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Unit information: Theories of Translation in 2021/22

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Theories of Translation
Unit code MODLM0005
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Carol O'Sullivan
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will familiarize students with the history of translation and its seminal role in Western culture, considering the different ways in which translation has been conceptualised as both process and product; it will introduce students to a range of theoretical approaches to translation. A process of student-led investigation and discussion will develop critical reflection on the value and relative merits of such approaches. Particular attention will be given to the application of theoretical frameworks to the analysis of practical translation. A structured reading programme will prepare students to contribute to regular face-to-face seminars and online forums. Each student will research and present topics to the group. Topics will cover a range of specific theoretical approaches to the study of translation in relation to different text types: examples are likely to include historical studies, process-based studies, hermeneutics, descriptive and functionalist theories, translation as inter-cultural mediation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. be able to conceptualize the process of translation;
  2. have developed a sound framework for practical evaluation of translation practice (their own and others’);
  3. have developed their analytical insight into the nature and uses of text, and their theoretical appreciation of the complexities of transposing source text into target text;
  4. have learned to evaluate the relative merits of a number of approaches to translation, and the appropriateness of particular theories to particular translation contexts;
  5. have a theoretical basis for further detailed scholarly analysis of translation (e.g. at dissertation level and beyond);
  6. have developed skills in researching complex theoretical topics,
  7. be able to present their findings in accessible format to a group of peers.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered online through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

There are two components to assessment:

a) Assessed presentation (the student will select one of their two presentations for assessment): 40% assessing ILOs 1-6 and especially 7

b) Case study (2500 words) applying a theoretical model to an existing translated text (students will be allowed to choose the text type and translation for analysis, subject to the tutors formal approval): 60% assessing ILOs 1, 3-6


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MODLM0005).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.