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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to R9K107 Translation Studies


  • None.


  • Translation Project <> Second Language (MELA41530)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Translation Studies Dissertation (MELA40160, Extended Translation Project (MELA40260).


  • The final translation project is a translation, either from the Foreign Language into English, or vice versa, aimed at developing the translation skills acquired during the course into the managament of an extended translation project.
  • To demonstrate the ability of dealing with a complex and extended piece of translation.


  • The 5,000-word source text for the final translation project will be decided in consultation between the student and their supervisor according to the student's interests and the supervisor's expertise.
  • A commentary of 2,500 words accompanies the text. In the commentary, the students show that they are capable of explaining and describing both linguistic and non-linguistic (e.g. cultural, research, terminological, etc) problems encountered during the translation process, as well as explaining and making a case for the choices made in the translation project.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • an advanced understanding and knowledge of project management for a long translation;
  • an advanced understanding of the textual features of an extended piece and the translation strategies and skills to adopt in order to achieve a consistent text;
  • an advanced understanding of the cultural differences and the role of cultural factors in translation and more generally in international communication;
  • an advanced grounding in the conceptual tools for interpreting cultures.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the ability to deal with a large translation project;
  • the ability to locate translation problems and difficulties and effectively use secondary sources in order to solve them;
  • the ability to identify and resolve translation issues;
  • the ability to produce high-level idiomatic and functionally adequate target texts, composed in a target language that is grammatically correct, fluent, adhering to the appropriate register, and in compliance with the features of the appropriate genre and text-type.
Key Skills:
  • effective time management;
  • effective decision making in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • the ability to plan a major piece of work over a long period of time;
  • the ability to engage in self-directed learning and self-assessment;
  • the ability to write into a sophisticated academic-level style.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Summative assessment for the module is by a translation either into the Foreign Language or into English and by commentary.
  • The module will run from the first week of Easter term.
  • Every student is assigned a supervisor, who will provide individualized feedback on the progress of the translation on the basis of work submitted by the student.
  • The supervisory meetings will involve detailed discussions between the supervisor and the student on the application of norms and in the solutions to translation issues during which the supervisor will guide the student regarding resources and methodologies that may be employed. Supervisions are expected to cover applied matters of translation methodology.
  • The final translation project is to be submitted by the last Friday in September.
  • During the course of the term, each student is entitled up to 2.5 hours of individual consultation/supervision with the supervisor. The purpose of this is to focus on problems of comprehension and interpretation of the original text and to discuss matters of translation strategy and tactics.
  • The translation is to be accompanied by a 2,500-word commentary which includes an introduction to the text. The introduction engages with background information on the text, such as information on the author if known, text-type, its functions, its genre, and its register and will explain the needs of the translation brief if a brief is provided. The commentary will explain the decisions of detail outlining major problems encountered in translation, the solutions adopted in problematic cases, and the rationale behind selecting these solutions rather than other possible alternatives.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 5 as agreed 0.5 hour 2.5
Student Preparation and Background Reading 297.5
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Translation Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Translation 5,000 60% Yes
Commentary 2,500 40% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Tutorial feedback during the supervisory meetings.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University