Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.
Tied to R9K107


  • Successful cimpletion of MELA53830 Research Methods and Resources


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide the opportunity for students to take control of their own learning experience in a professional environment.
  • To provide the opportunity to plan and experience a bespoke programme of study which will meet specified objectives agreed with the module coordinator (e.g. one among the possibility to work as part of a professional team; engage with practical issues of administration and business planning; work as a support to an experienced team of translators; shadow translators; etc).
  • To provide the opportunity of learning through a work placement, either in the UK or abroad, in agreement with the University regulations, but acquiring skills from practitioners in a professional environment.


  • The students taking this module will have agreed and signed an agreement for a work placement with a provider by the last week of Epiphany Term. The student can take up a work placement among existing agreements between Durham University and employers, or a placement found by the student.
  • A work placement within the spin-out Durham Translators Limited will also be possible with a planned business tasks (e.g. expand customer base, promote services, revise and update invoicing and billing system; elements of bookkeeping, etc).
  • Students who agree their own work placements outside those provided will have to formulate clear learning outcomes they expect to attain from the experience and agree with the module coordinator the details of their work experience, prior to starting the work placements. The introductory classes will set out feasible goals and targets and agree deadlines for submission of the summatively assessed assignment described below.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire an understanding of the business processes in translation.
  • Students will develop an essential understanding of current practices in translation project management.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of:
  • legal aspects connected with running a business;
  • administrative duties within a translation service provider;
  • key business procedures (invoicing, purchasing, payments, etc).
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire a capacity:
  • to work under time constraints;
  • to communicate effectively when working in a team;
  • to work towards respecting a deadline;
  • to set up personal development plan to reflect on personal performance;
  • to set a task that can be completed;
  • to report in a professional style in writing;
  • to assess critically the learning progress in the experience;
  • to use of CAT tools or translation technologies in a professional setting;
  • to revise and use MT translation in a business.
Key Skills:
  • the development of organisational and time management skills;
  • the use of IT resources and facilities;
  • the ability to work in a team;
  • the ability to evaluate personal achievements in relation to self-imposed targets;
  • the ability to produce clearly structured and professionally presented written work.

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

  • The module consists of a minimum of 140 working hours of work placement (4 weeks full time or 8 weeks part-time).
  • At the beginning of the week after end of teaching week in Epiphany term, during a half day session, a 2-hour seminars will introduce specific issues of liability, insurance, business ethics; a second 2-hour seminar will allow students and tutor to plan the work placement , so as to establish and agree on learning outcomes and deadlines for the assignments for all the students taking the module.
  • Another 1-hour tutorial with individual students will be agreed by the tutor with the students and will take place either in the premises of the company offering the work placement, with the support and presence - where available - of the employer, or alternatively over the phone around half-way of the student's completion of the work placement.
  • These sessions will be concluded by a 2-hour report workshop at the end of the placement to be agreed between students and tutor to take place at a suitable time for all students and tutor so as to discuss the format of the final report on which the module is assessed.
  • The module will be assessed by means of a professional report setting out goals at the beginning of the work placement and a final report at the end of the placement.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 2 half-day sessions 2 hours 4
Report workshop 1 end of placement 2 hours 2
Tutorial with individual students 1 middle of placement 1 hour 1
Student preparation and reading time associated with contact hours and work experience 3
General Work Experience (depending on duration, minimum 3 weeks to maximum 6 weeks 140
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Business report Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 1000 words 100% No
Component: Reflective Report Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Analysis of work placement 2000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Seminars at the beginning, tutorial during the Work Placement and a closing seminars support the student learning prior to submission of the summative piece.

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