Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation

Advising & Overview: Translation

Advising | Overview | Assessment


Mentoring and advisement is an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the program director to ensure that educational goals are being met. Prospective and current students are urged to consult with Professor Shawn J. Parry-Giles, Academic Director, Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation, email:

Admitted students are required to maintain continuous enrollment for courses as outlined in the plan of study.  Graduate School policy stipulates a five-year Time Limitation for completing a graduate certificate. Circumstances may arise when students cannot continuously dedicate time to the program. In such cases, students making satisfactory progress may receive a Waiver of Continuous Registration or Leave of Absence. The time taken on an approved leave of absence is not included in the time limitation for degree completion.


The Translation Program offers two plans of study: Graduate Certificate in Translation and Master of Professional Studies in Translation. Both feature a seminar-style, face to face learning environment that uses the semester academic calendar. Courses meet at the UMD College Park campus. The Translation Program offers regular instruction in high demand languages, including Chinese, German, and Spanish. Other languages can be accommodated. English must be either your native tongue or the primary acquired language. Instruction includes:

  • Year I, GC or MPS: 21 credits of full-time core training in the fundamental skills of translation, translation for specific domains, translation studies, the translation profession, intercultural communication, and background knowledge in at least one of the following communication contexts: political communication, legal communication, health communication, or specific domains that correspond to demands of specific language markets.
  • Year II, MPS only: 20 credits of advanced training in translation, training in computer-assisted translation tools, translation studies, intercultural communication, and advanced study in at least one of the following communication contexts: political communication, legal communication, or health communication.

Students who successfully complete the GC-Translation and wish to pursue the MPS-Translation, must first submit an application for the MPS. You do not need to re-submit accompanying application materials, retake the Admissions Entry Tests, or pay the application fee if applying within a five-year period. You are required to take the Degree-track Entry Tests.


Translation conducts the following comprehensive assessments and all testing reflects authentic, real-world translation requirements to the greatest possible degree, unless the test purpose or stage of translation acquisition makes modifications or deviations from real-world contexts essential. The topics of all tests are from current events and topical, cultural, or scientific issues widely discussed in the U.S. or international media, or the fields of health, law, or politics. The materials used in all tests are authentic materials and recordings from settings and text types frequently encountered by translators working in the fields of business, health, law, politics, and science and technology.

Degree-track Entry Tests:

  • For the MPS only. Prior to enrolling in second-year courses, all students admitted into the MPS in Translation must perform successfully on entry tests in one of the two MPS in Translation tracks: Translation or Localization Project Management.  Degree-track Entry Tests determine whether students have the ability in their proposed language combinations to begin the specialized coursework required. Students submit a representative sample of introductory second-year translation coursework under examination conditions. Upfront payment of the $120 nonrefundable Degree-track Entry Tests fee is required.

Degree Examinations:

  • For the MPS only. Administered as part the required course COMM637 Professional Practice Forum in Translation: Career Portfolio and Exams, degree examinations determine whether students have the translator competence in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, particularly through taking employer tests required for staff and freelance translation work and tests for professional certification.

Career Portfolio Review:

  • For the MPS only. The portfolio is part of the coursework for COMM637 Professional Practice Forum in Translation: Career Portfolio and Exams, a required course, and conducted after the degree examinations. The purpose is to determine whether students have the career strategies in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, in particular through career goal setting and planning for future employment. The portfolio is a career development tool that students can use to seek and find translation work.
  • Scope and content: Includes documentation of a broad range of learning experiences in the field. Representative documents include biographical information such as résumés and curricula vitae, reflective statements of learning experiences from class assignments, internships and tests; peer, instructor, and employer (internship) feedback; and statements of career goals and career development strategies.
  • Review: Conducted with a panel of instructors and professional translators that may include representatives of employer organizations. The review is an opportunity to discuss career goals and long-term professional development plans based upon the contents of the portfolio, performance in the final degree examinations, and employer needs and hiring requirements.

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