Please note: All Summer 2020 LRP courses will be offered online via Zoom or Webex.
Mission of the program
The mission of the Language Reading Program is to teach students from CUNY, other schools, and all walks of life to read texts in languages other than English, and to translate them into idiomatic English, so students can meet their graduate program language proficiency requirements and achieve their goals for personal or professional development. Many graduate programs recognize success in LRP Level I and Level II courses as satisfying their language reading requirements. For others, we are good preparation for the departmental exam.
Level I courses assume no knowledge of the language. Grammar, syntax, idioms, and core vocabulary (determiners, prepositions, etc.) are covered intensively in order to proceed rapidly to the translation of scholarly texts. By the end of Level I, students who succeed are able to translate scholarly texts with the aid of a dictionary, with some difficulty. Level I prepares students to begin to attempt literary or scholarly translations by providing the essential building blocks, but more extensive work for ease of translation or reading fluency occurs in Level II.
One of the most important variables to succeed in Level I is attendance. As a general guideline, the program discourages more than one absence during the fall and spring semesters. Any absence during the summer semester jeopardizes the success of the course. LRP policy regarding absences is largely up to the instructor with the exception of three or more absences. Three or more absences represents too great a loss of instruction time in a course and inevitably reflects negatively in both the course and the final examination grade.
The program is not responsible for information missed by students due to absence -- this includes homework, quizzes, and all things discussed during the class. The instructor is not expected nor advised to notify [email or other] the student of homework assignments missed because of absences.
Regarding the amount of time needed beyond the class hours, in summer especially, up to two times as many hours as there are class hours outside of class is typical. In summer this would mean that ten to twelve hours in addition to the class hours are ideal. It varies from language to language and from individual to individual. Remember, your goal is to move from zero knowledge to the point of being able to translate authors like Kafka, Camus and Schopenhauer – something, something intense, must happen between the beginning and the end.
Level II classes assume that the equivalent of Level I has been completed successfully. The work in Level II courses is translating scholarly articles in the disciplines of the students in the class; grammar and other basics are briefly reviewed as needed. Students are encouraged to develop glossaries in their fields and to build their lexical vocabularies. By the end of Level II, students who succeed are able to swiftly and accurately translate scholarly texts in their fields with the aid of a dictionary.
Most students require Level I and Level II to become competent.
The quantity of work needed outside of class differs from language to language. During the intense summer semester an average of eight to ten hours per week is estimated.
The LRP does not teach conversation in the target language nor how to write in the target language.
The LRP does not focus on aesthetics or style of translations, nor on theories of translation, but these may be briefly discussed in the context of helping students learn how to read in the target language, and to demonstrate their reading skill by providing a translation in idiomatic English that reflects the nuances of the original text.
Grading Policy and Reporting:
Two grades are given: 1] a final examination grade and 2] a course grade composed of 30% final examination, 30% quizzes as well as the timely submission of assignments and 40% class contribution of homework solutions on a consistent basis and evidence of engaging intensively with the textbook.
The final exam takes place in the assigned classroom on the last day of the course class unless special arrangements are made two weeks in advance. The exam texts are selected by the instructor taking into consideration the disciplines of individual students. The text is ca. 350 words to be translated with dictionary within two hours. It is up to the instructor's discretion whether a printed or an electronic dictionary is to be used. The translation is to be rendered into idiomatic English keeping as close as possible to the original text.
Each department or school has its own minimum grade for satisfying its non-English reading requirements. Some departments request both the final exam and the course grade while others request only one or the other. Most departments require a minimum grade of B+ to satisfy their requirements.
Notification of Grades: LRP supplies official documentation of each student’s performance upon request. This documentation consists of one letter [.pdf] attached to an email to the person designated. If more than one person is to be notified, they will be copied on the same email. The student is always copied on such a notification and thus has a record of the official notification document. Each student will be asked for the information required by his or her program, and the contact information [including title] of the person to whom the grade should be reported. Grades are generally reported within three weeks of the final exam.
Typical course offerings:
In Fall and Spring we generally offer French Level I and II; German Level I & II, Italian Level I and II, Latin Level I and Spanish Level I and II.
In Summer, we generally offer the same courses, however, the Summer schedule is designed to enable students to take both the Level I and the Level II successively. In addition, we also offer a German Combined Level I/ Level II course. The Level I component of this course takes place with the first Level I section and is open to students of all disciplines; the Level II component begins after Level I ends and is targeted to art historians. Students from other disciplines in the humanities are welcome if the Level II part of the course is still open.
Non-credit, continuing education
The LRP is a special program and the courses are classified by CUNY as "continuing education". LRP courses are non-credit and do not appear on students' transcripts.
The LRP offers language examinations only to students who are registered for courses.
Registrations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. More rarely, some classes that are initially offered are withdrawn due to insufficient registration. Please see the Registration page for more information (link to the registration page is to the left).
Last updated May 24th, 2020