Module 1: Theories of Translation & Interpreting

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This module offers critical discussion of recent and current thinking on translation, interpreting and other forms of intercultural communication.

There are several units in the module. Each unit addresses a different topic and is subdivided into chapters. The chapters consist of discursive text and are accompanied by questions and tasks. The questions tend to be conceptual, to test your understanding of the issues discussed in the relevant chapter. The tasks are more practical and refer to particular translations that are provided or to a corpus you put together yourself. Both questions and tasks come with model answers, which are offered as possible valid answers rather than as the only correct answers.


Unit 1: Disciplinary Objectives: Theo Hermans 

This unit offers an initial survey of approaches to the study of translation over roughly the last fifty years. Starting from traditional approaches based on linguistic models and developed in the context of translator training we move on to survey the functionalist and descriptive theories of the 1970s and ’80s, and end with the gender-based, postcolonial and poststructuralist views of more recent times.

Unit 2: The Descriptive Approach to Translation: Siobhan Brownlie

The unit focuses on the descriptive approach to translation research. The notions of the founding figure, Gideon Toury, are discussed together with criticisms of his ideas. As well as some general questions and tasks, students are asked to apply the theory and method to a set of texts they have constituted.

Unit 3: Interventionist Approaches to Translation: Şebnem Susam-Sarajeva

The unit consists of a series of expository Chapters outlining one of the ‘interventionist’ approaches to the study of translation, and a number of Questions to help you digest the ideas and explore their practical value in translation research, and a set of Texts that we will use as research objects.

Unit 4: Translation as Social Practice: Sameh Fekry Hanna

Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of cultural production, this unit suggests an understanding of translation as both a social practice and a cultural product. The case of the first published translation of Hamlet into Arabic is used as an illustration.