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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Undergraduate Course: Thinking Translation: a Beginner's Guide (CLLC10003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThinking Translation: a Beginner's Guide will introduce students to the challenges brought about by translation through a consideration of various genres and themes. The course will present various theoretical approaches to the study of translation. As such the course is an introduction to the field of Translation Studies, which is currently solely taught at Edinburgh University at Postgraduate level.
Thinking Translation: a Beginner's Guide is an introduction to the activity of translation and the discipline of Translation Studies. It aims at giving the students an idea about what the translation profession involves, what role translations and translators may play in a society, and which areas Translation Studies as a discipline covers.
The course is open to year 4 Honours students in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures who are interested in translation (except DELC/IMES/Asian Studies joint degree students). No prior knowledge of Translation Studies is necessary but if you love doing translation and are keen on engaging seriously with its study, then Thinking Translation: a Beginner's Guide will give you the opportunity to learn to think and write about translation in more depth.
The course will survey a broad range of translation genres including children's literature, autobiographies and films. Sessions take the form of tutorials or workshops on specific genres or translation areas in order to sensitize students to the challenges of translating different type of texts.

Delivery will be in English.
Course description Week 1. Introduction to the course
The first class will be dedicated to presenting the course and starting to think critically about translation in terms of genres.

Week 2. Representations of translators and interpreters
The session will look into how translators and interpreters are represented, through the lens of movies. It aims at raising the students' attention to issues surrounding faithfulness, expectations in cross-linguistic encounters, responsibilities, control, and anxieties surrounding the duplicity of translators and interpreters. Several excerpts from relevant movies will be shown and discussed.

Week 3. Translating multilingual films
This session will explore the challenges brought about by multilingual films. Students will need to watch a film (Inglorious Basterds) and have thought about the following questions: what is the function of each language present in this film, if it was subtitled or dubbed in one language (i.e. your mother tongue or other working language) how would you cope with the presence of various languages.

Week 4.Translation and Music
This session will look into the ways in which translation and music intersect. The aim of the session is to present the students possible areas for translation practice and research in music. Particular attention will be given to interlingual cover songs, both in popular music and in cartoons. The session will conclude with some practice in translating lyrics.

Week 5. Translating romance
This session focuses on the themes and issues brought about when writing and translating romance texts and erotica. During the session we will discuss the situation of Romance and Erotica fiction (original writings and translation) in your SL and TL countries: who are the publishers (including the internet and fan fiction), how is this genre received (e.g. is it a well-known genre, well accepted? Frowned upon?), is there a 'famous' national production or is it all translated (or both), and any other aspects that you think are relevant when considering these genres in your SL and TL countries. The session will also include some creative writing and translation.

Week 5 submit mid-term discussion paper (1,000 words, 30%).
Tutorial Diary: how has your understanding of translation evolved since you started the course?

Week 6. Translating the Four-letter Word: 'F**k, is that possible?'
This session will explore the challenges of translating shifting language registers. It will focus specifically on texts that are inflected by swearing, slang or obscenity highlighting differences in regional/class registers and translating swearing from previous centuries. Students will evaluate the function of such language use in literature and compare them across the language pairs that they have. What are the challenges of translating such language use and are there any strategies that can be employed? They will also try their hand at translating short extracts of English literary texts from previous centuries that employed swearing into contemporary English and into their second language.

Week 7. Lives in Translation
This session will explore what it means to translate texts such as autobiographies, memoirs, testimonials and diaries that set out to record the lived experiences of the author. Students will be encouraged to think about questions of accuracy, representation and responsibility, especially in light of works that deal with events that are traumatic or far outside the translator's own realm of experience. The discussion will be based on examples of translators' paratexts that engage with these issues, and students will then be invited to consider the specific challenges they might face when translating a selected passage.

Week 8. Difficult translations
The session will focus on translating antagonistic texts. Students will be offered texts which might be challenging for them, not in terms of their linguistic difficulty or cultural otherness, but in terms of the ideologies inherent in the texts. This session will tie in discussions within translation studies surrounding ideology, gender, and ethics, among others.

Week 9. Feedback session on mid-term paper & Poster presentations ' In Search of Translation┐
The first part of the session will be looking at the feedback students received on their mid-term papers. In the second part, the students will be invited to bring examples from a variety of text types that may include translations, either overtly or covertly. These may range from newspaper articles to blogs. The presentations will focus on what gets translated, by whom, for which purposes, and how. The intended outcome is to open the students' perceptions to the prevalence of translations in daily life.

Week 10. Non-professionals translating and interpreting
This session will discuss the areas in which lay people use translation and interpreting within a wide range of areas and for various different purposes. It will examine in what ways non-professional translation/interpreting might be different, and what we can learn from it.

Week 11. Course review & Q&A
This session aims at bringing together the issues covered during the course in preparation to submitting your second essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This option is open to DELC/IMES/Asian Studies single honours students and to single honours English Literature students who have a knowledge of another language than English. These students should have the equivalent of at least 2 years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Student performance will be assessed by one 2,500-word essay (70%), a mid-term discussion paper (1,000 words, 30%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. to construct coherent arguments which demonstrate an awareness of the problems and translational issues posed by the texts/ issues studied
  2. to recognize and acknowledge the complexity of the subject
  3. to demonstrate a high level of expression in both written and oral presentations
  4. to demonstrate an awareness of the research agenda relating to the topic.
  5. to carry out personal research on the specific topics covered under the guidance of the tutor and offer evidence of research initiative; to demonstrate an awareness of the research potential relating to the topics covered in class (to provide examples in class, to write essays or do to presentations).
Reading List
Please see:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills A working knowledge of at least another language (apart from English)
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hephzibah Israel
Tel: (0131 6)50 4467
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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