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BA German and Spanish

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Translating New Writing

Unit code GERM20481
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by German Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course focuses on literary translation from German into English. We will examine techniques of literary translation, discuss solutions to translation problems, and students will undertake practical exercises in translation of prose from their respective languages. As well as introducing students to some exciting new writers, the course will develop awareness of the less tangible, poetic aspects of literary meaning, and the problems they pose for the literary translator. For example we will deal with the tension between the ‘targeteers’ and the ‘sourcerers’ (Landers), between the urge for ‘faithfulness’ and Walter Benjamin’s heretical view of translation as ‘the transformation and renewal of a living thing’. Students will also become aware of traditions in literary translation specific to German culture.


This course unit is open to second and final year students in German Studies. It is also available as a Free Choice subject to appropriate language skills and with the agreement of the course convenor.



  • To enhance and further develop students’ appreciation of literary language in German
  • To improve their translation skills
  • To deepen understanding and awareness of different approaches to translation.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Sufficient understanding of core cultural and theoretical concepts to be able to recognise potential problems in translation and appreciate and think of creative solutions to these problems.
  • Enhanced knowledge of recent German literature.

Intellectual skills

  • ability to evaluate the work of their own and other translators on an informed basis
  • ability to argue knowledgeably for or against specific translation choices.

Practical skills

  • increased sensitivity to language structure and to aspects of intercultural communication;
  • improved translation skills from German into English

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • time management
  • team work
  • presentational skills
  • analytical skills 

Employability skills

¿ translation skills ¿ analytical skills ¿ oral and written communication ¿ intercultural awareness

Assessment methods

Group Wiki Translation Formative
Commentary Formative
Translation and Commentary 50%
Exam 50%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on wiki translation


Written feedback on translation and commentary

Formative and summative

Oral/written feedback on exam on request



Recommended reading

  1. Arrojo, Rosemary, ‘Fidelity and the Gendered Translation’, TTR: traduction, terminologie, redaction, 7.2 (1994), 147-63
  2. Benjamin, Walter, ‘The Translator’s Task’, trans Steven Rendall, TTR: traduction, terminologie, redaction, 10.2 (1997), 151-65
  3. Hervey, Sándor, Ian Higgins and Michael Loughridge, Thinking German Translation. A Course in Translation Landers, Clifford E., Literary Translation: A Practical Guide, (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001)
  4. Lefevere, André, Translating Literature: Practice and Theory in a Comparative Literature Context (New York: the Modern Language Association of America, 1992)
  5. Venuti, Lawrence, ‘Introduction’, The Translator, 4.2 (1998), 135-44
  6. Venuti, Lawrence (ed), The Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge, 2012
  7. Witte, Arnd, Theo Harden, Alessandra Ramos de Oliveira Harden, Translation in Second-Language Learning and Teaching, (Oxford: Lang, 2009)


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Tutorials 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christina Littler Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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