Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2018/19
Tied to


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce sociologically informed theoretical approaches in translation studies.


  • The module focuses on Bourdieu’s theory of fields, Luhmann’s social systems theory, Callon & Latour’s actor-network theory, Habermas’ theory of communicative action and several others in application to translation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have an in-depth knowledge of sociologically informed theories of translation.
  • Students will familiarise themselves with contemporary sociologically informed theories of translation in Translation Studies.
  • Students will learn to discuss translation as a practice from the sociological point of view.
  • Students will learn key sociological concepts applicable to the study of translation.
  • Students will appreciate the evolution of ideas and theories of translation in Translation Studies from linguistic approaches through the cultural turn to the sociological turn.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire the ability to:
  • analyse critically sociologically based approaches to translation;
  • understand and explain the functioning of translation in society;
  • use sociological theories in their own research of translation;
  • understand and explain translation as a socially contextualised activity;
  • see translation in all its complexity and consider various factors contributing to the production of translation;
  • appreciate the applicability of sociological theories to translation studies;
  • learn to conduct research with the spirit of interdisciplinarity.
Key Skills:
  • Students will enhance their skills in:
  • engaging in the sophisticated academic discourse;
  • presenting and substantiating their ideas in a logical and structured fashion;
  • learning from adjacent disciplines in the humanities and thereby broadening their horizons;
  • adapting to real social conditions of working as translators/interpreters.

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 sociologically informed translation theories are discussed and illustrated by means of examples taken from a wide variety of sources.
  • The mode of instruction is interactive and based on a critical analysis of the key features of sociological translation theories as well as their application to translation practice.
  • The module is assessed by means of one essay of 3,000 words on a topic related to the sociologically-informed translation theory and/or studies. The essay should be submitted by the start of Easter 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 on 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