ISSUES IN LITERARY TRANSLATION - 2018/9

Module code: TRAM411

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to the key critical considerations and creative and technical decisions faced by translators of literary works. By focusing on the repertoires and creative decisions that literary translation entails, the definition of ‘translation’ will be examined rather broadly, namely, both as a form of interlingual transfer and as a creative platform for (re)writing texts. Examples are offered from the areas of poetry, fiction, comic books and film. The module is suitable for students with different language backgrounds.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

ASIMAKOULAS D Dr (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: Q910

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered: 


Interlingual translation;
Translation brief;
Translation as a mode of writing;
Cultural translation;
Adaptation and translation;
Reviews and paratextual materials;
Approaches to and strategies of translation;
Theoretical frameworks of translation;
Translation and creativity;
Translation and originality.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 3000 WORD ESSAY, OR 1000 WORD PROJECT AND 2000 WORD COMMENTARY 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:


the development in their creative writing skills in prose fiction and/or poetry
their understanding of the context of their work in historical and cultural terms, as well as in terms of other creative writing in the field
their development of research and writing skills and, specifically, an understanding of matters relating to the dissemination of research and/or publishing
productive and informed critical reflection on both the creative process itself and the finished work that has resulted from it


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

3,000 word essay on translation issues OR Translation project (1,000 words creative prose or equivalent) and 2,000 word commentary.

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback in class, homework exercises, collaborative translation tasks with peer assessment and discussion, written and/or oral feedback on one piece of creative and/or critical writing (maximum of 2000 words or equivalent for poetry). 

Module aims

  • This module is designed to offer students an overview of key theoretical and descriptive pronouncements on translation by practising translators working within the Western tradition (focusing particularly on the modern period). The central issues addressed concern the ways in which translation can be seen as a creative process, a vehicle of building upon but also of creatively rewriting originals. Throughout the semester, literary translation theory and practice will be situated within literary and socio-cultural history. The module will offer students an overview of literary translation as a field of research.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Relate the fundamentals of key theoretical approaches to the researching of cultural facets of translation C
002 Reflect on literary translation practice in a principled, lucid and scholarly manner and/or demonstrate sufficient expertise to translate literary texts to adequate academic standards C
003 Demonstrate familiarity with key relevant theoretical questions in literary study and ability to assess their relevance to literary translation KCT
004 Trace and analyse the process affecting specific outputs in translation activity; KT
005 Develop/make effective use of relevant conceptual tools that will be transferable to other modules in their programme CPT
006 Practise problem-solving and priority-setting skills which will be useful for future employment KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:  


Hone and develop students’ writing skills in prose fiction and/or poetry by helping them trace and analyse the process affecting specific outputs in translation activity
Assist students in locating their work in historical and cultural contexts by developing in them an understanding of how to reflect on literary translation practice in a principled, lucid and scholarly manner and/or demonstrate sufficient expertise to translate literary texts to adequate academic standards
Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce both critically informed prose or poetry and creative criticism by enabling them to relate the fundamentals of key theoretical approaches to the researching of cultural facets of translation and demonstrate familiarity with key relevant theoretical questions in literary study and their ability to assess their relevance to literary translation
Facilitate in students productive reflection on both the creative process itself and the finished work that has resulted from it by enabling them to develop/make effective use of relevant conceptual tools that will be transferable to other modules in their programme, and to practise problem-solving and priority-setting skills which will be useful for future employment


The learning and teaching methods include:

2 hour seminar x 11 weeks. Interactive language seminars (in English) including practical tasks; lesson materials will focus on translations into or from English, so they will be accessible to students of varied language backgrounds.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for ISSUES IN LITERARY TRANSLATION : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/tram411

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Translation MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Creative Writing MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
English Literature MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Creative Writing MFA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.