Carnegie Mellon University
March 13, 2019

Carnegie Mellon Launches Global Communication and Applied Translation Master's Degree Program

Curriculum combines CMU's strengths in the humanities and machine learning

By Angela Januzzi and Jaycie King

Abby Simmons
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-6094

Translators increasingly are key players in multicultural teams. They act as facilitators of knowledge transfer for problem solving and communicators in highly sensitive situations.

Carnegie Mellon University is now enrolling students in a Master of Arts in Global Communication and Applied Translation Program that will launch in fall 2019. The one and a half-year program is designed especially for individuals interested in becoming translation professionals whose careers involve content generation and state-of-the-art translation technologies.

"Our new master's degree program is a unique collaboration of the English and Modern Languages departments," said Susan Polansky, head of the Department of Modern Languages. "With its highly applied focus and diversity of language and content areas for translation, the program brings together the two departments' strengths in second language acquisition, professional writing and workplace communication, literary and cultural studies, and technology-enhanced learning."

The joint program within CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers students access to the Department of English's strengths in building understanding of their chosen translation areas' texts, literatures and digital humanities, in addition to the international diplomacy experiences, computer-assisted technologies and cultural localization offered by the Department of Modern Languages.

Students will pursue a progression of core courses, electives, project work and internships that will enable them to hone their skills as expert translators and localizers in a target language. Students may pair any of the following target languages with English translation: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian or Spanish. Students may study translation from their native language (or language of highest proficiency) into English as the target language, or they may study translation from English as the source language into their native language as the target language.

As an undergraduate student in Germany, Gabriele Maier, associate teaching professor of German and director of the Global Communication and Applied Translation Program, studied Japanese and English translation at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Because of this experience, Maier has first-hand knowledge of the professional needs of translation work, as well as how vital these professions have become to world affairs and peaceful cooperation.

"People tend not to think that the field of translation is as diverse and multifaceted," Maier said. "In my 'Translation as a Profession' course, we will explore the vast variety of careers translators can pursue with the help of guest speakers who will talk about numerous fields of specialization — such as health care, business or literature — job opportunities in the U.S. and abroad, in companies or as freelancers, and possible positions in related professions."

Andreea Ritivoi, head of the Department of English, notes translation always requires two languages, so a partnership between the Modern Languages and English departments is a natural one.

"We were intrigued to discover that there are not a lot of joint programs like ours in the country," Ritivoi said. "We take seriously the level of expertise translation requires across languages as well as across cultures, traditions, and societies."

Learn more about the M.A. in Global Communication and Applied Translation Program.