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The department of foreign languages at Yunnan University was officially established in May 1945, based on the foreign languages group established in 1938.
Foreign language and literature belong to the discipline of humanities. The profound accumulation of knowledge in the field by Yunnan University has laid a solid disciplinary foundation for foreign language and literature majors and created a good development environment. After several generations of unremitting efforts and long-term endeavors, the School of Foreign Languages at YNU has created a multilingual and multi-level academic institution of distinction.
Its French major was initiated in 1972 and a Japanese major was launched in 1988. In 1984 and 1993, the School of Foreign Languages was given approval to confer master's degrees in English language and literature and in the French language and literature, making YNU the earliest institution in Yunnan province to obtain such authorization in those fields.
A minority languages major was launched in the 1990s but was subsequently temporarily closed. In 2013, the undergraduate programs for Vietnamese, Burmese and Thai were restored and rebuilt. In 2017, undergraduate programs for Hindi began.
In 2010, the School of Foreign Languages was given the green light for a master's degree in the foreign language and literature first-level disciplines, as well as authorization for a master's degree in English and French translation. In 2012, it got the go-ahead for a master's degree in Japanese language and literature. In 2013, it received approval for a master's degree in Asian-African language and literature (Myanmar and Thai). In 2018, it was authorized to offer a master's degree in Indian language and literature and Asian-African language and literature.
In 2017, Yunnan University was listed as one of the nation's first batch of 42 "first-class universities" and a minority language and foreign language and literature discipline development project was approved as a key YNU project, which greatly promoted the school's development in all aspects.
Currently, the School of Foreign Languages has seven undergraduate programs: English, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai, and Hindi. Of these, the English major is a provincial characteristic major. There are also seven master's programs -- namely English language and literature, French language and literature, Japanese language and literature, Asian and African language and literature Burmese language developments, Asian and African language and literature Thai language developments, Asian and African language and literature Vietnamese language developments and Indian language and literature. It also has authorization for professional English and French translation degrees (Master of Translation and Interpreting). In order to better serve Yunnan's economic and social development, the school plans to add more Southeast Asian and South Asian language majors in the next few years.
In terms of bricks and mortar facilities, the School of Foreign Languages has modern teaching facilities such as simultaneous interpretation rooms, translation workshops, language laboratories, tens of thousands of books in Chinese and foreign languages, dozens of Chinese and foreign journals and audiovisual equipment and materials.
A group of outstanding foreign language and literature scholars have met at the school. Among the older generation of scholars, these included well-known scholars such as Wu Fuheng, Ling Dayang, Wu Mi, Chen Dingmin and well-known national translators such as Wang Feibai and Xie Baikui. Currently most of the teachers have travelled abroad, or have studied abroad. Three of its professors have served as members of the Teaching Steering Committee of English Majors and French Majors at the Ministry of Education. In addition, the school employs foreign experts and teachers from the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and other countries to participate in its curriculum.
Over the past 80 years, with its proud traditions and profound academic achievements, the School of Foreign Languages at YNU has trained a large number of outstanding foreign language professionals -- both for the country and for local areas. Over the past three years, the employment rate of undergraduates in the school has exceeded 98 percent and the employment rate of masters has reached 99 percent.