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EN9A5 - The Practice of Literary Translation

  • Module code: EN9A5
  • Module name: The Practice of Literary Translation
  • Department: English and Comparative Literary Studies
  • Credit: 20, 30, 36, 45

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

This module draws on the ideas and practices of the eminent scholar and translator Michael Henry Heim, who led a writing workshop on literary translation at UCLA for more than thirty years. The emphasis will be on literary translation as literary writing. Students are invited to translate into English texts from whatever language – ancient or modern – they choose. It is the translated text that is examined in workshops. Students mark whatever words, sentences, or phrases they find puzzling, and together they seek reasons, alternatives, and (ultimately) general principles. Over time, students come to understand the particular challenges and pitfalls of the languages from which they are translating, as well as coming to appreciate that each language has its own ‘genius’. They also come to appreciate the complex processes by which translators can deploy literary techniques, not just to do justice to the works they are translating, but also to challenge and ultimately enrich their own use of the English language. Students will be asked to attempt translations across a range of modes and forms. Readings from translated literature and Translation Studies will allow students to reflect on their practice. Literary translators will be invited to speak about their practice and about the books they have brought into English.

Principal learning outcomes

The development of practical literary translation skills, including editorial skills; the ability to establish a conceptual and practical framework for the production of literary translations; an appreciation of the position occupied by translation in the literary system and marketplace.

Timetabled teaching activities

3 hour weekly workshop

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
20 CATS (Module code: EN9A5-20)
A (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 100%
30 CATS (Module code: EN9A5-30)
A (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 100%
36 CATS (Module code: EN9A5-36)
A (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 100%
45 CATS (Module code: EN9A5-45)
A (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core