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 Module Cap
Tied to R9K107 Translation Studies


  • To ensure teaching quality and learning efficiency, students need to pass an interpreting test before selecting the module.


  • MELA41730 Specialised Translation Chinese<>English

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module aims to provide students with a sound knowledge of the theory and practice of interpreting between Chinese and English.
  • The module takes a graduated approach, with increasing complexity and intensity in materials and training.
  • It covers note-taking skills, shadowing exercises, sight translation, oral summary and simulation of real-life liaison and public service interpreting situations, with a view to improve students’ analytical and restructuring abilities, as well as public speaking and cultural mediation skills.
  • Finally, the module aims to prepare students for a practical interpreting career in a wide range of subject areas.


  • After a general introduction to the usage of interpreting equipments and technologies as well as basic note-taking and delivery skills in consecutive interpreting, the module mainly focuses on first-hand interpreting practice and evaluation in small-group seminars.
  • Classes will follow a graduated approach with an increasing complexity of materials and intensity of training, incorporating exercises like shadowing, sight translation and oral summary of listening materials. Such exercise will greatly improve students’ abilities in sentence segmenting, logical understanding, processing key information and reorganising speeches.
  • This will be accompanied by interpreting practice involving a wide variety of subject materials, with opportunities for each individual student to receive feedback on their performance on a weekly basis.
  • Students’ linguistic skills like extracting and digesting information as well as phrasing and delivering speech will be significantly improved, while techniques in dealing with particular issues like terminologies, numbers, cultural-specific concepts will also be addressed in class.
  • The broader context of the interpreting market and industry including requirements of professional interpreters in the public sector, acquiring and preparing for subject-specific interpreting jobs, interpreting ethics and liability issues will be discussed as well.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire:
  • practical experience of consecutive interpreting;
  • note-taking skills and principles;
  • a grasp of the listening, rephrasing and delivery skills specific to consecutive interpreting;
  • a knowledge of standard reference tools, including electronic source materials, and their use in preparing for interpreting jobs and building subject-specific glossaries;
  • an understanding of the interpreting practice in the real world.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire:
  • a sound grounding in a number of basic skills required for the interpreting of English into Chinese, and vice versa.
  • the ability for effective note-taking;
  • the ability for effective paraphrasing and reformulation;
  • the ability to deal with various registers in interpreting;
  • the ability to locate, access and exploit relevant lexicological and terminological sources;
  • the ability to effectively interpret source-language content-specific structures into the appropriate target-language register;
  • the ability to translate speeches covering various domains into English and Chinese;
  • the ability to produce a clear, accurate, grammatically correct, faithful and concise translation of an oral presentation in Chinese or English;
  • Students will enhance their linguistic, translation and oral presentation skills in both English and Chinese.
Key Skills:
  • effective use of resources;
  • effective use of facilities and equipment.

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 mainly in the Interpreting Suitewith exercises related to interpreting in English>Chinese and Chinese>English. The approach is organized and intensive practice with individual evaluation and immediate feedback. This also allows specific issues concerning various subject areas and text types to be addressed and discussed in class with real-life examples. • The module runs over Michaelmas term (Term 1) and covers both directions: Chinese to English and English to Chinese. • The module is assessed through an end-of-term oral examination involving the consecutive interpretation of two ten-minute speeches in both directions: Chinese to English and English to Chinese. • The |module is capped at 24 places.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 weekly 2 hours 20
Student Preparation and Background Reading 130
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Oral Examinations Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Chinese>English Interpreting 10 minutes 50% Yes
English>Chinese Interpreting 10 minutes 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Individual feedback on all the classroom exercises.

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