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LN312 Translation and Translators in the Contemporary World

Module Code: LN312
Module Name: Translation and Translators in the Contemporary World
Module Coordinator: Dr Mila Milani
Term 2 Time: TBC
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

This cross-SMLC module introduces students to translation as a specific set of skills. It situates the practice of translation within the context of relevant theories developed in the field of Translation Studies, and raises awareness of the role of translation and translators in contemporary society. Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective and integrating a linguistic approach with sociological and cultural theories, the module presents case studies related to the students’ language specialisms, which challenge a purely textual approach to translation.
By looking at the role of translators, as well as publishers and editors, students are encouraged to approach translation as a multifaceted cultural process involving several diverse agents and perspectives in both source and target culture.
The module aims to allow students to reflect upon their own reading of translations and their own translation practices in relation to cultural and sociological issues.

Module Aims:

- to enable students to critically reflect on the multifaceted concept of translation from a cultural, sociological and historical perspective, by analysing case studies related to their language specialism;

- to encourage students to see the translation as a two-way process of cultural exchange, an understanding which can enrich their study of texts

- to allow students to strengthen their critical analysis of the relationship between text and culture by exploring translation not only from a linguistic perspective but also from a cultural perspective;

- to enrich students’ perception of translation as both cultural process and cultural product through assessed work, aimed at raising awareness of (a) the need for a translation to fit publishing agendas; (b) the cultural and publishing constraints at stake when translating a text from a source to target culture.

- to raise students’ awareness of the role of diverse agents, including translators, publishers and editors, in the process of translation, by means of assessed work, seminar discussions and group work.

- to enhance students’ analytical and communicative skills through seminar presentations, and their critical approach through the translation project.

Module Outline

Please note that this module outline may slightly change in Spring 2020. There are no obligatory or recommended readings prior to the start of the module in Spring 2020.

Week 1: Translation in theory and practice
The lecture and seminar will introduce the theory and practice of translation, in its multiple forms (ranging from literary translation to community interpreting).
Week 2: Translators as social agents
The lecture and seminar will invite students to reflect on the role of translators as cultural producers and agents, also from a historical perspective. This session will draw on the concept of narrative and look at the intersection between translation and sociological narratives (e.g. Baker) in the formation of identity and in the reception of authors and translators, as well as in contexts of trauma and conflict.
Week 3: Audio-visual Translation
The lecture and seminar will focus on how translation is used in the film industry throughout the world. The session will invite students to reflect upon the cultural, aesthetic, and operational aspects at play in the cultural transfer of subtitles and dubbing.
Week 4: Translation and advertising
The session will focus on how translation is used in old and new media, including the internet. It will also explore translation in commercial advertising. The session will invite students to reflect upon the cultural, sociological, and aesthetic aspects of language contact in globalised, translingual media.
Week 5: Translation and World Literature
This session will analyse the relationship between translation, national canons and world literature, examining the role of translation in the production, distribution and reception of cultural artefacts. The seminar will discuss in more detail translation in relation to world literature.
Week 6: Reading week
Week 7: Translation and Publishing
In this session, students will be introduced to the sociological theory of translation in relation to the publishing market. The lecture and seminars will prompt students to shift their focus from the concept of translation as a text to that of translation as a cultural product and process. The analysis of the publishing field at a national level will enhance a deeper understanding of cultural exchanges on a translational level.
Week 8: Translation Project
Workshop for the design and fine-tuning of translation projects with practical examples.
Week 9: Seminar Presentations
Week 10: Final session/Translation as a profession
This final session will look at the range of professional tools, options and resources available today to translators. Students will also receive feedback on their presentations

Assessment for the module

- Seminar presentation (10 minutes; 20%), normally during the Spring Term
- Translation project (3,500 words; 80%) in which students will reflect upon and critically evaluate translation strategies (by drawing on theories of translation, secondary reading, and by analysing, with either a cultural or linguistic approach, textual examples); further details will be provided in class and are available on the Moodle page of the module.
Normally, the 3,500 word translation project is submitted at the beginning of Term 3 - this translation project is also the topic of the seminar presentation normally held in Term 2. The translation project comprises the analysis (in English) of a published translation (from the target language to English), a retranslation of about 500 words (from the target language to English), and an analysis (in English) of this retranslation.

Dr Mila Milani

(module convenor)