Show The Graduate Center Menu

Language Reading 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.  

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 two absences. Even two classes missed presents a critical challenge for the student. The program is not responsible for information missed by students due to absence -- this includes homework, quizzes, and all things discussed during the class.

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 accuratly translate scholarly texts in their fields with the aid of a dictionary.

Most students require Level I and Level II to become competent. 

There is no emphasis on conversation or on producing the subject language in speech or writing. 

Grading Policy of the Program:
Two grades are given: 1] a grade entirely based on the final translation and 2] a course grade composed of 20% final examination, 20% quizzes as well as the timely submission of assignments and 60% in class contribution of homework solutions on a consistent basis and evidence of engaging intensively with the textbook. The presentation in class of grammatical material is not sufficient to create a solid foundation of grammar and syntax. Lectures highlight what only a grammar book can deepen. 

Some departments request both final exam and the course grade, others one or the other grade only. Most departments require a grade B+; there are some departments requiring a higher grade, a lower than B(+) grade is generally not accepted by departments.
The final exam takes place in the assigned classroom on the date of the last class scheduled unless special arrangements are made two weeks in advance. The exam text for Level I is selected by the instructor taking into consideration the disciplines of individual students. The text is ca. 300 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. 

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.

We are a special program out of the Provost's Office and are under the umbrella of the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context (ILETC). 

Our courses are non-credit, and our courses do not appear on students' transcripts. We supply official documentation of each student’s performance upon request.  Many 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. 

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 November 22, 2015
Last updated January 21, 2015
Last updated March 17, 2016