Translation Studies, MA

MA in Translation

Note: Our MA in Translation is theory-guided and skills-focused. If you're interested in a theoretical and literary studies approach to studying translation, see the Department of Comparative Literature's MA track in translation studies.

See this flow chart to help distinguish between the two options. 

The MA in Translation requires thirty-two credits that can be completed in three or four semesters of full-time study and prepares students for careers as professional translators with companies or as freelancers or for further graduate study at the doctoral level. 

Driven by the ever-greater reliance of business, industry, and governments on translation, the demand for professionals with strong translation skills is now higher than ever. Well-trained translators are employed in a wide spectrum of positions, both with translation companies and as direct hires in a wide-variety of industries. Students who complete the MA in Translation are well-prepared to fill this growing need.

The Master’s program offers individualized tracks to accommodate a variety of backgrounds. Students develop a solid experience in the practice of translation, from literary genres to real-world applications to deep dives into specialized areas of translation, such as arts, medical, and financial translation. Real world opportunities exist for those who opt for an internship. Everyone receives a foundational knowledge in translation studies theories and considers how theory informs their practice.  

Our program is built around the workshop model for learning translation. All graduate students take small group workshops each semester to build professional translation skills and gain the broad knowledge necessary to manage a variety of translation jobs and to specialize in one or more chosen areas. 

The curriculum also includes elective coursework in the following areas:

  • History and traditions of translation studies
  • Comparative literature
  • Cultural and postcolonial studies
  • Gender and race studies
  • National literatures and major figures
  • Philosophy
  • Pedagogy

Along with translation and translation studies, our faculty specialize in areas such as linguistics, literature, race and gender theory, and area studies for languages such as Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese and Spanish. 

GUidelines & Checklists for Current Students

  • Admission

    Students pursuing the MA in Translation must follow the standard Graduate School matriculation procedures.

    Admission decisions are made by the TRIP Director, in consultation with the advisory committee and any other faculty member whose expertise seems appropriate for the applicant. 

    Graduate applicants submit the following: 

    • Transcripts demonstrating a completed Bachelor’s Degree and a 3.0 or higher GPA (or its equivalent); 
    • Standard exam scores, if relevant (the GRE is optional); 
    • Two writing samples, one in each language, one of which can be non-academic (minimum of 2 pages each in 12 point font, one-inch margins);
    • Two letters of recommendation;
    • Personal statement that declares your languages and discusses your language proficiency, particularly in regard to reading:

    Graduate applicants’ materials should demonstrate the following background:

    • Near-native fluency in English, as well as (and especially) the ability to write academic texts in English, as demonstrated by TOEFL scores (95+)

      A waiver for the proof of English proficiency requirement is available to applicants who meet the following eligibility criteria:

      Have received a graduate-level degree from an accredited institution in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Gambia, Tanzania, and some Canadian provinces.

      Have completed at least two years of full-time study at an accredited institution in the United States, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Gambia, Tanzania, and some Canadian provinces.

      Are a current Binghamton University student.

    • Near-native fluency in a second language;
    • Optionally, but desirable: a good reading knowledge of a third language, meaning the applicant can read reliably with a dictionary;
    • Previous immersion in a culture where the second language is spoken;
    • Background coursework in translation studies is desirable but not required.

    Note: The Master’s in Translation is part of the Translation Research and Instruction Program (TRIP), and is not managed by the Department of Comparative Literature. Please direct any questions about the Master’s degree in Translation to TRIP and any questions about the Master's degree in Translation Studies to Comparative Literature.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Students completing the Translation Research and Instruction Program (TRIP) master’s in Translation Studies will obtain the following abilities:

    1. Articulate the major theories of translation studies and their importance to the translator; 
    2. Apply one or more schools of translation theory to their translation practice and articulate which theory/ies and which decisions demonstrate these choices and how; 
    3. Demonstrate the ability to produce professional-level translation products, including for such specific areas as literature, the arts and film, health and medical, or financial; 
    4. Demonstrate the ability to use tools approved by the profession; 
    5. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of critical matters for translators, such as gender and race sensitivity, ethical choices in translation, bilingualism and bicultural knowledge in relation to the needs of the translator; translation of taboos, translation and human sciences.
  • MA Requirements

    Program of Courses (Required Core Curriculum)

    Translation Practice

    • TRIP 572: Translation Workshop: Literary - (4 credits)
    • TRIP 573: Translation Workshop: Non-Literary - (4 credits)
    • TRIP 561: Computer-Assisted Translation (4 credits)

    Translation Theory

    • TRIP 560: Intro to Translation Studies - (4 credits)

    Summative Project (Internship or Translation Project)

    • TRIP 595: MA Summative Project (1-4 credits)

    Workshop and Disciplinary Electives - (16 credits)

    The Translation Research and Instruction Program offers additional workshops for translator training and translation studies topics courses that include:

    • TRIP 574: Medical Translation (2 credits)
    • TRIP 575: Financial Translation (2 credits)
    • TRIP 576: Arts & Theater Translation (2 credits)
    • TRIP 563: Project Management in Translation (4 credits)
    • TRIP 564: Culture and Translation (4 credits)
    • TRIP 580E: Translation and Creativity (4 credits)
    • TRIP 580P: Taboos in Translation (4 credits)
    • TRIP 580V: Contact Linguistics (4 credits)

    Depending on their interests, students may choose electives from a variety of courses in other academic departments, encompassing disciplines such as:

    • Criticism and textual analysis (e.g., Comparative Literature, Philosophy)
    • Cultural studies (e.g., Anthropology, Sociology, area-specific studies)
    • World languages and literatures
    • Technical fields (e.g., business or the sciences)
    • Pedagogy (education and language departments)

    Total Credits Required  -  (32 credits)

    Residency Requirement: Students are expected to be in residence for at least twenty-four (24) credits of their formal course work, which will usually take between three semesters and two academic years.

  • Internship or Translation Project

    For their culminating project, students may choose between an internship or a translation project. 

    In consultation with TRIP, students may secure a practical translation internship opportunity during a given semester. The credits earned will depend on the weekly time commitment. The internship is overseen by a faculty member, whose level of guidance will vary depending on their role. Some internships will be overseen by a faculty member in the form of a professional translation project, such as for a law firm or placements at local or regional agencies. TRIP maintains contacts for potential internships; however, students are ultimately responsible for coordinating their internship directly with a given person or agency. The credits will range from one to four, depending on the weekly time commitment for the internship. 

    Students who complete a Translation Project will work with a faculty member, who will select a literary or non-literary text of approximately 7,000 words. The translation will include translator’s notes and annotations and is an open-book, take home assignment. The total submission will range from 15-30 pages. The translation project will constitute a four-credit course. 

    For both the Internship and Translation Project, students take TRIP 595 for one semester.

    TRIP Internship and Translation Project hours-to-credit scale: 

    Credits Hours
    1 50
    2 100
    3 150
    4 200