Humanities Student Example

My. I.S. project will result in an anthology of modern German poetry translated into English. This presents a special set of challenges: issues of connotation, rhyme, meter, form and rhythm as well as of cultural context. As a student abroad in Freiburg, Germany, my sophomore year, I was able to grapple with some of these issues within a broader context; however, the concentration of language within poetry forces an even more intense confrontation with my position in both languages. My I.S. will include an introduction explaining my exploration of the theoretical issues of and process behind translation as well as appendices of German-language interpretations of selected poems. [1]

Because I have chosen to focus on modern German poetry - specifically, female poets of the former East Germany - I have the good fortune to be translating poets who, for the most part, are still living. I would like to use Copeland funding to go to Germany to interview them. So far I am sending letters to the following writers: Eva Strittmatter, Sarah Kirsch, Gabrielle Eckhart, Elke Erb and Sonja Schüler (please see attached sample contact letter [2]). I anticipate that this list will grow as I progress through the semester and find additional literature, although I do plan to concentrate my visit around Berlin and the northeastern part of the country.

The interviews would be invaluable both for contextual and syntactical questions as well as issues of motivation, form and especially cultural context. As a part of my visit I would also attend as many poetry readings within the Berlin literary scene as possible. The opportunity to re-immerse myself in German poetry and language, even for 14 days, would be a crucial component to both my own process of understanding the poems and my engagement with translating them from the original to the borrowed language of English. I hope to experience a unique opportunity to work with the writers themselves on the translation of their work. In addition to helping me in the process of translation, the interviews would also be an integral addition to the I.S. document itself.[3] I plan to transcribe them and translate them, with an eye also to publication in interested journals. A Copeland grant would enable me to directly contact and interact both with the German poets whose work I am translating and the dynamic German poetry scene itself. Without Copeland funding, I will translate the poetry without the enhancement of interviewing the authors.

Budget [4] Proposed Trip Dates: Dec. 28, 2000 - Jan. 11, 2001 Flight: $700Train pass: $200Hotel/hostel/pension stays: $600 Total: $1500


[1] A short, clear explanation of your IS project should be at the beginning of your proposal. In this example the author emphasizes the process of translation, foreshadowing her request to visit Germany to speak with poets about translating their work.

[2] If you will be interviewing someone as part of your IS, you should show evidence that you have made contact with the individual and that you have received some training in interviewing. Copies of letters received from the interview subject confirming your intentions are best.

[3] In this example the author has been very clear and specific about what an award from the Copeland fund would allow her to do that she would not be able to do otherwise.

[4] Always get as accurate an estimate as possible of any expenses. This is evidence that you are serious and are capable of doing what you propose. Food is almost never an acceptable expense.