Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to R9K107


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


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


  • The module provides grounding in online resources (multilingual databases, freeshare software, and additional resources) and online IT that support translation.
  • The module focuses on essential technologies that contemporary professional translators need to know and to use:
  • Machine Translation (MT);
  • electronic dictionaries and multiterm databases;
  • 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 online technologies that are appropriate to their needs in relation to translation briefs. The module 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 online tools for translation;
  • Students will acquire an understanding and knowledge of freeware machine translation systems;
  • Students will develop a theoretical understanding of the functions of online resources in supporting translational activity.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to locate reliable online resources to professional translation;
  • Ability to access effectiveness and realiability of IT resources so as to exploit those relevant to translation of professional quality;
  • Ability to find and use lexicological and terminological internet-based resources.
Key Skills:
  • the effective use of IT resources and facilities;
  • the ability to engage in independent assessment and evalutation of online materials;
  • the ability to critically engage in the development of disciplinary boundaries and norms (with reference to application of innovative translation technologies);
  • the ability necessary to carry out independent research;
  • 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, tutorial work, and seminars based on problem-solving activities.
  • The module is taught in Michaelmas term.
  • Lectures will introduce key innovations in technology for translators, such as MT, online thesaura, online dictionaries, and translators' fora.
  • Seminars will combine two learning processes: in the first hour, the students will deliver a presentation on technological tools that they have analysed and assessed in their laboratory work; during the presentation, the students review features, limitations, and applications of the technological tool that they have analysed. In the second hour of 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.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 weekly 2 hours 2
Seminars 8 weekly 2 hours 16
Tutorial work 9 weekly 1 hour 18
Student preparation and reading time associated with contact hours 40
General Background Reading, revision for Translation Preparation 74
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessing Internet-based resources Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 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