University of Iowa introduces new BA in Translation

New major will develop global literacy and communication skills
Monday, April 11, 2022

An image of a student in a translation class

The University of Iowa is meeting a pressing need for undergraduate training in translation with a new Bachelor of Arts in Translation.  Drawing on the university’s recognized strength in writing and communication, the degree will be the first BA in Translation to be offered at a Research 1 university in the U.S.

The new major builds on the success of Iowa’s undergraduate minor in Translation for Global Literacy and responds to increasing demand for translation skills in an increasingly international job market.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 24% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

“Our focus on translation and world languages and cultures is about training our students to lead purposeful lives and function successfully in an extremely diverse global environment,” said Dr. Aron Aji, director of Iowa’s translation program.

Students earning Iowa's BA in Translation will be prepared to obtain specializations and serve as translators in global sectors such as business, communication, and diplomacy, where there is growing demand for language mediation.  The major complements many other programs, especially those with focus on international topics, as well as the many world languages offered at Iowa. 

Known worldwide as 'the writing university', the University of Iowa has an unsurpassed legacy in literary translation and international writing. 

“The first-ever translation workshop in a U.S. academic institution was held here in the mid-1960s,” said Dr. Aji, “and today our MFA in Literary Translation is the largest and arguably the strongest graduate program of its kind; for globally-minded undergraduate students, Iowa is the best place to study this.”

Students in Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will be able to declare the BA in Translation major as soon as fall 2022 semester.  Visit to learn more about this and all of the UI’s programs in translation.

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.