module specification

TR5002 - Translating Text and Culture (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Translating Text and Culture
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Logbook (2000 words)
Coursework 50%   Essay (2000 words)
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module focuses on developing the analytical and interpretive reading and writing skills which are a necessary and integral part of the translation process. The module aims to raise students’ awareness of the important role that cultures play in the ways that we process and produce texts. In the first part of the course, advanced reading competence is developed through an examination of complex theoretical grammar concepts, as seen operating in a variety of written contexts. Productive skills related to students' individual competence in written domain-specific language are also developed through practical exercises aimed at improving nuanced expression and register-dependent paraphrasing. The theoretical/practical nature of this module is reflected in the teaching structure of the first part of the course, with the aim of fostering transferable translation-specific skills. In the second part of the module, the focus on text is broadened, through an examination of some of the key concepts which affect the ways that texts operate within the cultures and societies that produce them.

Prior learning requirements

TR4002  The Translator and Language (pre-requisite)


Building on the students' prior knowledge of the stages in the translation process and of language and grammar in use, this generic module is predicated on the notion that the translator is a very special kind of reader and writer, engaged in cross-cultural communication.
The examination of texts in this module is undertaken in relation to the construction and recovery of meaning, and emphasis is placed on comprehension at both the micro-level (intra-textual) and at the macro-level (i.e. the text as a whole, operating in context).
The main focus during the first part of the module is on developing syntactic knowledge, while in the second part students are also sensitised to the pragmatic knowledge which can be drawn upon in order to help 'make sense' of a text and identify the impact that socio-cultural factors have on the production and transmission of texts. LO1,LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This is a taught module, delivered through lectures and seminars.
There will be opportunities for tutor feedback to encourage personal development and reflection (student logbook), with a view to producing the final written essay to the required standard, appropriate to the level of study.
WebLearn will be used throughout to support teaching and learning. Students will be encouraged to make use of the on-line forum facility to foster peer support and feedback.
Independent study: students will be expected to undertake a substantial amount of background reading, with specific reading tasks set in preparation for discussions in seminars and for the extended practical activities in the teaching sessions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Evaluate their understanding of the role of reading and writing in the translation process through an ability to comprehend complex grammatical structures and produce complex texts that function in context.
2. Research the cultural elements embedded in the text and demonstrate the ability to transfer cultural features in the translation process.

Assessment strategy

Assessment component 1
Coursework: Logbook of 2000 words containing a selection of the guided writing and comprehension exercises set in the first part of the module.
Assessment component 2
Coursework: Essay of 2000 words on the topic specified by the lecturer.

The reading skills required for the type of close textual analysis and critical comprehension are integral to the translator's practice. CWK01 reinforces these skills which have been developed in the first part of the module through exposure to a wide variety of domain-specific texts. CWK01 also develops the writing skills required for reformulation, text production and the translator's role as writer. Students are expected to demonstrate linguistic accuracy, fluency and context-sensitive writing skills honed via practical exercises in the teaching sessions. This first assessment component is therefore preparatory for the second one (CWK02) in which students have to discuss the issue of the impact of various cultural contexts and factors on translation, and the ways in which texts operate across societies and languages.
Formative feedback is given along the way to encourage personal development and reflection, with a view to producing the two pieces of coursework to the required standard, appropriate to the level of study.


Core Text:

Katan, D. (1999) Translating cultures. Manchester: St Jerome Press.

Other Texts:
Abbott, D. (1998) Culture and identity. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Baker, M. (1992) In other words: a coursebook on translation. London and New York: Routledge.
Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006) Cambridge grammar of English: a comprehensive guide. Spoken and written English grammar and usage. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hall, S (1997) Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices, London: Sage in association with the Open University.
Lewis, R.D. (2006) When cultures collide. 3rd edn. Boston: Nicholas Brealey International.
Malmkjær, K. (2005) Linguistics and the language of translation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Montgomery, M. et. al. (2000) Ways of reading: advanced reading skills for students of English literature. 2nd edn. London and New York: Routledge.
Schäffner, C. (ed.) (2002) The role of discourse analysis for translation and in translator training. Clevedon (Buffalo): Multilingual Matters.
Snell Hornby, M. (1995) Translation studies: an integrated approach. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.