Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module MELA45830: Specialised Translation Arabic<>English

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures

MELA45830: Specialised Translation Arabic<>English

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2018/19
Tied to T6L007


  • None.


  • MELA40430 Translation Theory

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • No more than two Specialised Translation modules can be taken.


  • The module is aimed at providing students with the necessary grounding and training in Arabic>English and English>Arabic translation. In particular, it aims to give students the experience and confidence to translate independently between Arabic and English and help them acquire the relevant skills.


  • The module provides intensive practice in both directions of translation. Students receive a dossier of texts for translation, with the classes being designed to provide translation practice over a range of text-types and genres. The texts will be drawn from some of the following subject areas: technology, business, literature, science, social science and law. Through abundant examples, the module focuses on crucial aspects of translation and contrastive stylistics between Arabic and English such as:
  • morphological, lexical and semantic repetition;
  • cultural transposition and borrowing;
  • denotative and connotative meaning, including collocations, synonymy, homonymy, hyperonymy, meronymy and parallelism;
  • phonic and prosodic issues in translation, including alliteration and onomatopoeia;
  • coherence and cohesion, including devices such as reference, substitution and ellipsis;
  • fronting and emphasis;
  • figurative language, rhetorical devices, intertextuality, and cultural references;
  • language variation, including register, dialect, idiolect, sociolect and jargon;
  • basic concepts of text/discourse analysis; basic characteristics of textuality; the thematic, functional and argumentative structures of texts; characteristics of texts types and genres; analysis of translation situations, assignments and functions;
  • development of a personal translation technique.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of the processes involved in English-Arabic-English translation.
  • Students will acquire a knowledge of:
  • the lexicological and terminological issues attendant upon translation;
  • key translation procedures and devices within the framework of Arabic-English comparative stylistics;
  • standard reference tools, including electronic source materials, and their use in Arabic/English translation;
  • the possibilities and use of computer-assisted translation tools in Arabic/English translation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire a thorough grounding in the skills required for translating between English and Arabic.
  • Students will acquire the ability:
  • to deal with the transference of connotative and denotative meaning in Arabic/English translation;
  • effectively to deal with collocative aspects of Arabic/English translation;
  • effectively to address sentential issues in translation, including fronting and backgrounding, theme/rheme, topic/comment;
  • effectively to deal with intertextual elements in Arabic/English translation;
  • effectively to deal with language variety in Arabic/English translation, including aspects related to register, sociolect and dialect;
  • effectively to deal with intercultural elements in Arabic/English translation;
  • effectively to deal with phonic, graphic and prosodic issues in Arabic/English translation, including alliteration, rhyme and onomatopeia;
  • effectively to deal with grammatical issues in Arabic/English translation, including morphological repetition, lexical repetition, phrase repetition, etc.;
  • to locate, access and exploit relevant lexicological and terminological sources;
  • effectively to translate source-language content-specific structures into the appropriate target-language register.
Key Skills:
  • the effective use of translation strategies;
  • the effective use of lexicological and terminological resources;
  • the effective use of IT resources and facilities;
  • the ability to engage in the independent translation of a wide variety of texts in both English and Arabic;
  • the ability to produce a clearly written and fluent translation of an Arabic or English source text in the appropriate register.

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

  • The module is assessed by a portfolio of translations, two 1,000 word texts in Terms 1 and 2 respectively and 1,000 word translation commentary, providing a sample of the variety of text-types with which the students have engaged during the module and a final timed translation of a 'general' text, following the conventions of professional standards for translators' accreditation. The timed translation assessment will be accredited as one component of the Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
  • The translation portfolio is designed to allow students to focus on a variety of texts that belong to different subject areas of translation as happens in freelance translation work.
  • The students choose the texts they wish to translate from the text-types studied in the module, and from a selected pool of texts previously approved by the course tutor.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 19 Weekly 2 hours 38
Tutorials 2 as required 1 hour 2
Preparation and Reading 260
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Translation Commentary 1000 words 100% Y
Component: Arabic>English Translation Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Text Arabic>English 1000 words 100% Y
Component: English>Arabic Translation Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Text English>Arabic 1000 words 100% Y
Component: Timed Translation Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Translation into language of accreditation 600 words 100% Y

Formative Assessment:

Intermittent translation assignments (a minimum of two per term), in addition to the texts to be prepared for class commentary.

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