Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap
Tied to R9K107


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce the rationale for editing, post-editing, revision, copy-editing, content-editing and proofreading, all of which may be used to enhance the quality of translated documents either during the translation process or afterwards, in the review process.
  • To provide students with a grounding and training in the use of systematic approaches for assessing the quality of texts of any length, both long and short, of any genre when they are working as translators.
  • To equip students with the skills to apply appropriate editing and/or revision techniques, including the techniques of copy-editing, content editing, post-editing, proof-reading and revision.
  • To help students understand the challenge of communicating appropriately and some of the ways in which this can be achieved successfully.
  • To enable students to bring texts translated by one or many translators, or those translated by machine translation software, up to a high professional standard, appropriate to publishing in any format (book, magazine, online, etc.) through the use of systematic working methods.


  • This module runs only in English. It is highly recommended that both native and non-native speakers of English consider this module if they intend to work as a translator, since translation should involve editing and revision, i.e. most editorial and revision tasks relate directly to translation processes and decision-making.
  • The module provides students with a grounding and training in the use of systematic approaches for assessing the quality of texts (of any length, both long and short) and follow-up with appropriate editing and/or revision. There is also a focus on the importance of communicating actual or proposed amendments or approaches effectively.
  • Regarding editing and revision, the focus is both on macro-textual features such as style, cohesion, and coherence of the text, and micro-textual features such punctuation, spelling, layout, and formatting.
  • Students will gain experience of proofreading, editing and revision practices, using widely used approaches, e.g. Track Changes for computer-generated texts, or hand-corrections using proofreading symbols.
  • The skills of revising and proof-reading (which consist of identifying, marking up, justifying and prioritising errors to address) are discussed and practised, with reference to authentic and specially written texts or exercises.
  • While lectures and exercises will focus on texts written in English, the techniques and approaches covered on the module will be easily applied to other languages.
  • Texts considered may be intended for either a general or specialised readership; they may be translated or awaiting translation and approaches may be relevant when texts are translated by one or many translators, in various contexts, with or without the aid of machine translation software.
  • Overall, the aim of the module is to help students enhance the quality of translated documents either during the translation process or afterwards, in the review process, working as translators, copyeditors, editors, post-editors, proofreaders or revisers in various professional publishing contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students should:
  • understand the processes involved in producing coherence in a document produced in the students’ L1 (mother tongue) (with texts in English demonstrating principles);
  • be familiar with the processes involved in respecting strict formatting and layout guidelines;
  • be able to use appropriate methods and processes for editing, revising and proof-reading documents before, during or after the translation process;
  • be capable of justifying decisions with reference to theories of translation (e.g. relating to domestication or foreignisation policies) and general editorial practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should be able to:
  • find out or deduce the anticipated readership for a specific source text;
  • find out or deduce the anticipated readership for the corresponding target text;
  • identify issues in communication and coherence;
  • identify a weak argument or inconsistency in a text;
  • analyse the function of headings and subheadings;
  • identify errors (of language or consistency, applying a style guide);
  • develop or extend a style guide for a specific document;
  • mark up errors appropriately and clearly;
  • improve the readability of texts using headings and improved layout;
  • improve the readability of texts by smoothing wording;
  • ensure that the meaning of a translated text is fully conveyed;
  • communicate edits effectively to source text authors and/or to agencies
  • deal with interferences in texts combined from multiple authors of different linguistic backgrounds;
  • carry out post-editing for computer-generated texts;
  • introduce appropriate genre features into a target text, so as to ensure better readability. .
Key Skills:
  • the use of advanced features of word processing software;
  • the ability to assess quality in written language;
  • the ability to research characteristics of specific text types;
  • the ability to research translation options;
  • the ability to evaluate achievements;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • the ability to communicate well;
  • the ability to present written work to a publishable standard.

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 lectures.
  • The students will be introduced to definitions of editing (focusing particularly on the differences between copy-editing, content-editing and proofreading) and revision, and to some key macro-issues (relating to genre features and translation challenges). There will also be a focus on micro-issues in editing and revising translated documents and on domestication vs. foreignisation.
  • The course will be taught for two hours per week over one term.
  • The focus is on identifying aspects of texts which need to be dealt with creatively during the translation process and on finding solutions which are justifiable in terms of the brief and the relevant academic literature.
  • The module is assessed by means of a 3,000-word analysis of editorial and revision challenges which a particular source text would present to a translator (translating into the students’ L1).
  • For this assessed assignment, students will need to choose a text with an appropriate level of challenge, given the genre and linguistic issues presented by the source / target languages.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 weekly 2 hours 18
Student Preparation and Background Reading 82
General background Reading: Revision for Case Analysis 50
Total 150

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

This will take the form of ongoing feedback on tasks completed in-class or for homework, in-class presentations and student-led group discussions, and an optional 500-word analysis of editorial challenges presented by a text selected from one of many provided by the tutor.

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