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Unit information: Theories of Translation in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Theories of Translation
Unit code MODLM2015
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
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School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

This unit offers a historical introduction to Western theories of translation, and considers the different ways in which translation has been conceptualised as both process and product. A structured reading programme will prepare students to contribute to a series of discussion forums. Each student will research and present two topics to the group via Blackboard. 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 functional theories, translation as inter-cultural mediation.

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Conceptualize the process of translation, and apply a framework for practical evaluation of their own translation practice and that of other translators.
  2. Demonstrate analytical insight into the nature and uses of text, and theoretical appreciation of the complexities of transposing source text into target text.
  3. Evaluate the relative merits of different approaches to translation and the appropriateness of particular theories for specific translation contexts
  4. Demonstrate the ability to research complex theoretical topics and present their findings in an accessible format to their peers.

How you will learn

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.

How you will be assessed

1 x 2500-word essay (50%) (ILOs 2-4) 1 x 2500-word Case Study (50%) (ILOs 1-3)


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. MODLM2015).

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.