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 understanding, recognizing, and using Computer-Aided Technologies and systems that may usefully support translators' activity in a professional setting;
  • To give students a grounding in the essential features of different tools currently available on the market for inhouse translators, localisers, and free-lance translators;
  • To provide students with 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 market-leading technologies, without transforming them in passive users of the current technologies but in flexible and selective users of appropriate CAT tools;
  • To provide the students with 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 (using CAT tools and Translation Memories).
  • The module focuses on essential technologies that contemporary professional translators need to know and to use in particularly:
  • Translation memory software;
  • Computer Assisted Translation (CAT);
  • Text aligning software;
  • Language checking software;
  • Electronic document handling and management;
  • Translation management systems;
  • 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 understanding of Translation Memories in the IT age;
  • Students will acquire a knowledge of computer assisted translation and memory tools;
  • Students will develop a theoretical understanding of the essential 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, use, and if possible adapt internet-based translation memories;
  • 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;
  • 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 include a combination of lectures, self-supervised laboratory work, and seminars based on problem-solving activities and a project-based approach to learning (the students are given a complex problem to solve as a project that consists of smaller component, tasks, resolved over the weekly seminars, tutorials, and independent work).
  • The module is taught in Epiphany term.
  • The lectures introduce key concepts concerning Computer Aided Translation tools and Translation Memories.
  • Seminars 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 1 per term 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: Reflective Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Review of a technological aid 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