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 24
Tied to R9K107 Translation Studies


  • To ensure teaching quality and learning efficiency, students need to pass an interpreting test before selecting the module. Those wanting to take this module are highly encouraged to take Consecutive Interpreting in the first term, but the interpreting test will be open to all.


  • MELA41730 Specialised Translation Chinese<>English

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module aims to enhance students’ understanding of the interpreting theory and practice between Chinese and English.
  • The module takes a graduated approach, with increasing complexity and intensity in materials and training.
  • The module incorporates shadowing exercises, sight translation and oral summary into interpreter training.
  • The module will mainly consist of conference interpreting practice imitating real-life interpreting situations, with a view to improve students’ quick reflex and multitasking, analytical and restructuring abilities, public speaking and cultural mediation skills, as well as their abilities to work under stress, handle emergency situations and coordinate in teamwork.
  • 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 equipment and technologies as well as the difficulties and cognitive process involved in conference 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 processing information, multitasking, extracting key information and formulating 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.
  • This module will assume that students have the required linguistic skills and emphasize on the training of conference interpreting skills in particular.
  • Students will learn to detect different sentence structures and speech content based on their linguistic and genre knowledge and experience.
  • They will learn to make anticipation in conference interpreting and handle emergency situations such as challenging terminologies and missed information.
  • The broader context of the interpreting market and industry including requirements of professional interpreters in major organisations, acquiring and preparing for subject-specific interpreting jobs, teamwork and coordination as well as interpreting ethics and liability issues will also be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire:
  • practical experience of conference interpreting;
  • anticipation and multitasking skills;
  • a grasp of non-verbal skills such as tone variation, vocal projection, speaking pace and delivery deferring specific to conference 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 to extract information and process speech;
  • the ability for effective paraphrasing and reformulation;
  • the ability to deal with emergencies in conference 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, acceptable 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 Suite with 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 the Epiphany term (Term 2) and covers both directions: Chinese to English and English to Chinese.
  • The module is assessed through an end-of-term oral examination involving the interpretation in both directions: Chinese to English and English to Chinese.
  • The module is capped at 24.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 weekly 2 hours 18
Student Preparation and Background Reading 132
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