Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.
Tied to R9K107


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with the necessary grounding and training in understanding, recognizing, and using technologies and systems that may usefully support translators' activity;
  • To give students the experience and confidence to look for adequate translation tools available in the market in relation to their needs as free-lance or to their commissioner's needs;
  • To empower students to assess and revise independently and autonomously translations achieved through technological supports;
  • To give students a working knowledge of and sufficient practical skills in computerised document handling, the use of information networks and translation tools and technologies.


  • The module provides grounding in and understanding of practices of technologically aided translation. The module focuses on essential technologies that contemporary professional translators need to know and to use:
  • Translation memory software;
  • Machine Translation (MT);
  • Computer Assisted Translation (CAT), electronic dictionaries, language checking software;
  • Internet-based free- and restricted-access corpora;
  • Electronic document handling and management;
  • Translation management systems, networks, electronic databanks;
  • The integrated and focused plan of the course provides students with a coherent and accessible structure to discerning and reviewing technologies that are appropriate to their needs in relation to translation briefs. The module will also address the location and access of useful translation resources referring to technological aids to translation both printed and electronic.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of translation in the IT age;
  • Students will acquire a knowledge of computer assisted translation and memory tools;
  • Students will develop a theoretical understanding of the basic functions of existing systems.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to assess technological aids to translation;
  • Ability to locate, access, and exploit IT resources relevant to translation;
  • Ability to find and use lexicological and terminological internet-based resources;
  • Ability to evaluate, review and revise translations achieved through technological aids.
Key Skills:
  • the effective use of IT resources and facilities;
  • the ability to engage in independent assessment and evalutation of materials;
  • the ability to critically engage in the development of disciplinary boundaries and norms;
  • the ability necessary to undertake a higher research degree - with particular focus on the use of technologies for translation;
  • the ability to communicate results and findings both orally and in writing.

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

  • Teaching methods will include a combination of lectures, self-supervised laboratory work, and seminars based on problem-solving activities.
  • The module is taught in Michaelmas and Epiphany term.
  • Two lectures, one at the beginning of term in Michaelmas and one at the beginning of term in Epiphany, introduce the essential notions to deal with the technologies currently used to support translational activity. The lectures will introduce key innovations in translation technology, such as CAT, MT, translation memories, online thesaura, online dictionaries, and translators' forums. The module will be taught then with project-based learning activities developed with a tutor facilitator in seminars and supported by 2-hour weekly practical sessions in which the student use the technologies in the presence of the tutor.
  • Seminars will combine learning processes based on tasks and completion of an overall project-based formative assignment. Over the course of the seminars the students will deliver a presentation on technological tools that they have analysed and assessed in their independent work; during the presentation, the students review features, limitations, and applications of the online resources or technological tools that they have analysed. In each seminar, the students deal with a translation problem in a given context and they are asked: 1) to select appropriate technological tools that they may use in order to solve the problem, 2) to describe the rationale of their choice, and 3) to organize a contingency plan if the application is not available (thus simulating changes in business practices, downsizing or cost-cutting, or efficiency driven reassessments of translation project managements).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 2 1 x term 2 hours 2
Seminars 16 weekly 2 hours 32
Tutorials 16 weekly 2 hours 32
Student Preparation and Reading Time associated with Contact Hours 80
General Background Reading; Revision for Translation Preparation 154
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessing Internet-based resources Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 100% Yes
Component: Review of a technological aid Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Group feedback in seminar activities.

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