What is Translation Studies?
Translation Studies in the humanities is comprised of two components: translation theory and the practice of translation as a literary art. In the theoretical domain, students are expected to achieve conversance with the history and philosophy of translation, and to discover for themselves an understanding of a number of abstract (theoretical) questions with significant implications. In the study of translation as literary art, students learn to read translations critically and labor to render artfully texts from a source language into English. This dual methodology confronts students with questions about the nature of reading in a source language. The translation specialization is designed to encourage and enable students to apply, or at least to relate, what they have understood from their theoretical study about the possibilities inherent in translation and about philosophical goals to approaches, techniques and choices made by translators.
Why study translation?
Translation, a relatively hermetic activity, has become a major buzzword in today’s world. Students—and the general public—are finding it more and more necessary to be informed vis-à-vis the multicultural and multilingual environment we inhabit, and to develop skills to be able to communicate efficiently and empathically between languages and cultures. In response to this global reality and to the growing academic presence of translation studies, UCSB, unique among the UC campuses, has developed a Translation Studies Optional Ph.D. Emphasis under the umbrella of Comparative Literature taught by faculty in nine affiliated departments (foreign language departments including East Asian Studies as well as Religious Studies, Classics, Linguistics and English).