Translation Studies Minor

Minor in Translation Studies

The Undergraduate Minor in Translation Studies aims to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the histories, theories, and practices of translation, through a core course on literary translation taught in the Comparative Literature Program, related courses selected from different departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and a creative project.

First, the Minor in Translation Studies is intended for students who would like to build on UCSB’s language requirement and explore translation between languages in order to enrich and develop their linguistic abilities as writers, readers, and thinkers within trans-cultural contexts.
Second, the Minor in Translation Studies provides undergraduates with the opportunity to pursue a translation specialization, which will prepare them for a rewarding career as a translator, an academic, or a cross-cultural communications specialist.[1]
Third, the Minor requirements allow students to examine translation as an interaction between cultures, media, discourses, and disciplines.

The need is urgent for students who have honed reading, writing, and language skills via translation. Opportunities await students in fields such as literary translation and publishing, government, diplomacy, business, law, software development and language services.

Learning objectives of the Minor in Translation Studies

  1. To stimulate critical reflection and creative research on translation;
  2. To encourage students to pursue various translation practices, including literary translation;
  3. To make translation more tangible and relevant to students in their courses, their communities, and the world at large.

Minor Requirement Sheet

For the most recent requirement sheet, go to the UCSB Catalogue for our undergraduate program.

Precisions on the various areas of the Requirement:

PREPARATION: Level 1-6 of a foreign language (or equivalent)  (0-30 units)

Note: Students are expected to have an adequate written command of English, into which/ or from which they will generally be required to translate, as well as an advanced command of a second language, which will generally be their source language. Students will need to have and maintain a GPA of a 2.0 or higher in UD minor courses, and each student’s language skills will be evaluated by a faculty advisor prior to declaring the Minor.

UPPER-DIVISION: 20 UD units are required, distributed as follows

A. Comparative Literature 170: Literary Translation: Theory and Practice  (4 units)

This is the foundational requirement for the Minor, establishing the basis for translation practices. You need to take it prior to all other courses; it is a requirement for area D.
Note: Students who have taken an equivalent course covering some aspect of translation theory and practice may use such course with the approval of the Translation Studies Faculty Advisor.

B. Language-specific workshop (4 units)

Rationale: This upper-level course (taught at UCSB or taken for credit during Study Abroad) will develop skills in the language that students will use for their capstone translation projects.
Notes: A pre-approved list of courses for Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish has been established as these courses are frequently taught by regular contributors to Translation Studies (See list on attached minor sheet).
For courses in Classics (Greek and Latin), East Asian Studies (Chinese and Japanese), Portuguese, Religious Studies (Farsi, Urdu, and many other languages) as well as Russian, we advise students to consult the Translation Studies Faculty Advisor and the Faculty Advisor from the language department of their focus.
Approval by the TS Faculty Advisor is required.

C. Two UD elective courses (8 units)

Rationale: Courses for that area explore the concept of translation broadly as an interaction between cultures, media, discourses, and disciplines, including the digital humanities and transmedia studies, cultural studies, linguistics, writing studies, film studies, cognitive sciences, and bilingualism.
Notes: Students may select courses from our pre-approved list;
Students can propose courses from the Departments of Art, Classics, English, Film and Media Studies, Germanic and Slavic Studies, History of Art and Architecture, Music, Religious Studies, Theater and Dance, among other departments. Courses should have a component pertaining to translation (taught in any department at UCSB, or taken for credit during Study Abroad). Approval by the TS Faculty Advisor and petition to the College are required.

D. Comparative Literature 193 or Comparative Literature 197 by petition (4 units)

This is the translation studies capstone Project, which students will complete with the mentoring of faculty advisors from the language departments of the students’ focus. You need to have taken C Lit 170 before you proceed to area D.
1. For students pursuing a major in Comparative Literature, C Lit 197 is not an option.
2. If you wish to complete your area D by signing up for a Comparative Literature 193, do know that the undergraduate Capstone project is a 15-20 page paper based on the analysis of the problems of translation(s) of a particular text, and examines the relationships between textual practice and theoretical perspectives, thus addressing some relevant aspect of translation theory, criticism, or history. Your paper should thus consist of a translation (the length depends on the student and mentor) and a critical introduction and discussion of the translation, including presentation of the original text and its context, and analysis of the principal challenges of the translation.

C Lit 193 is Directed Reading and Research with a faculty member in the language field of the student to complete this project.

If you choose C Lit 197, your final project needs to pertain to Translation Studies.


To start with, the minor program will offer translation practice from and to Arabic, Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Latin. Translation instruction involving other source languages (Japanese, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, and other languages taught in Religious Studies, including Farsi, Urdu, etc.) will be offered in coordination with faculty fron specific departments. Students interested in other languages will be advised to contact their faculty supervisor to check whether instruction is available during a given quarter.

[1] The Minor is not enough to certify students as professional translators or interpreters; yet it will prepare students to pursue such certification or professional credentials in graduate schools and will also present students with a wide range of career opportunities related to translation.