PTIC’s undergraduate curriculum offers a wide range of courses, primarily but not exclusively in the humanities and social sciences; we encourage students from all departments and disciplines to explore our offerings, regardless of their knowledge of other languages or prior experience with translation. At PTIC, we recognize translation as crucial to the production and circulation of work in all fields, and of course to our everyday lives as inhabitants of a multilingual and interconnected world. Undergraduates who minor in our program have pursued majors in departments including Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, History, Near Eastern Studies, Operations Research and Financial Engineering, Politics, and many more. And even those without room for the minor in their schedules are encouraged to enroll in one (or several!) of our courses: the greater the diversity of approaches, the more exciting and productive our conversations are.

Please take a moment to poke around and explore our course offerings—from our core introductory course TRA 200 “Thinking Translation: Language Transfer and Intercultural Communication,” to language-specific translation workshops, to courses such as “Bilingualism,” “Introduction to Machine Translation,” and “Translating East Asia”—and also our regular lecture series, where we host presentations and conversations about all aspects of translation. We also host a Translator in Residence each semester, who enriches our campus discussions by sharing their knowledge and experience as a professional translator; TiRs often host non-credit Wintersession translation workshops, open to people across the university. Profiles of past and current TiRs can be found here [hyperlink]. PTIC also offers summer funding opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students seeking to undertake translation projects of their own.

(Note: The Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication does not offer translator training.) 


Before entering the minor, students should normally have satisfied the University’s language requirement for general education (i.e. completed or demonstrated proficiency in a language sequence through 107/108). Native or near-native fluency in a language not offered by the University can also be counted toward the language prerequisite of PTIC.

Admission to the Program

Students will normally declare the minor by the end of their junior spring, but are welcome to do so as soon as their interest in the minor arises. There is no formal application to the minor. Interested students should contact the program director, Prof. Karen Emmerich ([email protected]), or the program administrator, Yolanda Sullivan ([email protected]). Both the director and administrator can provide more information about the program, help students create a personalized program of study, register their intent to complete the minor, and help track their progress.

Program of Study

All students who wish to earn a minor in Translation and Intercultural Communication must successfully complete the following program requirements. While each student is invited to design their own path through the program, their specific course of study must be approved by the program director.

The program’s two core courses:

  • TRA 200 Thinking Translation: Language Transfer and Cultural Communication
  • TRA 400 Translation, Migration, Culture

Students are encouraged but not required to complete TRA 200 prior to enrolling in TRA 400.

Three additional courses at the 200 level or above from at least two of the following three categories:

  • Any course listed or cross-listed by the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication
  • Upper-level courses focusing on translation between languages (examples include SPA 380, FRE 407, ARA 308, CWR 206, and CWR 306)
  • Courses that contribute to an understanding of some aspect of translation (from disciplines such as linguistics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, history, comparative literature, computer science, etc.; examples include ANT 326, COM 236, HIS 397, ITA 300, LIN 201, NES 398, and PHI 317)

Students are encouraged to consult the program director when planning their individualized course of study, and they are required to obtain the director’s approval of courses they wish to count toward the third of these three categories. Typically, no more than two courses will be allowed to double-count with a student’s major.

Independent Work 

Students pursuing the minor must engage either in a substantial (15-to-20-page or more) project of translation or interpretation, or a project in translation studies. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the program director before embarking on the project.

  1. A practical translation project can take the form of a written translation with critical reflection on the process and product, or formal or informal interpreting work done on a volunteer or professional basis, again with written reflection on the same. This translation may be completed as part of a student’s coursework, or as part of their independent work for their department (JP or thesis), but it must be submitted separately to the program director for approval.
  2. A project in translation studies is a substantial piece of independent research that, while not itself a translation, engages with some aspect of translation from a theoretical, historical, or computational perspective. As with a practical translation project, a project in translation studies may be completed as part of a student’s coursework, or as part of their independent work for their department (JP or thesis), but it must be submitted separately to the program director for approval.

Language Study 

While students pursuing the minor are only required to complete or test out of the University’s language requirement, they are strongly encouraged to continue their language study at the 200 level and above. They are also encouraged to seek out immersive environments in which to hone and develop their linguistic skills, as well as to gain crucial cultural knowledge; this might take the shape of a semester or summer abroad, or time spent in an immersive non-English environment within the United States.


Contact Yolanda Sullivan
Program Manager