Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Arabic)


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Arabic Language 2 (ARAB2002) or an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Arabic Language 4 (ARAB3012) .

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Persian I (ARAB2041). Students may take up to a total of two Translation/Interpreting modules in MLAC, Spanish Translation (SPAN3131), French Translation (FREN3051), Specialised Arabic-English Translation (ARAB3041), German Interpreting (GERM3041), French Interpreting (FREN3331) and Russian for Professional Communication (RUSS3381). Students may NOT take both French Interpreting (FREN3331) and German Interpreting (GERM3041).


  • To provide students with a comprehensive framework for understanding and evaluating aspects of Arabic–English translation, and to develop their own translation competence.


  • Translation seminars focus on the key aspects of Arabic translation and stylistics, allowing for discussion and exploration of the theoretical-methodological perspective as well as intensive practical work on chosen texts. Over the year, students work through a number of different texts for translation, with the classes providing translation practice over a wide range of genres (e.g. prose fiction, media texts, academic writing, technical writing) and subject areas (e.g. society, politics, economics, science, technology, the law, everyday life). Through abundant examples, the module focuses on the key aspects of Arabic>English translation and Arabic stylistics, such as:
  • cultural transposition and borrowing;
  • denotative and connotative meaning;
  • phonic and prosodic issues in translation;
  • morphological, lexical and semantic repetition;
  • coherence and cohesion;
  • fronting and emphasis;
  • metaphor;
  • language variation;
  • intertextuality.
  • The integrated and focused structure of the module provides students with a coherent and accessible structure within which to develop their translation competence.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire:
  • an in-depth knowledge of the processes involved in Arabic-English translation.
  • the lexicological and terminological issues attendant upon translation;
  • key translation procedures and devices within the framework of Arabic-English comparative stylistics.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To enable students to deal effectively with key aspects of Arabic>English translation, such as:
  • connotative and denotative meaning; collocation; sentential issues; intertextual elements; language variety; intercultural elements; phonic, graphic and prosodic issues.
  • effectively translating source-language content-specific structures into the appropriate target-language register.
  • locating and making appropriate use of reference material from key sources.
Key Skills:
  • development of general written communication skills.
  • the ability to discuss topical or general issues with a high degree of fluency.
  • an extended ability to gather, process and evaluate critically information and evidence from a variety of paper, audiovisual and electronic sources.
  • an extended ability to read complex and multivalent text with intellectual nuance, and a sensitivity to context and genre.

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 2-hour weekly seminars in terms 1 and 2.
  • Each 2-hour seminar focuses on a key aspect of Arabic translation and stylistics. Discussion and exploration of the theoretical-methodological perspective is followed by intensive practical work on the chosen text, which students prepare before class. Over the year, students work through a number of different text types and gain practical experience of the different translation issues that are the subject of reading and class discussion.
  • This approach provides students with the largest possible degree and range of active engagement with both peers and lecturer. The translation seminars offer ample opportunity for a discussion of the principles underlying effective translation strategies, with immediate feedback on translation strategies and principles.
  • The module is assessed by an extended translation (of a source text of approximately 2000 words) and commentary. The student chooses the text for translation, subject to approval; this allows students to focus on areas of translation which are of specific interest to them and in which they already possess, or wish to develop, specific expertise. The translation is accompanied by a critical apparatus and commentary outlining translation problems encountered and solutions adopted; this comprises up to 2000 words of footnoted decisions of detail, and a short introduction of up to 750 words.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 20 Weekly 2 hours 40
Preparation and reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Extended Translation Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Translation 2000-words 75% No
Introduction and Commentary 2750-words 25% No

Formative Assessment:

One translation assignment 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