Master's Degree in Translation and Interpreting
Both culturally and historically, Jerusalem is an important city in the world – a microcosm of Palestine. It has been the meeting ground of peoples and languages for many millennia, and is still a point of continuous contact among many languages – despite its current political difficulties. Such contact is a permanent feature of the population because of Jerusalem’s status as the site of pilgrimages and the presence in it of international and local non-government organizations and consular representatives. Tourism is also a major economic activity requiring multilingual translation and interpreting. In addition to millions of visitors from all over the world, researchers come from several countries to do work in different languages. This program is crucial and necessary for Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, for Palestine and for the region.
The MA and Higher Diploma programs in translation and interpreting are offered at the campus of Al-Quds University, in east Jerusalem and its suburb of Abu Dees. Al-Quds University was established in 1994 through the amalgamation of older Palestinian colleges in the Jerusalem area. It has 12 faculties located in east Jerusalem, its suburbs and nearby areas (Abu Dees, Beit Hanina, Ramallah). It offers opportunities to more than 11000 female and male Palestinian students in the Jerusalem area and other parts of the West Bank to pursue higher education in the arts, humanities, sciences, medicine, dentistry, health professions, public health, law, and other fields. Al-Quds University has agreements and exchanges with several universities worldwide. (See the university website at
In addition to its key location, this MA/Higher Diploma program is essential in Palestine for a number of reasons. Among them are those associated, particularly over the past decade, with political, economic, media, and other developments, which have been accompanied by a sharp increase in the level of international activity. In many instances, local and international organizations are forced to rely on experts outside Palestine, in view of the inadequate number of translators and interpreters capable of producing quality work. Moreover, such a program is a national investment that will allow qualified graduates to study locally at lower expense. There are many other practical, research, and developmental advantages that would accrue from establishing a program at this level.
As a Palestinian program set up in response to increased demand for translators and interpreters at a key junction in Palestinian history, it has the potential to attract highly qualified graduate with first degrees in various fields, some already started in careers, who want to apply themselves seriously to attain the requisite skills to function as skilled translators and interpreters. Whereas regional and local programs in translation tend to be traditional and are limited mostly to the study of two languages, this MA program aims to benefit from recent advances in translation studies and technologies and to offer opportunities for training in at least two and preferably three of the following languages: Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish (with additional languages possible in the future). The program is cognizant of Palestine’s colonial situation, past and present, and the current climate of “globalization.” It is designed to provide candidates, graduates from any field, with multilingual training for various commercial, technical/scientific, media and institutional translational needs and added skills that are transferable to several careers.
To introduce students to the theory and practice of translation, with focus on the languages of science, technology, medicine, law, business, literature, and the humanities
- To familiarize students with translation techniques and methods, computer-assisted translation and terminology management
- To widen appreciation of languages and to sharpen awareness of syntactic, semantic and stylistic differences among discourses
- To promote individual potential and self-directed improvement by building on previous language writing and translating experience
- To develop high specialization in language processing and translating in specific languages and subject domains
- To prepare some students to be potential PhD candidates in translation studies and research
- To fill market needs locally and internationally for highly qualified interpreters and translators
- To establish in Palestine a central point for resources and training in the translation field.
Upon completion of the required courses, students will have:
- Extended knowledge of the wide range of techniques, lexical aids and computational tools now available to the translator and the interpreter
- The capacity to analyze and evaluate texts, published and spoken material with a view to selecting appropriate methods for each task
- The skills to produce work of professional standard in a wide range of fields, with specialization in one or two fields
- The ability to manipulate language and to communicate efficiently and clearly within professional environments in various modes and linguistic contexts and to work independently to high standards
- The skills to evaluate critically current research in translation and make choices about their own research issues and the systems best suited to resolve them
- The training and competences required for written, conference and audiovisual translation.
Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree with a good grade (70% or higher) and provides knowledge computer skills and skills. Students must pass a written examination in translation, they are also subject to an interview and they have to pass some remedial materials, when necessary.
Upon graduation, interpreters can work in settings such as schools, hospitals, courtrooms, detention facilities, meeting rooms, and conference centers. In some settings, interpreters may work as part of a team, especially with the development of new communication technology. Also they can work remotely via video or telephone connections.
The program considered applicants with a first degree in any field (average at least B 70 %+), proven linguistic ability in two languages, and at least fair ability in a third language. Special attention will be given to attracting practitioners in the field. Tests and interviews are conducted, usually in January each year; to determine admission of applicants and to decide on the number and timing of remedial courses, as described below, for language competency, linguistics and other skills requirements.
Remedial Courses and Exemptions
It is assumed that candidates selected will already have excellent writing and speaking proficiency in at least two languages, adequate proficiency in a third language, ability to navigate the internet, and competence in word processing. Normally, graduates from language/literature departments and those who have taken undergraduate linguistics courses will be exempt from taking remedial courses. Such remedial courses will usually not exceed three undergraduate courses (9 credit hours), though the Department may waive all or some of these hours, or it may recommend to Graduate Studies that a student take up to five remedial courses (a total of up to 15 credit hours) if necessary.
Remedial courses could be assigned from among the following, or others, as deemed necessary: English 0402301 (Advanced Grammar), 0402310 (Introduction to Linguistics), 0402312 (Writing III: Essay Writing), 0402315 (Comparative Linguistics), 0402313 (Semantics), 0402314 (Syntax), 0402401 (Introduction to Translation), 0402412 (Sociolinguistics), 0402420 (Literary Theory); a course or more in Arabic essay writing, grammar or linguistics, as determined by need. Exemption from TRANS 8040501 could be given in exceptional cases to students who demonstrate they have covered the entire course content.
As many MA candidates as possible will pursue their study in three languages. Third language upgrading to high levels of proficiency may require further study and other methods. Supplementary training is mainly the responsibility of each candidate, though the program will facilitate local venues and opportunities abroad. Third language training is independent of other remedial requirements and is not associated with any particular number of credits.
MA Academic Requirements
- The MA program offers a combination of core, elective and specific practice courses amounting to 39 credit hours. The thesis option requires 24 credit hours of core courses, 9 credit hours of electives, and 6 hours for the thesis. The no-thesis option requires 24 credit hours of core courses and 15 credits of electives, including the Seminar, and a comprehensive examination.
- This program is primarily designed for part-time study over two years. However, remedial courses may require additional time, all or mostly during the semester preceding formal entry into the program.
- Submission of the thesis proposal and thesis must follow the time framework and format regulations issued by Graduate Studies.
- All third language proficiency requirements and 100 of the 150 practicum hours must be satisfied by the middle of the second semester in the second year of study.
Higher Diploma Option
Students who choose the Higher Diploma option must complete 30 credits, including the core courses: TRANS 8040501, 510, 512, 521, 531, 551, 552, 577, plus two electives, one of which must be 8040591. MA-track students may be awarded a Higher Diploma in certain cases, as stipulated in the Graduate Studies regulations. Higher Diploma graduates who decide later to pursue the MA degree may be asked to repeat courses in which their grades are lower than 75%, and be required to take between 3 and 6 additional credit hours, fulfill third language requirements if necessary for specialization, in addition to writing a thesis (or taking 6 credit hours instead of the thesis).
Core Courses (24 credits)
|8040501||Advanced Linguistics for Translators|
|8040510||Translation History and Theory|
|8040512||Editing, Documentation and Publishing Methods|
|8040521||Introduction to Interpreting|
|8040531||Audiovisual Translation I|
|8040551||Translation Practice I|
|8040552||Translation Practice II|
|8040577||Translation Technology and Term Management|
|Electives (9 credits)|
|8040522||Conference Interpreting, I|
|8040523||Conference Interpreting II|
|8040532||Audiovisual Translation II|
|8040541||Literary Translation I|
|8040542||Literary Translation I|
|8040561||Technical and Business Translation I|
|8040562||Technical and Business Translation II|
|8040571||Translation and Arabisation|
|8040591||Seminar in Translation|
Advanced Linguistics for Translators (80405013)
As future translators, students need to be acquainted with essential aspects of linguistic theory (in phonology, morphology and syntax, semantics, discourse analysis and pragmatics) especially as it relates to translation, with special emphasis on contrastive linguistics, Arabic and other languages. This course covers issues for debate on linguistic structures and language and thought in relation to language engineering and translation. It introduces students to theory as applied to translation memory. Students analyze structure and content in various texts and gain insights into how languages work and differ, which in turn allows translation to be approached systematically, so that intuitive solutions can be supported or replaced by rational translation choices and strategies. Attention is also paid to all the special jargons and spoken language features that are essential for the translator to know.
Translation History and Theory (8040510)
This course overviews the history of translation from ancient times to the present, the genesis of translation attitudes and methods, and examines in detail contemporary theories of translation and interpreting, in particular from the 1960s until the present time. A broad range of approaches is studied, including linguistic and sociolinguistic, cognitive and process-oriented, ethnographic, feminist, and postcolonial approaches, along with critical engagement and text applications. The course assesses research carried out on different types of translation, including literary and non-literary translation, audiovisual translation, translation of advertising material, simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, and it widens appreciation and career implications of globalization and localization.
Editing, Documentation and Publishing Methods (8040512)
The course introduces techniques and procedures used in the preparation, presentation and marketing of material for publication in electronic or print form, including the following: preparation of readable abstracts from technical reports and papers; editing material to improve text clarity and consistency of grammar, punctuation and spelling; checking legal requirements, with respect to copyright, intellectual property and libel, as well as special requirements in each field; using electronic software to present text, graphics, photographs, sound and vision based on effective design principles; preparation of professional reports, using sources.
Introduction to Interpreting (8040521)
The course prepares students with the basic principles in various types of interpreting situations and conditions as well as the importance of systematic techniques (note-taking, efficiency, timing, etc.). It analyzes speech types and difficulties in interpreting conditions, develops strategies for interpreter’s accuracy of re-expression and memory training, and provides practice in the multimedia lab and other venues. It is a practical introduction to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting.
Audiovisual Translation I (8040531)
The course overviews theoretical and practical issues in the domain of film translation and sensitizes students to the various constraints on the practices of subtitling and dubbing, in addition to linguistic and cultural problems specific to audiovisual translation and the influence of film technology on translational strategies. Group lab workshops provide practice in subtitling and discussion of audiovisual translation of actual audiovisual products, with emphasis on translating into and from Arabic.
Translation Practice I (8040551)
The course builds on previous language knowledge to provide intensive translation (English/Arabic/English) in a variety of registers, and in the process to introduce and apply specific notions from comparative stylistics and text linguistics to develop strategies for solving problems. It requires progressively extended assignments reaching 2000 words and 50 hours of practicum in a business, media outlet, or institution.
Translation Practice II (8040552)
The course provides further intensive translation in a variety of registers in English/Arabic/English, and in the process, it introduces and applies specific notions from comparative stylistics and text linguistics to develop strategies for solving complex problems. Progressively, the course requires extended assignments reaching about 2000 words, a research paper, and 50 hours of practicum.
Translation Technology and Term Management (8040577)
This course equips students to explore, evaluate and apply the computerization possible to use for language processing in the translation field, and to determine which uses are most appropriate as computational tools for daily and more specialized applications. Software applications include terminology management, translation memory (TM), other recent programs and systems (e.g., UNL) for computer-aided translation, along with examination of their limitations, accuracy and cost effectiveness. The course acquaints students with the knowledge and practical skills to compile and use terminologies in various versions, in databases, electronic and print forms and on the internet.
Conference Interpreting I (8040522)
Using a multimedia lab and other venues, the course provides students with principles and effective techniques for simultaneous interpreting for conferences and speeches. It analyzes speech types and the difficulties of interpreting conditions, develops strategies for accuracy of re-expression such as memory training and note-taking, and gives practice in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting techniques.
Conference Interpreting II (8040523)
This is a continuation of Conference Interpreting I, with more intensive specialized practice and advanced strategies.
Audiovisual Translation II (8040532)
The course develops further the knowledge and skills that are required for translating an audiovisual product and familiarizes students with the working of visual media, websites and professional practices in the field. In addition to introducing film semiotics and how films are translated, the technology and the industry, the course outlines the pros and cons of dubbing and subtitling. Its practice will benefit from recent technological advances, and is applied where possible to more than two languages. Emphasis is placed on styles, format, synchronization, idiom, technical, cultural and language aspects.
Literary Translation I (8040541)
Students approach literary translation from several technical, practical and aesthetic perspectives, with attention to the nature of equivalence, unit of translation, loss and compensation, translation constraints (readerships, publishers, revision, editorial decisions, collaboration). The course also entails consideration of relevant theoretical notions of literature, such as “author” and “intentional fallacy,” poetics, hermeneutics and intertextuality. The aim is to produce translations in conditions that facilitate reflection on literary theories and to develop the knowledge and skills required for producing a translated version of a literary work for publication. Progressively, the practice results in the production of complete translation of literary works, including a translator commentary.
Literary Translation II (8040542)
A continuation of TRANS 8040541, this course adds a third language in the translation assignments and explores the relevance of cultural identity, gender, postcolonial and deconstructive approaches to translation. Students are able to place literary translation within the broader literary and socio-cultural contexts and to engage in literary translation research critically. Also considered are such issues as the language used in the translator’s preface. Practice in the course progresses to produce a full translation of a literary work, demonstrating both professionalism and scholarship, including detailed commentary, as a final assignment.
Translation Practice III (8040553)
The course is reserved for students who have elected to work in three languages. It builds on language knowledge to provide further intensive translation in various registers from and into a third language, and in the process introduces and applies specific notions from comparative stylistics and text linguistics to develop strategies for solving complex problems. The course requires extended assignments reaching about 2000 words and a research paper, as well as 50 hours of practicum. Third language proficiency must be satisfied before taking this course.
Technical and Business Translation I (8040561)
This course provides intensive practice in the translation of texts from technical (technological, medical, and scientific) and business (commercial, economic) sources, with particular attention to special language and terminology and the various sources available to the translator.
Technical and Business Translation II (8040562)
Building on TRANS 8040561, this course adds a third language to Arabic and English and provides further intensive practice in the translation of texts from technical (technological, medical, scientific) and business (commercial, economic) sources, probing more extensively special terminologies and the various sources available to the translator.
Legal Translation (8040565)
On the basis of intensive translation of various legal documents, this course provides comprehensive analysis of the lexical and stylistic aspects of legal writing and terminology. It also covers the principles, standards and practices of the language of constitutions, resolutions and agreements, with attention to the U.N. Translator’s Guide. The course involves full use and critique of resources in print and electronic form.
Translation and Arabicization (8040571)
This is a comparative study and application of the vocabulary and idioms that create difficulties in translating Arabic, English and other languages, and of how to approach solutions to meaning and cultural and other variations. It explores the limitations of bilingual dictionaries and the range of other resources in use.
Seminar in Translation (8040591)
The seminar involves a topic selected for its particular relevance to problems in translation theory and practice and their context in the region. It is usually taken in the last semester of the program. It involves a project or commented translation that applies research and various documentation strategies.
(6 credits; in Arabic or English or both, with a third language possible)
The thesis must follow the guidelines established by the university, in addition to departmental guidelines. Students may investigate topics on a specific aspect of translation theory or practice, linguistic theory in relation to translation, intercultural issues, terminology, technological applications or problems, other innovative research or major commented translation. In any case, the thesis must bear relevance to the regional context or have particular application to Palestine.