BA Film Studies and Russian / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Russian Translation: Theory and practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code RUSS30442
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit provides an introduction to the theory and practice of Russian-to-English translation. It introduces key theoretical approaches to interlinguistic translation, with a particular focus on contemporary theories; it identifies key linguistic and cultural issues that are particularly relevant for translation from Russian into English; and it helps students to practice and develop both their own translation skills and their skills at critical analysis and assessment of approaches to translation, multiple translations of individual texts, and specific translation choices. Weekly lectures cover issues of theory and genre; seminars provide the opportunity to discuss these issues in detail and to compare different translations of individual works; and translation practicums provide the opportunity to discuss weekly translation portfolio assignments and engage in further translation work (e.g., of unseen text excerpts similar to the translation portfolio assignments).


Advanced knowledge of Russian is required.

Successful completion of residence abroad in Russia or permission of course leader

Co-requisite units: RUSS51050: Advanced Russian Language Skills or permission of course leader


• To introduce key theories of and approaches to interlinguistic translation and discuss the impact that these theories and approaches have on translating and on translations

• To introduce and discuss key linguistic and cultural issues that impact on translation from Russian into English

• To analyse and critically assess multiple different translations of particular works

• To help students develop high-level skills in translating texts from four specific genres (journalism, commercial/advertising texts, scholarly texts, literary texts) from Russian into English


Week 1: Course introduction and preliminaries to translation

Week 2: Cultural issues in Russian-to-English translation

Week 3: Genres and Text Types

Week 4: Discourse and Register

Week 5: Translating Russian journalistic texts

Week 6: Translating Russian commercial and advertising texts

Week 7: Translating Russian legal and official documents

Week 8: Translating Russian scholarly and academic texts

Week 9: Translating Russian literary texts

Week 10: Revising and editing target texts

Week 11: Conclusion       

Teaching and learning methods

Translation skills will be developed through a series of practical exercises. Extensive resources will be available via Blackboard. These will include copies of handouts and PowerPoint presentations used in class; required homework exercises; links to translation resources and to required and recommended readings (where appropriate).

Knowledge and understanding

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand key theories of and approaches to translation and the impact that these have on translating and translations
  • Evaluate different approaches to translation
  • Understand the significance of specific linguistic and cultural differences for Russian-to-English translation
  • Demonstrate enhanced knowledge and understanding of nuances of the Russian language
  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in translating from Russian to English

Intellectual skills

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand and apply key theories of translation to the analysis of English translations of Russian texts
  • Compare and critically assess different translations of the same text
  • Argue knowledgeably for or against specific translation choices

Practical skills

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

  • Employ relevant terms, concepts and strategies that are essential to translation
  • Identify and understand the significance of linguistic and cultural differences on translation
  • Translate complex Russian texts representing a range of genres into accurate and stylistically appropriate English
  • Develop a portfolio of translation work for professional development and employability

Transferable skills and personal qualities

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

  • Work in a team, within the framework of the translation practicum, to develop and apply strategies for translating complex texts
  • Work in a team to produce an annotated group translation wiki
  • Work individually to produce a translation of a complex text and accompanying commentary
  • Develop skills for critical self-assessment of translation practices

Employability skills

Capacity to analyse and make critical judgements; Ability to develop creativity as well as intellectual rigour; Ability to express oneself clearly in writing; Capacity to mediate between cultures.

Assessment methods

Assessment task:Summative or FormativeWeighting within unit (if summative) 
Translation portfolio Formative 
In-class test (Semester 2, week 7)Summative25%
Translation and Commentary (Semester 2, start of May-June exam period)  Summative75%


Resit Assessment:

Translation and commentary

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Global oral feedback in class on weekly translation portfolio assignments


Individual written feedback on In-Class Test


Individual written feedback on Translation and Commentary


Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)



Recommended reading

  1. Andrews, Edna and Elena Maksimova, Russian Translation: Theory and Practice (London: Routledge, 2009)
  2. Baker, Mona and Gabriela Saldanha, eds., Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies (London: Routledge, 2009)
  3. Munday, Jeremy, Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications (London: Routledge, 2012)
  4. Strelkova, Natalia, Introduction to Russian-English Translation: Tactics and Techniques for the Translator (New York: Hippocrene Books, 2012)
  5. Venuti, Lawrence, The Translation Studies Reader (London: Routledge, 2012)


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Practical classes & workshops 11
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachel Platonov Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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