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Module LXE-3101:
Approaching Translation

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Jonathan Lewis

Overall aims and purpose

strong text1. To serve as a bridging module between translation as a language-learning tool and as a skill, a profession and a discipline; 2. To enable students to develop a structured and holistic understanding of their chosen language pairs; 3. To offer students a practice-based theoretical guide to translation;
4. To encourage a systematic approach to translation and enable students to make informed choices during the process of translation.

Course content

This module aims to further develop and consolidate translation skills students have acquired in their language courses. By approaching translation as a process, it examines translation at different textual levels, from the lexico-grammatical level such as words and grammar, to the textual-pragmatic level such as cohesion, register and text types. It provides students with a framework to reflect on the translational difficulties in their languages of study and explore strategies and their implications.

The module combines practical sessions with more theory-based sessions, alternating between the two. Practical sessions will focus on the properties and themes of texts in English, with students discussing in their different language groups strategies of overcoming translation problems posed by each text and different translation possibilities. Theory-based sessions will introduce students to different aspects of translation and the translation process, including translation loss/compensation, cultural aspects of translation and the formal properties of texts. Students will prepare for these sessions by reading the relevant chapters in the essential reading for the module.

Assessment Criteria


C- - B+: For translation: Full comprehension of source material. English style clear and precise. Might be some odd expressions, but sensitive solutions are also presented. For Commentary: A sound presentation of objectives and considerations of source text within a context; competent and sensitive discussion of the nature and status of source text and target language; clear account of reasons for choices and decisions. Competent use of available resources.


A- - A*: For translation: No identifiable problems of comprehension. Shows flair for stylistic manipulation of English. Consistent and appropriate stylistic register is maintained. Should give the feeling that the translation cannot be improved. For Commentary: An original interpretative and considered approach to source material. Very well structured and written with clarity and precision. Very well reasoned justification for choices and decisions. Original and analytical assessment of source text.


D- - D+: For translation: Comprehension of vocabulary and structures show quite noticeable deficiencies which obscure sense. Very basic overall understanding of source material. Clumsy English; literal rendering impedes sense. Little attempt to reflect stylistic features of the original. For Commentary: A very basic approach. Ideas are unstructured, inadequate knowledge and understanding of source material and target language. Possibly sloppy presentation and little use of available resources. Little appropriate illustration of difficulties and solutions.

Learning outcomes

  1. Recognise that translating occurs with reference to communicative functions, text types and related macro- and micro-textual features

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of different types of difficulties when translating.

  3. Use systematic and effective translation strategies.

  4. Reason critically and defend translation decisions.

  5. Produce adequate translation into the student’s first language.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Assessment II 70
COURSEWORK Translation + Commentary Assessment I 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Lecture 11
Private study 89

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to translate short passages into and out of the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4)
  • The ability to translate sophisticated passages into and out of the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4)
  • Extract and synthesise key information from written and/or spoken sources in English / Welsh and/or the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
  • Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to translate and critically analyse the translation of a substantial piece of text in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4, 5.10)


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Essential Reading

Hervey, Sándor, et al, Thinking Italian Translation: A Course in Translation Method, Italian to English (Routledge, 2000)

Hervey, Sándor, et al, Thinking German Translation: A Course in Translation Method, German to English (Routledge, 2006)

Hervey, Sándor, and Ian Higgins, Thinking French Translation: A Course in Translation Method, French to English (Routledge, 1992)

Hervey, Sándor, et al, Thinking Spanish Translation: A Course in Translation Method, Spanish to English (Routledge, 1995) Pellatt, Valerie, and Eric T. Liu, Thinking Chinese Translation: A Course in Translation Method, Chinese to English (Routledge, 2010)

Recommended Reading

Baker, Mona, In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (Routledge, 1992)

Bassnett, Susan, Translation Studies (Routledge, 2014)

Bellos, David, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything (Particular Books, 2012)

Hatim, Basil, and Munday, Jeremy, Translation: An Advanced Resource Book (Routledge, 2004)

Munday, Jeremy, Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications, 4th edition (Routledge, 2016)

Palumbo, Giuseppe, Key Terms in Translation Studies (Continuum, 2009)

Samuelsson-Brown, Geoffrey, A Practical Guide for Translators, 5th revised edition (Multilingual Matters, 2010)

Venuti, Lawrence, The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (Routledge, 2008)

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: