Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

Because Comparative Literature is dedicated to the examination of literature and other texts from an international perspective, an understanding of the processes and theories of translation is in many ways at its very heart. Literature, art, culture, and ideas do not develop in isolation but draw upon, for example, other works of art, historical movements, political views, religious beliefs, and cultural concepts from near and far. The study of Comparative Literature explores this process of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary translation as well as the interlingual translation that makes such examinations possible. While Comparative Literature encourages the study of texts in their original languages, most researchers and students of Comparative Literature rely upon translated texts for at least some portion of their scholarly inquiry. Comparative Literature examines translation as an interpretive act central to the history and practice of literary study.

Many theories of translation derive from scholars who also work in Comparative Literature, and indeed, at many institutions, Comparative Literature and Translation Studies are housed within a single program. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Comparative Literature and Translation Studies operate as separate programs, but they work closely together, with several faculty members teaching courses in both.

Undergraduate Comparative Literature majors who read more than one language fluently should discuss the possibility of incorporating translation studies within their coursework with their advisors; undergraduate foreign language majors are also encouraged to consider the ways in which the study of Translation and its application in Comparative Literature might benefit their studies.

Graduate students pursuing a Master’s degree in Language, Literature, and Translation (MALLT) with a concentration in Comparative Literature are strongly encouraged to take COMPLIT/TRNSLTN 820, Translation Theory, and perhaps additional courses in translation practice or theory. Graduate students interested in literary translation and critical theory may also choose to pursue a MALLT degree with a double concentration in both Comparative Literature and Translation, which consists of 36 credits at the graduate level.

For those students interested in pursuing Translation Studies at the graduate level, UWM offers two possibilities for graduate study:

Graduate Certificate in Translation

Combines course work in languages, comparative literature, linguistics, information science, and the MALLT program. It consists of 24 credits, 12 at the graduate level.

Master of Arts degree in Language, Literature, and Translation: Translation Concentration

Like the Graduate Certificate in Translation, a MALLT degree with a concentration in Translation combines course work in foreign languages, comparative literature, linguistics, information science, and the MALLT program. It consists of 30 credits at the graduate level. Students may also choose to do a double concentration in both Comparative Literature and Translation, which consists of 36 credits at the graduate level.