module specification

TR6051 - Theoretical Aspects of Translation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Theoretical Aspects of Translation
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
120 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 40%   15 minute oral presentation with 500 word written support
Coursework 60%   Essay of 2500 words comparing two translation theories
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Evening

Module summary

This module is a generic, non language-specific module which focuses on students’ knowledge of the main theoretical trends and approaches in translation. It facilitates students’ grasp of the main translation theories, and addresses the role of theory in shaping translation practice. Throughout, students are requested to evaluate different translation theories and reflect critically on how these theories support the translator. Seminar discussion and student presentations will address questions such as: Are all theories useful for all kinds of translation? What aspects of translation do specific theories address? How does translation theory influence the translation product? In which context do the theories operate?

Prior learning requirements

TR5001   Translation Process and Procedures

Module aims

This module aims:
1. To consolidate students’ knowledge of translation theory and its relation to translation practice.
2. To familiarise students with the main and latest translation theories and approaches, their principles and their various notions and concepts.
3. To evaluate the merits of different translation theories and reflect critically on their impact on the translation process.
4. To develop students’ awareness of the contexts in which each translation theory is applied (appropriateness to specific briefs and texts).


Main principles of linguistic approaches 1: Catford
Main principles of linguistic approaches 2: Vinay & Darbelnet
Main principles of functional / Skopos approaches
Main principles of text-linguistic approaches
Main principles of systems theories
Norms in translation
Equivalent effect
Cultural approaches: invisibility – Domesticating – Foreignising
Main principles of gender oriented approaches to translation
Main principles of postcolonial approaches

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy for the module is a flexible approach that combines face-to-face teaching/learning with remote learning via WebLearn. All lecture notes, reading materials and detailed information on the topics are made available on WebLearn and students are expected to read extensively round the topic and come prepared for discussion in class. Students are presented with the main translation theories during the lectures. These are then discussed in smaller groups during seminar sessions where students have an opportunity to present their critical evaluations of the theories discussed and receive feedback from their peers and the lecturer.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Explain and analyse the relevance of translation theory to translation practice and its impact on it.
2. Discuss the main theoretical approaches to translation and their contribution to translation theory.
3.  Assess, compare and evaluate different translation approaches and reflect critically on their impact on the translation process.
4.  Select and appropriately apply different translation theories to specific contexts, determining which translation theory applies to which brief and text.

Assessment strategy

Students prepare a 15 minute seminar presentation in which they discuss aspects of a translation theory chosen from the weekly oral presentations. For the written support, they choose a 200 word source text and discuss the suitability of the translation theory for the translation of the chosen text and how the theory informs translation procedures and solutions. In addition, students are expected to provide a 500 word written document as supporting evidence of the research undertaken.
At the end of the module, they write an essay of 2500 words comparing two translation theories and their impact on / relevance for translation practice.


Baker, Mona  (ed) Critical Readings in Translation Studies  (London: Routledge, 2009 )

Baker, Mona, Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (London: Routledge, 1998)

Gentzler, E., Contemporary Translation Theories, (London: Multilingual Matters, 2001)

Hatim, B., Teaching and Researching Translation. (London: Routledge, 2001) 

Munday, Jeremy,  Introducing Translation Studies, Theories and Applications (London: Routledge, 2nd ed. 2008)

Munday, Jeremy (ed) The Routledge companion to translation studies (London ; New York : Routledge, 2009)

Pym, Anthony, Exploring Translation Theories (London: Routledge, 2009 )

Venuti, Lawrence (ed), The Translation Studies Reader (London: Routledge, 2000)