About the Program
Issues of translation and intercultural communications arise everywhere in the contemporary world: in literary texts, on the Internet, in broadcasting and film, in business, in science, and in questions of human rights. The Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication (PTIC) takes linguistic translation as its base providing a diverse undergraduate curriculum that allows students to develop an understanding of translation issues from varied perspectives. The curriculum is supported by the skills and interests of faculty in the humanities; the arts; engineering; and the material, natural, and social sciences. PTIC is an an interdisciplinary center for the study of translation within the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.
The program offers a Certificate of Proficiency to undergraduates who develop skills in language use and an understanding of the complexity of communicating across cultures, nations, and linguistic borders. To enter the certificate program, students should complete two courses at the 200-level or above in a language other than English. To earn a certificate, students are required to successfully complete two core courses in translation, one course in translation practices, three electives selected from a list of approved courses, study or internship abroad, and a senior thesis that incorporates issues of translation.
Among PTIC’s goals are putting translators in touch with each other and encouraging them to use their talents and energies in the service of the wider community. To this end the program supports the Princeton University Language Project (PULP) and other activities that seek to link the academic community with voluntary and professional groups serving a wide variety of organizations that have translation needs, including the New Jersey judiciary, the United Nations, and literary publishing. PULP is a student-led initiative that offers free translation services to nonprofits.
The program also sponsors conferences and offers a weekly seminar for faculty and students on a wide range of topics related to translation studies. Explorations cover diverse topics such as how one translates the language of a poem or a legal system; concepts such as democracy, scapegoat, and hero; the brain activity involved in performing translations; and the languages of artificial intelligence. Please note: The Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication does not offer translator training.
A word from PTIC Program Director David Bellos:
“Issues of translation and intercultural communication arise everywhere in the contemporary world: in literary texts, on the internet, in television and film, in business, science, and in questions of human rights. How does one translate the language of a poem? How does one translate a legal system or concepts such as democracy, or happiness, or scapegoat, or hero from one culture and language to another? How does the brain perform translation? What are the languages of artificial intelligence? How do we translate meanings across disciplinary as well as international borders—from genomics to dance, from philosophy to film?