Word for Word anthology, 2012

Literary Translation at Columbia (LTAC), a component of the Columbia University MFA Writing Program, offers all Writing students the opportunity to pursue coursework in literary translation as part of their studies. LTAC is not a formal translator-training program; rather, it was created out of the belief that an encounter with literary translation is beneficial to a writer’s development and imagination, while conversely the skills involved in writing well are also essential for translation. LTAC offers workshops, seminars and master classes in literary translation each semester that are open to all students enrolled in the Writing Program, as well as to students in other graduate programs on campus when space allows.


The director of LTAC is Susan Bernofsky, with Katrine Øgaard Jensen serving as acting director in the academic year 2019-2020. Recent faculty include Edith Grossman, Natasha Wimmer, Mónica de la Torre, David Hinton, Peg Boyers, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Jennifer Hayashida, Madhu Kaza, Matvei Yankelevich, Katrina Dodson, Michael F. Moore, Karen Van Dyck, Xiaolu Guo, and John Keene.

Photo by Joel Jares

All Writing Program students are invited to enroll in individual LTAC courses, and students interested in advanced translation work are encouraged to pursue a joint course of study in Writing and Literary Translation.


Prospective students interested in the joint course of study should apply to the MFA Writing Program in Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry and express their interest in translation in the general application. Please note that LTAC is offered only as a secondary course of study in the Writing Program and cannot be a student's main area of study. Students accepted into the Writing Program in any genre are asked to contact the LTAC director to declare their intention to pursue the joint course of study by the end of their first semester.


The evolving LTAC curriculum includes translation workshops, seminars, and master classes that explore the art of literary translation and its connection to other forms of creative writing. Students are also able to enroll in foreign language classes on offer at Columbia. For students pursuing the joint course of study, this coursework culminates in the submission of a brief translation thesis together with the thesis in their primary concentration.

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