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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MODL5005M Computers and the Translator

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Serge Sharoff

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is mutually exclusive with

MODL5000MComputer-Assisted Translation
MODL5003MPrinciple & App Machine Trans

Module replaces


This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

It's almost unthinkable nowadays for translators to earn a living without making routine use of specialized software applications. Computer Assisted Translation software is primarily designed to enable translators, working individually or in teams, to re-use the results of previous translation jobs in the interests of both efficiency and consistency. It is not surprising that the use of such software is required by most translation agencies and many direct clients, especially in handling jobs involving large volumes of text and multiple languages. The same software can be used to store, organize and share terminology, and to perform a number of quality assurance checks. Larger companies are integrating fully automatic translation by computer ('machine translation') into their workflow, with subsequent revision of the output by human translators. This module will give you a taste of working with these technologies and an understanding of their strengths and limitations.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- describe the different types of computer tools available to support translation;
- make practical use of the basic functionalities of tools for terminology management, translation memories and machine translation;
- judge whether a particular technology is appropriate for a given task;
- assess the current limitations of the tools;
- combine the use of the translation tools with other computer tools and resources to process language data;
- orient yourslf in the core literature - including Internet resources - in the field.

Skills outcomes
Computer skills
Use of CAT tools


This module aims to give you a general, critical introduction to a range of computer tools widely-used by professional translators. Lectures introduce the conceptual basis for the construction and evaluation of such tools. In practical classes, you have the opportunity to use them first-hand, with advice and support from the course team. The module covers three cutting-edge technologies for terminology management, translation management and memory translation. For each of these we ask the questions:

What is the nature of the translator's task they are intended to support?
What are the linguistic and technical challenges in creating computer-based support for the task?
How do we measure the effectiveness of these tools and how effective are they?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours130.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

50 hours - preparation for practical classes
30 hours - reading (3 hours per lecture)
50 hours - background reading / preparation for assessment

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring of weekly practical classes

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Case StudyCase study using one or more of the tools, with a critical commentary on the approach and data - 1500 words plus data100.00
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: 09/08/2017


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