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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Penelope Johnson

Assistant Professor (Teaching) / TLRP Coordinator in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44665
Room number: ER234, Elvet Riverside 2

Contact Dr Penelope Johnson (email at

I graduated in English Philology at the University of Santiago de Compostela. I then completed a PGCE in Modern Languages at King’s College London, followed by and an MA in Translation at Middlessex University in London and a PhD in Translation at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. My thesis studied the idea that translation has the power to construct images and representations of ‘other’ cultures focussing specifically on the English Translations of Pablo Neruda’s Canto General. I teach a variety of modules, on the UG programme in Spanish Language and Translation and also on the MA in Translation studies program, where I teach and coordinate the specialist Spanish <> English translation module and every year I supervise MA translation projects and dissertations.

Regarding translation, my research and scholarship activities are based on Bourdieusian concepts of field and capital and postcolonial theory in translation. Currently I am involved in two particular projects: translation out of and into minority languages and self-translation, translation of border writing. In addition I am also participating in projects related to translation teaching (more specifically threshold concepts and the use of corpora in the teaching of translation) and to the year abroad provision and assessment. I am convener of the MLAC Translation and Linguistics Research Group.

I am also actively involved in promoting and enhancing FL teaching at University in the UK. I run MLAC’s DELE (Diploma de Español Lengua Extranjera) exams and work closely with the Instituto Cervantes and ELE-UK.

Research Groups

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

  • Translation/Linguistics/Pedagogy - Co-Convenor

Teaching Areas

  • MELA3111: Translation Theory
  • SPAN1011: Spanish Language 1A
  • SPAN2011: Spanish Language 2A

List of publications