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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FREN3770 Theory and Practice in French-English Translation

20 creditsClass Size: 24

Module manager: Dr Nigel Armstrong

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Completion of level 2


FREN2010Language in Contexts

This module is mutually exclusive with

FREN3070Bilingual Liaison Interpreting
FREN3730French as a Professional Language
MODL3320Final Year Project: Translation
MODL3340Final Year Project: Extended Translation

Module replaces

FREN3192 Linguistic Introduction to French-English Translation

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The course will begin by examining the foundational concepts in structural linguistics that explain the fundamental difficulties confronting the translator. Other key issues covered will be: the modalities of lexical dissymmetry between French and English; text-types; and the basic translation strategies proposed in the standard texts. The course assumes some interest in and knowledge of the fundamentals of linguistic theory. Students' practical skills will improve as a result of their enhanced understanding of the issues underlying translation, since in the second half the course is concerned primarily to improve translation skills through practical text-based exercises involving the detailed study of translation difficulties, and the procedures suitable for overcoming them.


To sensitise students to some of the skills of the translator, by discussing these so as to articulate in an explicit way certain elements of their skill that advanced translators operate non-explicitly or intuitively. As a result, as well as having acquired enhanced translation skills, by the end of the course students should be in a position to discuss, in general and with reference to a text that they are rendering into English, translation cruxes in the context of the cultural-linguistic issues covered in the course. Insofar as they are separable, these issues fall into two broad categories: the achievement of cross-cultural equivalence in translation; and the problems associated with cross-linguistic variation as they affect the translator's task.
Teaching is informed both by research (Armstrong's 2005 textbook on translation will be required reading) and professional practice (Aldred holds the Diploma in Translation of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, is a Member of the Institute and has several years experience of professional translation).

Learning outcomes
Enhanced knowledge of theory and practice of French-English translation, implying increased knowledge of the linguistic structure of written French and English and the linguistic theory surrounding translation. Enhanced knowledge of the encyclopaedic knowledge necessary for acceptable advanced French-English translation.

Skills outcomes
Enhanced competence in French-English translation, both in the discussion of theory and its carrying out in practice. Enhanced competence in autonomous work, both research skills and the composition of fluent and accurate written English. Increased understanding of advanced written French.


In semester one there will be a mixture of lectures and seminars covering the linguistic and cultural issues which present difficulties for the French/English translator. Students will be introduced to translation strategies and commentary.
In semester two students are responsible for identifying through autonomous research the source text that will form the basis of the semester 2 assessment. In the seminars each student presents a discussion of the translation difficulties identified in their source text. There are further individual consultation sessions where students discuss difficulties with course tutors.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours184.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Semester 1: During term private study will be associated with preparation for participation in seminars, consolidation of lectures (four hours), preparation of the practice assignment (ten hours) and preparation for and completion of the open-book examination (forty hours, given that it is a week-long takeaway).
Semester 2: During term private study will be associated with preparation for active participation in seminars specifically in the form of a compulsory oral presentation (at least four hours per seminar; longer where a presentation is to be prepared), location of a suitable translation source text (twenty hours: students will be expected to locate a text, ensure it is of a suitable text type and level of difficulty, and verify it has not been translated) and preparation for and completion of the open-book examination (fifty hours in view of the length of the text and the translation standard expected).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Semester 1: A 'devoir d'entretien' or practice exercise will be set, to be done during reading week. This will be returned to students in time for feedback to be absorbed before the formal assessment.

Semester 2: Student will be required to prepare an oral presentation discussing difficulties associated with the translation of the source text they will be responsible for choosing. Feedback on the presentation will be given by the lecturer and other students in the group. If requested, further feedback will be available form the lecturer, through individual consultation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentOpen-book translation and commentary (translation 300 words, commentary 1,000).50.00
In-course AssessmentOpen-book extended translation, 2000 words. Text chosen by students in week two of the second semester, subject to approval by course tutors.50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/11/2018 09:25:44


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