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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Writing in/as Translation (ENLI11278)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFor many Western readers, a translation is something distinctly 'less' than a truly 'original' work of writing ; a derivation or pale imitation, full of holes through which so much is invariably 'lost'. In this course, students will be invited to challenge preconceived notions of authorship, originality, translation, and faithfulness both through a close study of non-Western and contemporary translation theories and works in translation, and through the composition of their own original translation into English of an existing text (that was written either in English or another language). This course takes a two-part structure, with the first five seminars examining a wide variety of 'experimental' works in translation and introducing the current political, cultural, ethical, and methodological debates around translation theory. The latter five seminars involve the collaborative workshopping of students' translations, honing and revising what it means to produce a successful and original work in translation. Students need not be fluent in a language other than English, and they do not need to have any prior translation experience.
Course description In Europe and the Americas, at least since the eighteenth century, the value of a literary work has often been tied to its perceived 'originality'. As a result, works translated from another language, culture, or time are often dismissed for their perceived lack of originality and their translators regarded as, at best, purely functional or, at worst, parasitic. This dynamic has only been exacerbated in recent years, where the advent of Google Translate and other translation software has encouraged many to see a human translator's work as purely mechanical, all but obsolete. Translation software has also, however, shed new light on just how limited a so-called 'word-for-word' translation is, especially when it comes to works of literature. Meanwhile, the proliferation of experimental writing in various forms of translation underscores the immense creative potential of translation to challenge received notions of originality and authorship, faithfulness and freedom, revealing that not only what may be lost in translation, but what may be gained.

In this two-part class, co-taught by Lecturer in Creative Writing Patrick Errington and Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies Sebnem Susam-Saraeva, students will be asked to analyse works of poetry and prose that challenge the Western division between original creative writing and translation, as well as to works of translation theory that address the complex political, cultural, and ethical, and methodological issues these texts raise. Subjects addressed in these participatory, discussion-based seminars will include non-Western perspectives on translation and authorship, self-translation, retranslation, intra-lingual (English-to-English) translation, intersemiotic translation, experimental translation, and AI/machine-assisted translation, as well as current debates around translation and ownership, appropriation, gender, race, culture, politics, and economics (among others).

With these example texts and theoretical toolkit, students will put their knowledge into practice in the second part of the semester by composing their own work of creative translation into English of an existing work of poetry or prose of their choosing (that was written either in English or in another language). Students' pieces-in-progress will be read, thoroughly annotated, and discussed in depth over the latter five classes in a series of collaborative workshops aimed at helping student author/translators to produce highly polished, original literature in translation and to frame that work within current theoretical and methodological debates. The final assessment will include this workshopped piece in translation as well as a critical discussion of its theoretical framework.

By the end of the course, students will have in-depth and hands-on practical knowledge of the debates and theories around contemporary 'experimental' translation, as well as a broad skillset for theorising, analysing, constructively critiquing, and creating literary works in translation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Display competence in both the analysis and the creative production of literary texts, including evaluating and enacting strategies specific to the translation of literary texts
  2. Demonstrate both in writing and in oral presentation a critical understanding of the link between creative writing and translation studies
  3. Theorise, conceptualise, and produce an innovative piece of literary translation accompanied by a critical commentary
  4. Analyse creative works within their chosen field work with a focus on craft effectiveness and articulate strengths and weaknesses in a piece of writing in a constructive manner
  5. Transfer editorial skills and creative abilities from one context to another
Reading List


Alighieri, Dante. Inferno. Translated by Mary Jo Bang. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2013. [selections]

Campbell, Madeleine, and Ricarda Vidal (eds.). Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders. London: Palgrave, 2019. [selections]

Capildeo, Anthony Ezekiel (Vahni). Utter. London: Peepal Tree, 2013.

Collins, Sophie (ed.). Currently & Emotion: Translations. London: Prototype, 2016. [selections]

Collins, Sophie. Intimacy: An Alternative Model for Literary Translation,'English: Journal of the English Association 69, no. 267 (2020): 331'345,'

Chakravarty, Radha. 'Textual Encounters: Tagore's Translations of Medieval Poetry.''Translation Studies, 14, no. 2 (2021): 167'84,

Hawkey, Christian. Ventrakl. New York: Ugly Duckling Press, 2013. [selections]

Kennard, Luke. Notes on the Sonnets. London: Penned in the Margins, 2021. [selections]

Moger, Robert, and Yasmine Seale. Agitated Air: Poems After Ibn Arabi. London: Tenement Press, 2022. [selections]

Paker, Saliha. 'On the Poetic Practices of 'a Singularly Uninventive People' and the Anxiety of Imitation: A Critical Re-Appraisal in Terms of Translation, Creative Mediation and 'originality.'''Benjamins Translation Library 118 (2015): 27'52,

Sandeep Parmar, 'Editorial','The Wolf'(n.d.) «»'

Sherry Simon,'Gender in Translation: Cultural Identity and the Politics of Transmission. London; New York: Routledge, 1996. [selections]

Spicer, Jack. After Lorca. New York: New York Review Books, 2021 (1957). [selections]

Spivak, Gayatri. 'On the Politics of Translation.' In TRANSLATION STUDIES READER, edited by Lawrence Venuti, 312-330. London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2012. [excerpts]

Venuti, Lawrence (ed.). The Translation Studies Reader, 4th Edition. London: Routledge, 2021. [selections]


Albachten, Özlem Berk,'and''ehnaz Tahir Gürça'lar (eds.). The Translator 26, no. 1 Retranslation, Multidisciplinarity and Multimodality (2020).

Batchelor, Kathryn.''Translation as commentary: paratext, hypertext and metatext' In'Baker, Mona, ed.'Unsettling Translation: studies in honour of Theo Hermans, 48'61.'London:'Routledge, 2022.

Castro, Olga, Sergi Mainer, and Svetlana Page. Self-Translation and Power Negotiating Identities in European Multilingual Contexts. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Corbett, John,'and'Ting Huang.'The Translation and Transmission of Concrete Poetry. London:'Routledge, 2020.

Dagnino, Arianna.''Breaking the Linguistic Minority Complex through Creative Writing and Self-Translation.''Traduction Terminologie Rédaction (TTR)'32, no. 2 (2019): 107'129.

Deane-Cox, Sharon.'Retranslation: Translation, Literature and Reinterpretation.'London: Bloomsbury, 2014.

Littau, Karin. 'Refractions of the Feminine: The Monstrous Transformations of Lulu.''MLN 110, no. 4 (1995) 888'912.

Long, Yangyang.''Transpacific theatre: Lin Yutang's self-translation as a creative act.''Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies'6, no. 3 (2019): 216'233.'

Susam-Saraeva, 'ebnem. Performance and socio-cultural context in interlingual cover songs: Translation as inspiration. In Johan Franzon, Annjo K. Greenall, Sigmund Kvam and Anastasia Parianou eds. Song Translation: Lyrics in Contexts. Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2021. 177-197.

'Interlingual cover versions: How popular songs travel round the world. The Translator 25, no.1 (2019): 42-59.

Venuti, Lawrence. The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation (revised). London: Routledge, 2008.

'.Translation changes everything: Theory and practice. London: Routledge, 2013.

'. Contra Instrumentalism: A Translation Polemic. Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, 2019.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Creative thinking, critical thinking, cross-disciplinary communication, artistic practice, verbal communication, presentation skills, self-reflexivity in translation
KeywordsCreative writing,translation
Course organiserDr Patrick Errington
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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