The Literary Translation Concentration

Students in the Literary Translation concentration focus on the theory and practice of literary translation.

Required Courses

Literary Translation concentrators must take two required foundational seminars: LITR 130
and LITR 348.

Foreign Literature Requirement

Literary Translation concentrators are required to take at least three literature courses in one foreign language. Such courses will have a prefix indicating the language (FREN, RUSS, CHNS, etc.), and it will either be listed as L5 or it will not have a listed level (if the students will read in-language but will discuss and write in English). Normally, such courses will have titles indicating a topic in literature, theory, or film (e.g. “Introduction to Italian Literature” or “Cervantes and Don Quijote,” not “Advanced Oral and Written Communication in Spanish” or “Medical French”). It should be noted that certain smaller language programs at Yale do not have courses specifically devoted to literature. If a student wishes to fulfill their requirement in this language, the DUS will work with them to find suitable upper-level courses.

Sometimes the most suitable foreign literature course for a particular student will be one that is offered in translation. In such cases, Comparative Literature majors are expected to request additional assignments from their instructors in order to enable them to work with texts in the original language. They should request a form from the DUS attesting to their intent to do so, then obtain a signature from the instructor at the beginning and end of the semester to confirm that they did the readings in-language.

Non-native speakers of English who are granted permission by Yale College to complete the language requirement by taking ENGL 114a or b, 120a or b, or 450b may take three additional English literature courses to fulfill the foreign literature requirement of the Comparative Literature Major or may fulfill the Major requirements in a third language.

Students interested in graduate study in literature should be aware that many programs require reading knowledge of two or three foreign languages.

Period Requirement

The Literary Translation concentration requires that all students take one course in three of five historical periods: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Early Modern period (roughly 15th-18th centuries), the 19th Century, and the 20th-21st centuries. These courses may be drawn from any department in the University (they need not be in your language of specialization), but they must focus on literature or film. Some courses fulfilling the requirement for each period are marked with the relevant attribute (YC CPLT: Medieval, Antiquity, etc.) in Course Search. However, if you believe another course should fulfill the requirement, contact the DUS for confirmation. If a student participated in the Directed Studies (DS) program, only one course from that program may be counted towards the Period requirement.

Theory Requirement

One course in the major must deal with translation theory. One good course to fulfill this requirement is LITR 305, “Advanced Literary Translation” (if you are not writing your senior essay in that class) but if you believe another course should fulfill the requirement, contact the DUS for confirmation.


The remaining course credits (other than the Senior Essay) may be fulfilled by any course that deals in part with literary translation in any department. Only one elective may be a composition or creative writing course.

Senior Essay

The final required credit in the major is the senior essay , which should be written while enrolled in LITR 491 (if a one-semester essay), LITR 492-493 (if a two-semester essay), or LITR 305 (if you are preparing your senior essay in that class).

You may download a checklist with the Literary Translation major requirements here.