Haitian Creole Language and Culture Summer Institute

This program has been offered in Massachusetts for over two decades. Since the summer of 1995, the Institute has been conducted at the Harbor Campus of UMass Boston under the joint collaboration of the Africana Studies Department, the Haitian Studies Program, and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies.

This year the Institute will offer a three-week intensive program in different levels, geared toward the acquisition and practice of Haitian Creole. Also offered is a course in techniques of translation for advanced students.

In addition to class work, all courses make use of cultural activities to enhance the study of the language. Evaluation of student achievement and proficiency for placement and progress will be conducted both informally and formally during and at the conclusion of the course.

To give participants an additional immersion in the Haitian-speaking environment they will have an opportunity to participate, on a voluntary basis, in field work activities in different Haitian community-based organizations and agencies outside the classroom time.

Participants for the Institute come from a variety of settings across the United States looking to develop or improve their language skills. The program is designed to meet the needs of those who plan to conduct research in Haiti or in the Haitian diaspora, or who work in a volunteer or professional capacity either in Haiti during the reconstruction efforts, or with Haitians abroad.

Although many Institute participants come from the Boston area, the Institute staff will assist out-of-town participants to find accommodations with Haitian families, where participants are immersed in a language and culture-oriented environment.


Optional credit for all the courses is available from the Africana Studies Department. By special permission, students may receive 3 credits for independent study from the Africana Studies Department. Students taking courses for credit pay standard summer per-credit course fees.


Haitian Creole I - Beginner (LANGINST 002)
This intensive beginning-level course is intended for students with no knowledge of Haitian Creole. In small-group teaching sessions, students will be prepared for conversational fluency with basic reading and writing skills, emphasizing communicative competence as well as grammatical and phonetic techniques.

Haitian Creole II - Intermediate (LANGINST 003)
Skills acquired in this intermediate level course will enable students to participate actively in most social and cultural conversations. Sufficient writing and reading comprehension skills will be practiced and studied with the use of intermediate vocabulary and grammatical forms.

Haitian Creole III - Advanced (LANGINST 004)
At the advanced level, students will achieve a high degree of fluency and precision of vocabulary, enabling them to perform sophisticated activities. Students will be able to speak, read, and write as well as use colloquialisms, proverbs, riddles, and "contes" (jokes).

Techniques of Haitian Creole Translation (LANGINST 005)
This course is geared towards the native or advanced Creole language speaker who wishes to be certified as a translator or as a court interpreter. It provides participants with ample opportunities to apply techniques and skills through a series of translation assignments which form the basis for class discussion. Participants will have intensive practice in translating a variety of genres and styles both literary and non-literary. They will also be trained in techniques of consecutive and simultaneous interpretation and sight translation. Emphasis is given to accuracy, speed, delivery, command of professional lexicon, and awareness of the relationship between language and culture.

Special Topic: Interpretation (AFRSTY480) (for 3 credits)
This course is designed to be an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of interpretation and translation, both from Haitian Creole to English and from English to Haitian Creole. The student will learn the fundamentals of oral interpretation and translating literary works, letters, legal documents, newspapers, commercial advertisements, and other materials. It is hoped that by the end of the session, the student will be able to interpret in medical and judicial situations, prepare and compare translations of literary and non-literary texts, and be able to identify the merits and flaws of various translations. The student will become familiar with various theories of interpretation and translation and will learn to implement them in his or her own interpretations and translations. Finally, the student will be able to construct a translation with an intended purpose and/or artistic effect.
Prerequisites: Haitian Creole 3 Advanced or consent, a strong command of spoken Haitian Creole and English as well as a solid knowledge of Haitian Creole and English grammar.

Schedule and Fee

Program runs:
June 18 – July 6, 2018
Monday - Friday
5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Haitian Creole I - Beginner (LANGINST 002)
Class No: 1728
Fee: $700

Haitian Creole II - Intermediate (LANGINST 003)
Class No: 1730
Fee: $700

Haitian Creole III - Advanced (LANGINST 004)
Class No: 1731
Fee: $700

Techniques of Haitian Creole Translation (LANGINST 005)
Class No: 1732
Fee: $700

Special Topic: Interpretation (AFRSTY480)
Class No: 3047
Fee: $1,230

To Apply

You may register via fax, mail, or in person. Please note that telephone registration is no longer available.

Registration forms will be sent out to you by Professor Jean Lesly Rene (jean.rene@umb.edu)

University of Massachusetts Boston
Registrar's Office, CC-4
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125-3393
Fax: 617.287.6242

One Stop, Campus Center, Upper Level
M-Th, 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
F, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Institute Staff

All Institute staff members are native speakers of Haitian Creole.

More Information

About the program:
Jean Lesly Rene’
Africana Studies Department

About housing: