the examination, students are expected to register for it at the TRIP office (registration deadlines and examination dates are announced in mid-semester).

In consultation with appropriate faculty, the TRIP Co-directors establish each student's examination committee, which will be constituted by at least three members.

The examination has sections on theory and practice, in which the passing grade is A– for both. The translation practice examination will feature the translation of a text of approximately 600-700 words. It takes place in the TRIP offices, and students will have three hours to complete their translations. They are allowed to bring two dictionaries, and they may use a computer. The theory component, which is a take-home examination, will focus on theoretical and historical topics relevant for Translation Studies, or issues associated with tools for computer-assisted translation, and will also include questions on copyright issues.

The passing grade on translation practice is contingent on translating at a level that the examiners consider to be professional. This means students are expected to show that they can handle formal and informal texts, including “belletristic” texts, without faculty supervision, or that their translations could in fact be used or published with minimum editing.

Students who do not pass their examinations (or parts of them) the first time may try to take them once more, but they must have in mind that the TRIP certification test is offered only at the end of each semester.

Those who are interested in certification in more than one language pair (or both into and from one given language), and/or in different genres (both literary and non-literary translation) will be required to take one translation practice examination for each of their options.


When students have fulfilled the course requirements and successfully passed the examination described above, they are eligible to receive a Certificate of translator proficiency, specifying the appropriate language combination(s) and translation genre (literary, non-literary, or both).

It is the students' responsibility to contact the Graduate School and declare candidacy before the Certificate can be issued.

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The CRIT/TRIP doctoral degree is the first stand alone Ph.D. in Translation Studies in the U.S. It prepares students both for the professorate and for scholarly research in the area, and offers individualized interdisciplinary tracks to accommodate the anticipated variety of backgrounds.

It assumes that candidates enter with adequate translation practice and familiarity with scholarship in Translation Studies per se, as well as with the cultures associated with the language from which they translate.

This degree program is built on the premise that the study of translation is primarily interdisciplinary and relies on the interfaces that can be established between the reflection on the translator's task and an array of compatible disciplines such as anthropology, comparative literature, cultural and postcolonial studies, language and literary studies, philosophy, psychology, among others.


Students applying for the Ph.D. must follow the standard Graduate School matriculation procedures and deadlines.

Admission decisions are made by the TRIP Co-directors in consultation with the TRIP Advisory Committee and with any other faculty member whose expertise seems in line with the applicant's interests.


Candidates should demonstrate the following upon entering the program:

- A near-native fluency in English, as well as (and especially) the ability to write academic texts in English.

- A near-native fluency in a second language, and previous immersion in a culture where this language is spoken.

- A Master's degree in Translation Studies or in a compatible field, high GRE, GMAT or LSAT scores, TOEFL scores of 700+, as well as a writing sample and letters of recommendation.

- Background in Translation Studies. Applicants who do not have a documented background in Translation Studies, or who do not have any formal certification in translation, may be provisionally admitted. Full admission will be granted only after they pass the graduate Translation Certificate examination.

Required Courses and Credits:

Students are required to successfully complete 48 credits (24 credits from the core curriculum focusing on disciplines directly related to Translation Studies, and 24 credits of allied and disciplinary electives).
1. Required Core Curriculum (24 credits)
Translation Practice:
- Translation Workshop - Literary (TRIP 572), 4 credits
- Translation Workshop - Non-Literary (TRIP 573), 4 credits
Students who present workshop credits from Binghamton University or elsewhere may petition to have the preceding courses waived. However, the total number of credits (48) required remains the same even when students are exempted from taking TRIP 572 and 573.
Translation Studies:
- Introduction to Translation Studies (TRIP 580A), 4 credits
- Topics in Translation Studies (TRIP 580B), 4 credits
- Capstone Research Seminar (TRIP 580C), 4 credits
Translation Tools:
- Introduction to Computer-Assisted Translation Tools (TRIP 580D), 4 credits
2. Electives (24 credits)
Allied Electives
Students are expected to choose electives from the basic knowledge structures briefly outlined below. They constitute some of the broad bases on which the interdiscipline of Translation Studies usually relies:
- Language and textual theory (e.g. comparative literature and philosophy);
- Cultural studies (as found throughout the humanities and social sciences);
- Criticism and textual analysis (as found throughout the humanities and social sciences);

-System Science and Artificial Intelligence

Disciplinary Electives:
Depending on their interests, students will be able to choose electives from a variety of courses encompassing disciplines such as history, political science, sociology, linguistics, or theater, so that they can be better prepared to develop their research.

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3. Dissertation Disciplines:
- Pre-Dissertation Research (TRIP 698), 1+ credits
- Dissertation (TRIP 699), 1+ credits

Language Requirements:

Students are encouraged to develop at least a reading knowledge of a third language while they work on their doctoral degrees.

Residence Requirement:

TRIP doctoral students are required to be in residence during the completion of the 48 credits described above.

Academic Standing:

Ph.D. students must remain in good academic standing (i.e., at least a 3.0 grade point average in coursework), and must show evidence that they are making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degree.

Students who receive funding must also satisfactorily perform the tasks to which they have been assigned (teaching and/or working at the Translation Referral Service) and conform to the “Terms and Conditions Statement,” which recipients of assistantships must read and accept. Those who fail to do so will lose their assistantships and may be dismissed from the program.

TRIP students are encouraged to pre-register whenever possible. Funded students are required to pre-register. All students should be completely registered by the first day of classes.
Students are responsible for their own registration and ensure that they are registered for the proper number of credits and type of courses. Although the TRIP Co-directors and staff may assist with student registration, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to check his/her registration and correct it as needed.

Funded doctoral degrees are expected to register for 12 credits until they have completed 24 credits. After that, and even when they have been officially advanced to candidacy (ABD), they must register for 9 credits in order to be considered full time.

Doctoral students who have completed all coursework for the degree, but who have not yet passed the comprehensive examination and had their dissertation prospectuses approved, should register each semester under the rubric TRIP 698 (pre-dissertation research).

Doctoral students should register for TRIP 699 (dissertation) only after they have been formally admitted to candidacy for the degree (ABD status).

For full information on BU's policies on enrollment and registration (including grades, add/drop privileges, incompletes, transfer of graduate credits, leaves of absence, withdrawals, students should check the Graduate School Manual:

Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination:

After finishing their required credits and courses, doctoral students are expected to take the TRIP Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, which is divided into four parts, and which will be evaluated by a committee composed of three examiners chosen by the students (subject to approval by the TRIP Co-directors).

1. Field Paper. This is a 40-50-page paper devoted to a theoretical issue, or sub area explicitly related to Translation Studies, and which could be used to define the topic about which students will write their dissertations. It should involve substantial scholarship and show that students are familiar with the current bibliography on the topic selected and are able to articulate their arguments in an academically acceptable language and format.

2. Main Area of Concentration. Students are required to define an area that reflects their main interest in the field. Suitable topics might be, for example, translation pedagogy, aspects of translation theory, translation and ethics, linguistic approaches to translation, translation criticism. (This is a 72-hour take-home examination.)

3. Two Minor Fields. This section of the examination will focus on two fields that either complement or expand the students' main area of concentration. Thus, if a student's main area of concentration is, for example, translation pedagogy, her/his two minor fields might be contemporary approaches to education and the training of translators in Medieval Spain. (These are two 72-hour take-home examinations.)

4. Oral Examination. This component will be based on the preceding parts of the examination, and will involve all the examiners.

The field paper must be submitted no later than March 15 for an examination in the spring semester, and October 15 for an examination in the fall semester. It will be evaluated by the student's main examiner (usually his/her academic advisor) in consultation with the other two members of the examination committee.

Concerning the written component of the examination, once students define their main area of concentration and two minor fields (2, 3 and 4 above), they are required to prepare three reading lists in close collaboration with the examination committee and hand them in to the TRIP director no later than the second week of the semester in which the examination will be taken. After the lists have been approved by the TRIP Co-directors, the examination will be scheduled. Each examiner will be in charge of preparing his/her questions for the written components of the examination and, also, for evaluating the student's answers. Upon request, all the answers will be made available to all the examiners.

In the oral examination, the three members of the examination committee will have the opportunity to ask questions about the field paper and the written answers submitted by the student. It should take place no later than in the last two weeks of classes and it will be the student's responsibility to schedule it.

In order to pass their Ph.D. comprehensive examination, students must achieve a grade of B+ or better on each component of the examination. If the examination committee finds it appropriate, a student who has failed to achieve this standard may retake that part (or those parts) of the examination in which the grade was below B+.

Dissertation Prospectus and Selection of Advisor:

Within three months after passing their comprehensive examination, students are expected to submit a prospectus, which is the final requirement for admittance to candidacy, to the TRIP Co-directors.

The prospectus identifies the topic and the research problem to be addressed in the dissertation at the same time that it formalizes the approval of the project by the student's committee. It should include the following: the identification of the topic to be addressed and a description of the research question to be investigated within the chosen topic; rationale and statement of purpose; significance of the study and contribution to the field; description of methodology to be used; expected results; and a timetable for completion. It should also include a review of the bibliography related to the project.

Students should work on their prospectuses in close consultation with their dissertation directors, who will also help them establish a dissertation committee.

Admission to Candidacy:

As soon as a student has her/his prospectus formally approved by the dissertation director, the dissertation committee, and the TRIP Co-directors, she/he is nominated for Ph.D. candidacy. In other words, TRIP will file the Recommendation for Admission to Candidacy form with the Graduate School on behalf of the student who will then be ABD (“all but dissertation”).

Dissertation Committee:

The student's dissertation committee is composed of three members, including the dissertation director (who acts as the committee chair), and should be established in close consultation with the dissertation director and the TRIP Co-directors. Committees are formed in close consultation with the student and the faculty.

Members will be chosen from the list of TRIP's faculty associates or from other departments and/or programs that collaborate with TRIP, either from BU or from other institutions. According to the bylaws of the Graduate School, faculty members from outside the student's program or department, or from outside BU, may serve on the three-member dissertation committee, but they do not replace the outside examiner, the fourth member who will be added to the committee when the dissertation is in the final stages of preparation.

Preparation of The Dissertation:

TRIP students are expected to follow the MLA style manual and to conform to the "Guidelines for Preparing a Thesis or Dissertation" outlined in the Graduate School Manual.

Declaration Of Candidacy For Award of Degree:

In the semester that the student plans to complete the dissertation, he or she must submit a "Declaration of Candidacy for a Graduate Degree" form to the Graduate School by the published deadline.

Dissertation Defense:

The dissertation committee has direct charge of all matters pertaining to the dissertation. The student's dissertation must have the unanimous approval of his or her dissertation committee and of the TRIP director to proceed with a defense before arrangements are made for the final examination for the degree.

Members of the dissertation committee serve on the examination committee, and the dissertation chair normally servers as the examination chair. The list of examiners may include one or more faculty members from a program other than the student's, if they were members of the student's dissertation committee.

Outside Examiner:

The Dean of the Graduate School , upon recommendation from the TRIP Co-directors, will add an outside examiner to the examination committee as the representative of the faculty of the Graduate School . The outside examiner is either a Binghamton faculty member from a related area outside TRIP or someone associated with Translation Studies outside the University. Normally, the outside examiner is not expected to be involved in the supervision of the student's dissertation. For details on the appointment and function of the outside examiner, see the bylaws on dissertation defenses stated in the Graduate School Manual.

Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)

The final oral examination will be scheduled by the TRIP Co-directors (in close consultation with the chair of the examination committee and the student) after the program has been notified of the appointment of an outside examiner.

The student is required to submit the dissertation to the committee at least one month prior to the defense. Other arrangements can be made provided that all the participants reach an agreement regarding the time they need to read the material and prepare their questions.
The final oral examination is open to any person wishing to attend, and it is the committee chair's responsibility to make sure that the examination is properly conducted. Each member of the committee should be given enough time to question the candidate and, likewise, the candidate should be given enough time to answer the questions proposed by each member and to defend his/her work. Observers can also participate with questions.

At the conclusion of the examination, it is customary for the chair to request that everyone except the examining committee leave the room, so that the members may reach a decision.
In order to pass, the student must receive the unanimous approval of the dissertation committee and no more than one dissenting vote from the total examination committee present. All members of the examining committee who accept the dissertation in partial fulfillment of requirements for the doctorate will then sign the "Recommendation for Award of Doctoral Degree" form provided by the Graduate School . If the outside examiner refuses to sign the form, he or she should give the reason for dissent by submitting a separate memorandum to the Dean of the Graduate School within three days of the examination.

If at the final examination the examiners generally approve of the dissertation but require significant changes and are not yet prepared to sign the "Recommendation for Award of Doctoral Degree" form, the chair of the examination committee will coordinate with other members of the committee to compile all required changes and will inform the student of the scope and substance of those changes. The committee will establish how the changes will be reviewed and approved.
For further details associated with the dissertation defense (including Electronic Submission of Dissertation, Fees, Abstract for Publication, Deadlines, and Degree Conferral, see the Graduate School Manual:

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Last Updated: 8/1/16