KSU may offer first Ph.D. in translation

Michele Roehrig

It didn’t take a translator for Paula Dieli to understand Kent State was the best place to get a masters in translation.

But it did take a translation professor to convince the Ohio Board of Regents that it is the best place for the nation’s first doctorate program.

The Ohio Board of Regents approved the program Jan. 27 after it was proposed by Francoise Messerdier-Kenney, director of the Institute for Applied Linguistics. Later this month, if approved by the Educational Policy Committee, the Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees, Kent State will be the first university in the nation to have a comprehensive bachelor-through-doctorate program in translation studies.

“This is going to be a huge program,” Messerdier-Kenney said. “The state has been cutting down Ph.D. programs. Thankfully, they approved a new program at a time when they’re doing the opposite.”

Messerdier-Kenney, in her proposal to the Ohio Board of Regents, said Kent State is ideal for the doctorate program because it has a distinguished faculty, a highly successful masters program and student diversity.

Dieli, a translation major graduating in May with her masters in French translation, chose Kent State because it is “the premier place for translation studies.” She said translation students across the country and even in Europe know and respect Kent State for its program.

“It’s obvious that Kent State has the most comprehensive program,” Dieli said. “It’s where the expertise in the country lies.”

Before coming to Kent, she double-majored in computer science and French at the State

University of New York. She then worked in Paris for three years in the software industry.

Dieli, who was also the president of the graduate student association KentLingua for 2005, said she is considering coming back to Kent State for the doctorate program after working in San Francisco for a year.

In fact, according to Messerdier-Kenney’s proposal to the Ohio Board of Regents, a 2005 survey indicated 42 percent of Kent State masters students said they would be interested in the program after working in the profession. Furthermore, 16 percent said they would directly continue into the doctorate program.

The doctorate program is expected to be included in Kent State curriculum starting in the fall semester of 2007, Messerdier-Kenney said. At least two new faculty members would need to be hired: one for computational linguistics and one for translation studies.

The program focuses in two specializations: translation studies, which focuses on history, assessment and cognition and translation informatics, which integrates computer software. The doctorate can focus in any language Kent State offers for the bachelor-through-masters program. There is also an option for electives in related disciplines such as education, business or computer science.

Dieli, said she would be interested in the informatics specialization because of her computer science background.

“I wish more people knew about it,” Dieli said. “With the growing need for translators in this country, this is the place to go.”

Contact graduate studies reporter Michele Roehrig at [email protected].