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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GERM1110 Skills in German Translation

20 creditsClass Size: 18

Module manager: Anne Buckley

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at A-level German or equivalent

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module gives students an opportunity to get to grips with the challenges of translating from German into English. By looking in detail at specific features of the German language and discussing possible strategies for translating these into English, students will enhance their sensitivity to meaning and nuance in both languages. Through reflection on their own translation work and using central theoretical concepts from translation theory, they will gain an understanding of what it means to translate a text.The first half of the module focuses on structural and grammatical challenges such as moods and tenses, with a shift to look at expressive linguistic features such as rhetorical and figurative language. Beyond the practical and language-specific discussions held in seminars, over the course of the module students will also become familiar with some key terms and concepts in translation theory, which will help them to improve and reflect on their on translation work.


The main objective of the module is to introduce students to practical and theoretical approaches for understanding applied language and in particular DE>EN translation. The module aims:
- to familiarise students with specific challenges of DE>EN translation and explore solutions through practical examples;
- to introduce students to concepts in translation theory that will help them to think critically about their translation work;
- to equip students to reflect on their own translation practice and prepare them for modules in applied language at Levels 2/3.

Learning outcomes
Through completion of the module, students will gain:
- An awareness of some key challenges of DE>EN translation and of the strategies that can be used to overcome them;
- An understanding of some central concepts in translation theory;
- The ability to apply these alongside specific examples when reflecting on their own work.

Skills outcomes
Students will:
- enhance their understanding of the German language by discussing the usage and implications of particular linguistic features (intended to parallel and expand on the work done in the Core language module);
- gain a detailed understanding of some key challenges in DE>EN translation and develop strategies for overcoming these;
- become familiar with theoretical concepts from translation studies that will form a basis for modules in applied language at Levels 2/3;
- learn to reflect in a rigorous and academic way on their own work, in the context of translation.


Weekly seminars of 1.5 hours will explore specific challenges of DE>EN by focusing on practical examples each week. In Semester One, the focus will be on the difficulty of translating particular linguistic structures from German into English (e.g. complex and simple tenses, passive or subjunctive moods); in Semester Two, the emphasis will shift to more expressive features of the language (e.g. rhetorical devices, idiomatic usage, figurative language). Seminars will involve discussion of how these features of the German language function, leading to an exploration of options for translating them into the different linguistic context of the English language.

The seminars will be supported by bi-weekly lectures (1 hour), in which students will be introduced to the theoretical concepts that will underpin the seminar discussions. These will cover topics such as the key concepts of equivalence and fidelity, and the challenge of defining quality in translation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for seminars is intended to prepare students for a discussion of key questions for the translator, and/or of particular translation challenges and their solutions. Each week, preparation will include completion of a translation exercise for discussion in class, and as part of the module students will also be expected to complete set reading to enhance their theoretical understanding of the translation process.
As part of the module, students will be expected to submit regular entries to a reflective journal, which will enable regular reflection on translation practice and will help students to complete the assessed reflective account in Semester Two.
Students will also be expected to spend time preparing for and completing assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive feedback on their translations from module tutors and from their peers in weekly seminar discussions, and a formal monitoring assignment will be set for the translation assessment.
Student entries in the individual reflective journal will be monitored by module tutors throughout the year and students will receive feedback in the form of comments from module tutors, which will offer guidance for the completion of the assessed reflective narrative.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Reflective log1,500 words30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Exam will be a timed translation exercise (300-350 words in total), with dictionaries permitted.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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