What is a translation memo?
Memo, short for memorandum, is a brief written communication that follows a format specific to the institution or field of study for which it was written. Memos are written from someone within an organization/field to others inside the organization/field. They contain information of a directive, advisory or informative nature. Memos are shorter and less formal than a white paper, research paper, or dissertation.
Translation comes from the Latin translat meaning “carried across.” In order to translate the selected research study, you must interpret and explain the study in your own words with the goal of making it more comprehensible and accessible to others in your field of study.
A successful translation memo will analyze the findings and observations of a specific study (or body of research) from your chosen field. It will then use that analysis to develop relevant and detailed recommendations regarding policies and practices.
One of the goals of the DPA 701 is to develop the ability to translate public policy and administrative research into practice. To that end, students will participate in the process of writing a translation memo.
This assignment should help students develop the ability to analyze and synthesize information in order to propose solutions for public service problems. Students must think critically by demonstrating procedural and conceptual knowledge, analyze data and research methods, and make recommendations that are evidence and outcome based.
In Public Administration, translation requires the ability to analyze and synthesize information in order to propose solutions for public problems. Students must think critically by demonstrating procedural and conceptual knowledge, analyze data and research methods, and make recommendations that are evidence and outcome based.
Translation memos are designed to instill in students the competency to translate public policy and administration research into practice. In doing so, students will demonstrate the ability to access, identify, evaluate, and use effectively the extant research on substantive topics. Translation memorandums should be addressed to either a supervisor or elected official(s). Thinking broadly, translation memo topics may be from any area within the public service literature, including: public policy and administration, nonprofit management, human resource management, criminal justice, social work, etc.
A translation memo is structured around an inclusive and critical review of a focus or primary article or book. Memos should review the article/book’s main thesis, research question, methodology and findings, and then evaluate the article/book’s methods and findings. Strong translation memos cite at least 5 relevant references, usually journal articles, to situate, contextualize and evaluate the selected primary article/book. Translation memos conclude with explicit recommendations on how to implement a policy or program based on the selected article/book. These recommendations should focus on either how to implement or apply the article’s recommendations/findings, or the student’s own recommendations based on their reading of the article. Translation memos should be between 4 and 6 pages in length. You can use the translation memo checklist (next page of this assignment prompt) and the assignment rubric (last two pages of this assignment prompt) to help you write and edit your memo.
For the purpose of learning how to prepare a translation memo in DPA 701, all students must this semester must utilize one of the four articles provided on D2L with this assignment prompt as a starting point and anchor point for their translation memo—that is as your primary source toward the completion of your translation memo. Additional course readings and the Library website can be used to identify the additional references, preferably peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
A. Header (to, from, date, subject)
B. Summary (include study details and research question)
C. Background (context of study)
D. Evaluation (strength/weaknesses of premise, methodology, conclusions)
E. Recommendations (consider possible challenges to implementation)
Remember: A translation memo is not the same as a policy memo. The focus of this written document is the research study.
APA Style/Format: ALWAYS use APA guidelines to ensure the correct format.
Length: Using 12-point font, the memo must be no more than six pages (double spaced), and no less than four pages (double spaced) in length (and yes, I acknowledge “memos” traditionally follow a single-spaced format). Each page of the memo should be numbered and include the author’s name. The citation page(s) do not count toward this page limit.
Use Dula2018 as primary source for translation memorandum. Use other sources attached as supporting sources for evaluation and recommendations, or wherever else it fits.
What is a translation memo?