Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module MELA42730: Specialised Translation Dutch<>English

Department: Modern Language and Cultures

MELA42730: Specialised Translation Dutch<>English

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to R9K107


  • • None


  • MELA40430 Translation Theory.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • No more than two Specialised Translation modules can be taken.


  • The module aims to provide students with a solid grounding and training in translating from Dutch into English and from English into Dutch.
  • To allow students to translate in both directions so as to gain experience and confidence to translate independently between Dutch and English through practice.
  • To help students to acquire the relevant skills in relation to the linguistic characteristics and varieties of Dutch.


  • The module provides intensive practice in both directions of translation. Students receive a dossier of texts for translation, with the classes being designed to provide translation practice over a range of text-types and genres. The texts will be drawn from some of the following subject areas: technology, business, literature, science, social science and law. Through abundant examples, the module focuses on crucial aspects of translation and contrastive stylistics between Dutch and English such as:
  • morphological, lexical and semantic repetition;
  • cultural transposition and borrowing;
  • denotative and connotative meaning, including collocations, synonymy, homonymy, hyperonymy, meronymy and parallelism;
  • phonic and prosodic issues in translation, including alliteration and onomatopoeia;
  • coherence and cohesion, including devices such as reference, substitution and ellipsis;
  • fronting and emphasis;
  • figurative language, rhetorical devices, intertextuality, and cultural references;
  • language variation, including register, dialect, idiolect, sociolect and jargon;
  • basic concepts of text/discourse analysis; basic characteristics of textuality; the thematic, functional and argumentative structures of texts; characteristics of texts types and genres; analysis of translation situations, assignments and functions;
  • development of a personal translation technique.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of the processes involved in Dutch<>English translation.
  • Students will acquire a knowledge of:
  • the lexicological and terminological issues attendant upon translation into and from Dutch language;
  • key translation procedures and devices within the framework of comparative stylistics between Dutch and English;
  • standard reference tools, including electronic source materials, and their use in Dutch<>English translation;
  • the use of computer-assisted translation tools in Dutch<>English translation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire a capacity to understand texts in the source language and render them correctly in the target language, using the register and other language conventions that correspond to their intended purpose;
  • Students will acquire a thorough grounding in the skills required for translating between English and Dutch;
  • Students will acquire the ability:
  • to deal with the transference of connotative and denotative meaning in Dutch<>English translation;
  • to deal with collocative aspects of Dutch<>English translation;
  • to address sentential issues in translation, including fronting and backgrounding, theme/rheme, topic/comment;
  • to deal with intertextual elements in Dutch<>English translation;
  • to deal with language variety in Dutch<>English translation, including aspects related to register, sociolect, dialect, and regional varieties;
  • to deal with intercultural elements in Dutch<>English translation;
  • to deal with phonic, graphic and prosodic issues in Dutch<>English translation, including alliteration, rhyme and onomatopeia;
  • to use research tools and become familiar with research skills;
  • to locate, access and exploit relevant lexicological and terminological sources;
  • to translate Dutch content-specific structures into the appropriate target-language register and style;
  • to master computer-assisted translation and terminology tools.
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;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • the ability to produce clearly structured and presented written work.

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 that adopt Thinking Aloud Protocol (TAP) techniques, contrastive textual analysis, sight translation, and translation revision and editing. During the TAP session the source text is analysed in order to act as a pre-translation activity in view of the full appropriate rendering of texts. When revising prepared translations comparison-based corrections and commentary of the translations prepared by the students will guarantee group feedback and oral assessment of translation strategies. This approach provides students with the largest possible degree and range of active engagement with both peers and lecturer and assures the delivery of effective oral feedback. 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 Specialised Translation module is taught in Michaelmas and Epiphany terms. In Michaelmas the students work translating from Turkish into English. In Epiphany term the students translate in the opposite direction, with Turkish as target language. The course is taught for two hours per week over the two terms. The integrated and focused structure of Specialised Translation module provides students with a coherent and accessible structure within which to develop their translation competence.
  • The module is assessed by a portfolio of translations providing a sample of the variety of text-types with which the students have engaged during the module and a final timed translation of a 'general' text, following the conventions of professional standards for translators' accreditation. The timed translation assessment will be accredited as one component of the Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
  • After 7 weeks in Michaelmas term, students submit a 1,000 word translation with 1,000 words commentary from Turkish into English for feedback. At the beginning of Epiphany term students submit two translations (including the revised first text) from Turkish into English as part of the Translation Portfolio. After 8 weeks in Epiphany term, students complete a 1,000 word translation from English into Turkish for feedback. At the beginning of Easter Term, they submit 2 translations (including the revised text from English into Turkish) from English into Turkish.
  • In the final week of Easter Term students complete a timed translation into the direction of translation for which they seek accreditation as one component (General Text) of the DipTrans of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
  • The translation portfolio is designed to allow students to focus on a variety of texts that belong to different subject areas of translation as happens in free lance translation work.
  • The students choose the texts they wish to translate from the text-types studied in the module, and from a selected pool of texts previously approved by the course tutor.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 18 Weekly 2 hours 36
General background reading 150
Preparation and Reading 114
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Translation Commentary 1,000 words 100% Yes
Component: Dutch > English Translation Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
1st Text Dutch > English 1,000 words 50% Yes
2nd Text Dutch > English 1,000 words 50% Yes
Component: English > Dutch Translation Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
1st Text English > Turkish 1,000 words 50% Yes
2nd Text English > Turkish 1,000 words 50% Yes
Component: Timed Translation Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Translation into language of accreditation 600 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Seminar teaching allows tutors to provide oral feedback at every session. Oral feedback contributes to the development of the students' skill to comment on translation choices and to the students' improvement of translation skills.

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