The Theory and Practice of Translation

This course is designed as a seminar for students actively engaged in the translation of texts across Jewish Studies disciplines. In this class, students will learn about the history of translation in Jewish Studies, be introduced to a number of theories of translation, and complete their own translation projects.

In the first portion of the course, we will cover a condensed history of translation in Jewish Studies from antiquity to the modern period. In the second and longer portion of the class, we will focus on the theory and practice of translation. Students will explore a number of theories of translation in this course, most of which originate outside of the fields of Jewish Studies or Religious Studies. Students will be asked to connect these theories to specific issues, questions, or problems within their own subfields. Issues to be addressed include the purpose and goal of translations, the problem of compositeness in texts to be translated, the negotiation between the meaning(s) and literary/aesthetic features of a text, and the politics of translating religious texts.

Finally, students in this course will be expected to propose and complete a short translation project that both relates to their broader research goals and integrates some of the history or theory of translation they have learned in this seminar. Students will present a work-in-progress version of their project to their classmates during the semester.

Note: there will be a number of guest lecturers throughout the semester. These are scholars in various areas of Jewish Studies or Religious Studies who are currently working on or have completed major projects related to translation.

Translation Syllabus Spring 2021