Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures


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


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce historical-regional trajectories of translation evolution and the basic principles of historiographic translation research.


  • In the spirit of postcolonialism and internationalization of the present-day Translation Studies, the module explores a variety of developments in translation praxis and translation theory across time and space. Questions of the historiographic translation/interpreting-focused research will be addressed.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have a better understanding of the evolution of translational practices and ways of theorising translation.
  • They will be introduced to the methodology of historiographic research.
  • They will observe the dynamics of approaches to translation practice and ideas about translation practice throughout history.
  • They will grasp the importance of cultural elements in the diachronic analysis of translation practices and ideas about translation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to analyse historical processes of translation and interpreting;
  • Ability to discuss the evolution of theorising translation/interpreting;
  • Ability to conduct a translation/interpreting-related historiographic research.
  • Ability to analyse critically the approaches to translation in their historical and cultural context.
  • Students will increase their understanding of the translation process over space and time.
  • They will learn to examine critically and analyse translation practices and ideas;
  • Students will acquire the ability to isolate and identify the various factors involved in the translation process.
  • Students will learn to examine translated texts in connection with their background and producers and to isolate the various elements that came into play in the production of the text.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to select sources in order to carry out a successful scholarly project;
  • Ability to work with historical data;
  • Ability to assess the relevance of the existing (historiographic) literature for students’ own projects;
  • Ability to evaluate and use methodological approaches for the study of translation (history).
  • Ability to effectively use primary and secondary sources;
  • Ability to apply effectively historiographic methodologies to the analysis of translation practices;
  • Ability to increase synthetic and analytical skills in respect of the analysis of translation activity.

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

  • The module is taught through introductory lectures and seminars, during which various epochs and regions of translation practice and thought are discussed. The illustrative material will consist of a wide variety of historical documents reflecting the evolution of translation and interpreting and ideas about what translation and interpreting are and how they should be practiced. The mode of instruction is interactive and based on critical analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • In the course of the seminars, students will be able to deepen their knowledge of translation practices and thought in different translation periods discussed in the course of the lectures. They will also learn basic methodological principles of writing about translation history.
  • The module is assessed by means of one essay of 3,000 words on a topic related to the history or historiography of translation. The essay should be submitted by the start of Epiphany Term.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 weekly 1 hour 9
Seminars 9 weekly 1 hour 9
Student Preparation and Background Reading 62
General Background Reading: Revision for Case Analysis 70
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

The formative assessment consists of the feedback from the lecturer students’ seminar presentations and participation in classroom discussions.

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