My impression is that some US universities at one time required producing a translation of a non-English language article in order to receive a PhD. As far as I am aware, this practice started before World War II when English was not as dominant a language in science as it is today. The requirement seems to have been removed at some point after World War II, and at some universities not until after the Cold War ended.
Does anyone know about the history of this requirement? Why was it added? Why was it removed?
Not much can be found online about these sorts of requirements. UC Berkeley has a page on what sounds like a similar requirement, but only for some programs. And it sounds like the concern is more knowing a foreign language than necessarily producing a translation. Perhaps producing a translation was only one way to satisfy a (now removed) foreign language requirement.
I recall speaking with someone who got a PhD in math from NYU in the 90s. They were required to write a translation, though as I recall they described the process as more of a formality and did not believe it continued long beyond their time at NYU.
Also, I spoke with a European academic interested in translations who was not aware of similar requirements in Europe. If anyone knows of similar requirements in Europe and their history, I'm also interested in this.