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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MODL5030M Literary Translation

15 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Jacob Blakesley

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Literary texts have been a starting point and a focus for many of the key narratives that continue to shape Translation Studies research.The module familiarises students with key theoretical approaches to literary translation through critical reading of relevant scholarship alongside the discussion of specific case studies. A triple focus on prose, poetry and drama gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in three main areas of literary translation.


The main objective of the module is to train students to think critically about literary translation as a site of intersecting linguistic and cultural tensions. The module aims:
- to develop students’ understanding of key theoretical approaches to literary translation;
- to familiarise students with the specificities of three types of literary translation through the discussion of case studies;
- to equip students to combine theoretical understanding with practical observation in their own critical work on translation.

Learning outcomes
- Understanding of key theoretical approaches to literary translation;
- Familiarity with and ability to explain specific case studies as examples of literary translation in practice;
- Ability to think critically about literary translation in the context of theoretical approaches and examples studied.


Weeks 1-4 focus on the introduction of key theorists and concepts in literary translation, centring the discussion on concepts such as equivalence, quality in translation, and the translator's (in)visibility; other key questions include the position of literature in cultural fields or systems, and the contextual relevance of forces such as tradition, identity and ideology.
Weeks 5 and 7 turn to prose translation as a first example of a specific genre of literary translation; this is followed in weeks 8-9 by poetry and in weeks 10-11 by drama translation. For each of these genre studies, students will first be introduced to characteristics of the genre and its particular challenges, before moving on to practice and to look critically at published translations as examples in practice.

Teaching methods

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

Private study

- Since the focus of the module is on the study of literary texts and their translations, students will be expected to spend the majority of their private study time for the module preparing for seminars by reading the set texts;
- Alongside the primary texts to be used as case studies, scholarly articles will regularly be set as preparatory or follow-up reading;
- Students will also occasionally be called upon to find and present their own examples of literary translation using a language pair with which they are familiar: this will require independent research and preparation for a discussion in the seminar.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students' understanding of the material covered and their ability to apply the concepts studied on the module will be assessed informally in seminars:
- structured discussions that follow up on key concepts from lectures and prescribed reading;
- students' contributions to class discussion of concepts and examples;
- each student's presentation of a chosen case-study to the rest of the seminar group.
In preparation for the assessed essay (see below), students will also be given the opportunity to submit and discuss a detailed plan with a course tutor.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Each student will submit an essay that compares 2-3 translations of a single literary source text (1 translation may be the student’s own). Translations do not contribute to the word-count for the essay but should be submitted alongside the essay for reference. Gloss translations into English of quotes from either the ST or chosen TTs (as relevant) will be required in the body of the essay, to make analysis accessible to markers.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/08/2022


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