Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to R9K107


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Extended Translation Project and two Translation Projects.


  • The dissertation, which is worth a third of the available credits, will be the last requirement for the student on the programme and will occupy the student for Easter term of the academic year and the following vacation.
  • The aims of the dissertation are:
  • To develop the students' ability to work autonomously, by making independent choices and by exercising critical judgement, when considering research issues within the boundaries of research into Translation Studies or assessing issues referring to research into translators' professional practice;
  • To study issues of translation theory, cultural translation, translation ethics, applied translation, and translation research methodology;
  • To master a complex and specialised area of knowledge relating to a topic within the field of translation theory, contrastive linguistics or stylistics, terminology, or lexicology (usually related to the foreign language or the foreign languages chosen in the course) the students will gain the ability to operate in complex and unpredictable contexts of research;
  • To foster independent research skills and to help students to deepen their knowledge and critical understanding of current issues in Translation Studies;
  • To demonstrate detailed knowledge of a specialist topic, debate, conceptual framework, translation modes, translation strategies, or research approaches within Translation Studies.


  • The topic of the dissertation is to be decided in consultation with the supervisor.
  • Student and dissertation supervisor agree on the topic according to the student's research interests and abilities and to the supervisor's expertise, with the approval of the programme directors.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the topic by applying current methodologies of research and by studying the most relevant literature as appropriate to the agreed topic;
  • Students will develop an understanding of existing methodological approaches and relevant literature on the subject.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the ability to accept personal responsability in dealing with delicate issues of translation research ethics;
  • the ability to evaluate ethical dilemmas arising in research;
  • the ability to deal with the chosen topic in a sophisticated way, by adopting an appropriate methodology and using relevant literature referring to translation theories, cultural studies, and linguistics;
  • the ability to adopt research methods independently, effectively, and critically;
  • the ability to plan a substantial research project in Translation Studies exploring a subject at the current limits of knowledge in the discipline.
Key Skills:
  • effective time management;
  • the ability to organize a project working independently and taking initiative;
  • the ability to engage in independent research and learning;
  • the ability to handle statistical and/or non-numerical data with reference to linguistic issues;
  • the ability to express research results in a clear academic-level writing.

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

  • The module is summatively assessed through a 15,000-word dissertation written in English. The word limit includes footnotes/endnotes, appendices, and all supplementary material, but excludes the bibliography.
  • Every student is assigned a supervisor, who will provide individualised feedback on the work submitted by the student.
  • The student will submit a plan and drafts of chapters in advance of supervisions and the supervisor will provide written and oral feedback on written work. Supervisor and student will agree action points for the next step of research.
  • Supervisory meetings will involve detailed discussions between the supervisor and the student on methodologies in Translation Studies and critical research skills.
  • The supervisor will provide guidance regarding resources and methodologies that may be employed and regarding the way in which the topic and its supportive arguments are being developed, organized, and presented by the student.
  • The supervisor and student meet according to a pattern agreed between them with a minimum of five one-hour face-to-face sessions.
  • The dissertation is to be submitted by the end of September of the final year of study.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 5 as agreed 1 hour 5
Student Preparation and Reading Time associated with Contact Hours 395
General Revision for final submission 200
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 15,000 100%

Formative Assessment:

In order to monitor progression, supervisory tutorials will provide students with feedback on the Dissertation plan. Student will also receive feedback on one main component of the Dissertation in draft format.

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