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Undeclared: Translation Studies

When it comes to college, one of the most daunting decisions can be selecting your program of study. Especially if you're someone who likes many different subjects, choosing one can make it seem like you're closing the door on other interesting options. If this dilemma sounds familiar, you might want to check out Translation Studies, a discipline that allows you to dabble in many different academic subjects.

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A Many-Splendored Subject

Are you a word nerd with interests that extend far beyond language? Maybe you're the person friends come to for help on English papers, but what you truly crave is learning all you can about other places and the people who live in them. Translation Studies can allow you to demonstrate your command of linguistics while also showing off your knowledge of the world.

Translation Studies practitioners study and utilize methods for translating and interpreting communication between linguistic groups. But the act of translating is about much more than providing word 'equivalents' between languages. (For example, replacing the English 'yes' with the Spanish 'si.') Because language is so deeply rooted in culture, individuals in the field must also be familiar with geographical, political and historical aspects of different populations.

Interdisciplinary in nature, Translation Studies brings together different areas of the humanities and social sciences. As a field, it provides methodologies that students can use for translation as well as tools for evaluating the theories that drive the discipline.

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Multiple Applications

Translation Studies is a great route for people who want to be students of the world. Depending on the languages in which students specialize, they may have the opportunity to learn about various societies all over the globe. Individuals focusing on Spanish, for example, might study the cultures of dozens of countries in which it is widely spoken. Regional dialects, of course, add a great amount of diversity even within a single language.

The tasks toward which translation skills may be used also vary considerably. From business conversation to computer manuals and political speeches to literary masterpieces, so many needs for interpretation and translation exist that professionals often specialize not only within specific dialects, but also media formats. Translation Studies as a discipline is all about making proper language choices that accurately reflect a source's meaning in these different contexts and environments.

Certificate, undergrad and graduate programs are available in Translation Studies at colleges throughout the country. Before entering a program, it's a good idea to know what interpreting or translating opportunities you want to pursue. Programs at some schools, for example, may prepare you for translating academic texts while others are most appropriate for training aspiring interpreters.

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