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Translation for Global Literacies Across the Curriculum

Recognizing both the increasing importance of global literacy and engagement in liberal arts education and the rapid growth of translation studies as an interdisciplinary field in the humanities, Translation for Global Literacies Across the Curriculum seeks to create programs and resources that encourage faculty and students to develop interlingual and intercultural proficiencies crucial to living and working in the global society. The project aims to foster these proficiencies across disciplines and spectrums of language acquisition by integrating translation practice, theory, and pedagogy in multiple modes across the curriculum.

This project provides programs for innovative student learning, faculty development and curriculum design, including method- and practicecentered translation workshops, a workshop on translation pedagogy, small group projects in participating campuses, and an ACM-wide conference on translation and global literacies. Construction of our online course and resource center will help faculty adapt teaching materials and course modules to their particular disciplines. The ultimate goal is to build an interdisciplinary community of faculty and students centering around translation and global literacies to position the ACM at the forefront of this innovative curricular nexus.

Note: Content has been adapated from project proposal.

In a rapidly globalizing world dominated by STEM fields, one major area of growth in the humanities is translation studies. Panels on translation and its pedagogies are on the rise at Modern Language Association and American Literary Translators Association conferences. Translation (intersecting with multiple disciplines including literature, creative writing, history, religious studies, postcolonial, gender/sexuality, and disability studies, sociology, and anthropology) is credited with having the potential to reframe and reinvigorate the humanities. The MLA has even declared that it is the most important concept in cultural theory today. The number of programs offering degrees or certificates is increasing, as is interest in the effectiveness of translation for teaching global literacies. Although led by literary translation, translation studies has evolved to embrace all forms of global cultural exchange. ACM translators and language faculty are perfectly positioned to help the consortium be at forefront of this important trend.

By embracing translation studies as an important emerging field in undergraduate education, this project allows faculty from multiple disciplines to collaborate on ways to effectively teach global literacies that can be applied across the curriculum.

Innovative aspects:
  • Consortium of ACM faculty from multiple disciplines (English, Classics, Languages, Cinema, and Theater), multiple languages (Ancient Greek and Latin, French, German, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese), and three different institutions (Coe, Cornell, and Grinnell)
  • Combining work in the practice of translation with the study of the pedagogy of translation in order to enhance teaching and curricular development
  • Translation as a method to enhance students’ skills in critical thinking and analysis, intercultural awareness, and global literacies
  • Access to signature programs at University of Iowa: the MFA in Literary Translation and the International Writer’s Program
Collaborative opportunities:
  • Faculty participation in a hybrid MFA-style workshop in literary translation and pedagogy
  • Faculty work groups to conduct research, develop curricula, or work on special discipline-specific projects (such as audiovisual translation, iconography, technical translation)
  • Creation of campus programming and events
  • Student participation in translation workshops
  • Possibility for faculty-student research
  • Sharing creation of online resources
  • Joint presentations or authorship of articles
  • Proximity of partner campuses (30-90 minutes) facilitate further collaborations or shared programming


  • To meet the changing needs in the humanities through a focus on global literacies
  • To effectively connect and deploy existing expertise and resources in the ACM
  • To provide student and faculty opportunities for engagement with translation practices and pedagogy
  • To investigate ways in which new developments in translation theory and practice can be adapted to teach skills in global literacies across disciplines
  • To create a body of resources available to the ACM
  • To create a consortium around translation within the ACM for sustainable collaborative program development
  • To position the ACM as a leader in this curricular niche

This project supports engaged student learning, faculty development, and the capacity to further internationalize curricula across disciplines – goals shared by all colleges. It also serves to strengthen existing programs in languages and humanities which is essential if we are to maintain our identities as institutions firmly rooted in the liberal arts. Furthermore, being ahead of the curve regarding translation as an emerging important trend in the humanities can provide another way for ACM schools to become more distinctive among competing institutions.

This project also creates news ways for interconnections between diverse disciplines. Skills in languages and cultures are just as important in literature as they are in political science, business, medicine and the sciences, or education.

More specifically, however, this project directly supports initiatives adopted by each institution. An emphasis on translation across the curriculum could make Grinnell’s Literary Translation Collective more relevant to other disciplines and more integral to the stated mission and values of a liberal arts college committed to social justice in an interconnected world. Cornell’s Center for Literary Arts could expand the courses, workshops, and readings it offers to include translation as a literary art. The Coe Review, which publishes a volume of fiction and poetry each year, might also consider including a volume of translations. Finally, the idea of translation as intercultural exchange would be a wonderful way to create a shared interdisciplinary focus in the Global Cultural Studies Center, a key initiative in Coe’s new strategic plan.



Project team and up to 8 other ACM faculty members participate in an opening workshop, an 8-month hybrid (online / in-person) workshop on translation practice and pedagogy. Facilitated by project consultant.


Faculty undertake projects in curricular development and campus programming; do presentations for their campus on the benefits of translation for global literacies

  1. Presentation on each campus by project facilitator on translation and global literacies
  2. A one-day student workshop for up to 20 students on each campus
  3. Events/presentations featuring translation or works in translation
  4. Opportunities for students across disciplines to develop intercultural skills through translation practices

A May Term or one-week translation workshop for up to 30 students across the ACM. (Planned during project, but not funded by the grant.)


Featuring an opening plenary on translation in the liberal arts, readings, and four interactive panels: 1) Translation in/as Scholarship; 2) Translation as epistemic model and cognitive science; 3) Integrating various modes of translation for intercultural understanding across disciplines; and 4) Curricular design and global literacies.


Project team members create an online course for ACM faculty on how to teach global literacies through translation which includes a reservoir of resources for consultation and adaptation.


FaCE project presentation on teaching global literacies through translation at the 2017 ALTA conference (Minneapolis)

Dissemination Strategies

  • Faculty on each campus work to share interest and findings with colleagues in other disciplines
  • Faculty from each discipline within the project group (Classics, Creative Writing, English, Film Studies, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Theater) connect with faculty in their own disciplines in other ACM schools to share resources and begin conversations across campuses
  • ACM-wide conference: Translation for Global Literacies Across the Curriculum
  • Online resource center giving ACM faculty access to project results (curricula, sample syllabi, course modules, and an online course helping faculty adapt materials for their own uses in their own disciplines)
  • Creation of an ACM community around translation practice, pedagogy, and global literacy
  • ACM-wide student translation workshop in 2018 for up to 18 students (either as a 3-week May Term course through Coe or intensive 10-day workshop at the University of Iowa)
  • Possible creation of an undergraduate journal for translation (ACM-wide and beyond) or inclusion of translation in existing literary journals at Coe and Cornell (ideally with a separate volume)
  • Panel presentation on this ACM initiative at the ALTA conference
  • Possible joint-authored article about using translation to teach global literacies across the curriculum in a liberal arts setting

Outcomes and Significance

The ACM-wide translation conference is scheduled for April 27-29, 2018 at Coe College. We were able to invite some really remarkable people to present, who were very enthusiastic about our project.

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