Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module ARAB40415: BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL TRANSLATION (Arabic>English/English>Arabic)

Department: Modern Language and Cultures (Arabic)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.
Tied to T6L007


  • None.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • On completion of this module, students should be able confidently to translate specialised texts in the field of business and technology into English and Arabic to a professional level. The module aims to provide students with the necessary grounding and intensive practice in specialised English>Arabic and Arabic>English translation of technical and business-oriented texts of a wide variety.


  • The module involves the translation of a wide variety of texts, related to the following fields: business (e.g. contracts, memoranda, annual reports) and technical (e.g. manuals, consumer-oriented texts). Through contrastive linguistic analysis the module addresses a number of aspects of this type of discourse that are relevant to translators, with special attention being paid to terminological issues. Similarly, the module examines relevant syntactic structures, lexical patterns, text types and registers with a view to facilitating the production of fluent translations. The text types and issues examined form the basis for the translation assignments. Another component of the module is aimed at giving students a grounding in the research methods and IT tools necessary to undertake advanced specialised translation. Students are also introduced to a number of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools that may be of use in their translation activity.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire a knowledge of:
  • the main characteristics of specialised business and technical texts;
  • the processes underlying the translation of technical and business documents;
  • the lexicological and terminological issues attendant upon specialised translation;
  • the relevant ethical and liability-related aspects of translation in a business and professional context;
  • the various linguistic structures of English and Arabic business and technical discourse;
  • the various discourse types and registers found in business and technical documents;
  • standard reference tools, including electronic source materials, and their use in the translation of specialised business and technical texts;
  • the possibilities of computer-assisted translation tools in the translation of business and technical texts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire the ability:
  • to deal with various specialised registers in the field of business and technology;
  • to locate, access and exploit relevant lexicological and terminological sources;
  • effectively to source-language content-specific structures into the appropriate target-language register;
  • to translate of technical and business documents in a wide variety of domains;
  • to engage in the independent translation of a wide variety of business-related and technical texts;
  • to produce a clearly written and fluent translation of an Arabic or English source text in the appropriate register.
  • Students will enhance their ability of translation and writing skills in both Arabic and English..
Key Skills:
  • the effective use of lexicological and terminological resources;
  • the effective use of IT resources and facilities.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is taught in the form of seminars with comparison-based correction and commentary of the translations prepared by the students. This approach provides students with the largest possible degree and range of active engagement with both peers and lecturer. The translation seminars offer ample opportunity for a discussion of the principles underlying effective translation strategies, with immediate feedback on translation strategies and principles.
  • The module runs over two terms (Michaelmas and Epiphany). For the sake of consistency with the other specialised translation and interpreting modules , each term focuses on one translation direction, i.e. Arabic>English and English>Arabic.
  • The module is assessed by two translations of specialised texts related to business or technology, one Arabic>English, the other, English>Arabic, to be handed in by the beginning of the term following the one in which the relevant translation direction was dealt with. The student chooses which text s/he wishes to translate, subject to the approval of the course tutor. The translation text should be about 1,500 words in length. The translation must be accompanied by a detailed commentary (approximately 1,000 words) including a contrastive analysis of the main textual features of relevance to the translation, as well as strategic translation decisions taken by the translator.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 19 Weekly 1 hour 19
Preparation and Reading 131
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Translation of Business/Technical Document 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Arabic>English translation 1500 words 75%
Commentary 1000 words 25%
Component: Translation of Business/Technical Document 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
English>Arabic translation 1500 words 75%
Commentary 1000 words 25%

Formative Assessment:

Intermittent translation assignments (a minimum of two per term), in addition to the texts to be prepared for class commentary.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University