Summer Translation Program Courses

Students in the Summer Translation Program in the Department of World Languages and Literatures take the following two classes and are considered full-time students at Western Michigan University for the duration of the program. The classes will meet a total of 17 contact hours per week.

  1. LANG 5800: Theory and Business of Translation (two credit hours). Students from the two language sections will come together to talk about theoretical approaches to translation, practical problems translators encounter and preparing themselves for careers in translation. This course talks about the various problems involved in translation as well as some of the key issues that one might face in starting a translation business. All of the students from the various languages take this course together.
  2. LANG 5030: Practicum in Translation (three credit hours). There will be two sections of this course, one for each of the languages offered: Arabic and Spanish. These classes are designed to give you hands-on experience with translation in your chosen language. Classroom exercises and discussion will focus on the particular challenges of translating that particular language. Each section will meet for three hours per day (MTWR) for four weeks (48 contact hours). This practicum gives practical exercises and advice regarding translating between your chosen language and English. This course is language specific; for instance, students of Arabic will work with an Arabic professor and fellow Arabic students, whereas students of Spanish will be in a separate class.

In the translation practicum, students focus on specific linguistic issues with their own language, whereas in the course on the business and theory of translation, students talk about the overarching issues of translation as a whole. The courses are designed to be mutually reinforcing. The theory course gives students a number of issues to think about when doing practical translation, and the practicum gives students practice in putting theoretical ideas to work.

The two courses have been designed as a set and cannot be taken alone.

In addition to the two courses described above, the Summer Translation Program hosts events for the enrollees.

Transfer credits

WMU is a fully accredited research institution, so you should be able to transfer the credits from the two courses to your home institution. Please check with the registrar’s office of your home institution for details on how the credits would appear on your transcript.


Beginning in mid-spring semester, the books required for the classes will be listed on WMU course offerings. Choose the term "Summer II" and go to two courses:

  • The language of your choice, e.g., Arabic, and then Arabic (ARAB) 5030: Arabic-English Translation Practicum
  • World Languages and Literatures, then Language (LANG) 5800: The Theory and Business of Translation

Clicking on the course titles will lead you to the list of required books.

Online courses

The courses in the Summer Translation Program are not offered online at this time. The directors believe that it is best to learn about translation through direct, face-to-face discussions and practical workshops that involve all of the students. Face-to-face classes also allow you to practice your spoken language abilities.

Professional certification

The program provides a certificate for successful completion of the Summer Translation Program courses. If you are interested in gaining professional certification as a translator, we recommend that you consult the American Translators Association. The ATA has a system of tests that lead to professional certification, thus allowing translators and interpreters to vouch for their skills to potential clients.


Late enrollments

If there is still space available in the Summer Translation Program courses by the beginning of the semester, and the directors of the program give special approval for a last-minute request to join the course, a $100 late fee will be assessed per course for late enrollment (assuming you are not enrolled in any other WMU courses for that semester). The Office of the Registrar has further information regarding late enrollment (enrollment after the drop/add period has ended).

Drop/add policies

During the drop/add period for summer II, you may drop the courses for 100 percent refund of the tuition and the record of the class will not show on their transcript. You must notify the program director in order to drop instead of withdrawing from the courses on your own. The Summer Translation Program application fee of $50 is non-refundable.

After the drop/add period for summer II, you may no longer drop a course. You will have to withdraw to officially stop taking a course. A “withdraw” means you can stop coming to courses for the rest of the term. A “W” will appear on the transcript for each course withdrawn. A “W” does not affect grade point average. You must contact the program director in order to withdraw.

International students on F-1 and J-1 visas must consult with a WMU International Admissions and Services immigration advisor in advance in order to obtain authorization for early withdrawal from the program. If an international student withdraws from the class, it will likely affect their ability to stay in the country.

For more details about dropping and withdrawal dates and procedures, contact the program director.