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Online course materials for LALC20481

Translating New Writing

Unit code: LALC20481
Credit Rating: 20
Unit level: Level 2
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit?: Y



Additional Requirements

This course unit is open to second and final year students in German Studies. It is also available as a Free Choice subject to appropriate language skills and with the agreement of the course convenor.



To enhance and further develop students’ appreciation of literary language in German, to improve their translation skills, and deepen understanding and awareness of different approaches to translation.


This course focuses on literary translation from German into English. We will examine techniques of literary translation, discuss solutions to translation problems, and students will undertake practical exercises in translation of prose from their respective languages. As well as introducing students to some exciting new writers, the course will develop awareness of the less tangible, poetic aspects of literary meaning, and the problems they pose for the literary translator. For example we will deal with the tension between the ‘targeteers’ and the ‘sourcerers’ (Landers), between the urge for ‘faithfulness’ and Walter Benjamin’s heretical view of translation as ‘the transformation and renewal of a living thing’. Students will also become aware of traditions in literary translation specific to German culture.

Teaching and learning methods

Language of teaching and assessment: English

Lecture slides, primary readings, and some secondary materials. Translations will be made available via Blackboard at appropriate times during the course.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Sufficient understanding of core cultural and theoretical concepts to be able to recognise potential problems in translation and appreciate and think of creative solutions to these problems.
  • Enhanced knowledge of recent German literature.

Intellectual skills

  • ability to evaluate the work of their own and other translators on an informed basic#
  • ability to argue knowledgeably for or against specific translation choices.

Practical skills

  • increased sensitivity to language structure and to aspects of intercultural communication;
  • improved translation skills from their language of study into English

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • work independently and in a team;
  • think and argue critically and coherently;
  • present information in a convincing and accessible manner;
  • write clearly and effectively at a high level of intellectual competence in English.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skillstranslation skills
  • Oral communicationsensitivity to nuances of language use in English and German
  • Otherintercultural awareness

Assessment methods

  • Other - 50%
  • Written exam - 50%

Assessment Further Information

'Other' consists of:

Assignment 1: Wiki Translation (15%)

Assignment 2: Translation and Commentary (35%)




Assessment task


Weighting within unit

One group wiki translation and commentary (deadline: week 5; feedback week 7)

One translation and commentary exercise (deadline: week 9; feedback week 12)


One examination (January exam period)

1000 words (250-word translation plus 750 wds commentary)


2000 words (500-word translation + 1,500 word commentary)


1.5 hours









Recommended reading

Arrojo, Rosemary, ‘Fidelity and the Gendered Translation’, TTR: traduction, terminologie, redaction, 7.2 (1994), 147-63

Benjamin, Walter, ‘The Translator’s Task’, trans Steven Rendall, TTR: traduction, terminologie, redaction, 10.2 (1997), 151-65

Hervey, Sándor, Ian Higgins and Michael Loughridge, Thinking German Translation. A Course in Translation Method: German to English (London and New York: Routledge, 1995).

Sándor, Hervey, Thinking Italian Translation: A course in Translation Method: Italian to English, London: Routledge, 2000

Sándor, Hervey, Thinking French Translation: A course in Translation Method: French  to English, London: Routledge, 2004 (2nd ed.)

Landers, Clifford E., Literary Translation: A Practical Guide, (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001)

Lefevere, André, Translating Literature: Practice and Theory in a Comparative Literature Context (New York: the Modern Language Association of America, 1992)

Venuti, Lawrence, ‘Introduction’, The Translator, 4.2 (1998), 135-44

Venuti, Lawrence (ed), The Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge, 2012

Witte, Arnd, Theo Harden, Alessandra Ramos de Oliveira Harden, Translation in Second-Language Learning and Teaching, (Oxford: Lang, 2009)

Feedback methods

  • Oral and written feedback on wiki translation
  • Oral and written feedback on translation and commentary
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)
  • Oral/written feedback on examination on request

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 11 hours
  • Tutorials - 22 hours
  • Independent study hours - 165 hours

Teaching staff

Catherine Franc - Unit coordinator

Peter Cooke - Unit coordinator

Eva-Maria Broomer - Unit coordinator

Anna Strowe - Unit coordinator

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