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SCAND 465 A: Translation Workshop In Nordic And Baltic Languages

Meeting Time: 
MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 254
Joint Sections: 

Syllabus Description:

pfd version of the syllabus and schedule [here]


The purpose of the course is to study translating from various Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric, and Baltic languages into English. The course will introduce the main translation theories, but the focus is on putting the language skills into practice and making use of different translation techniques. Apart from the overall discussion on translation theory, the first part of the course will focus on the different facets and tasks faced within the domain of literary translation. Collaboration will be done with both established professional translators working with pragmatic text translation and literary texts. The second part of the course will introduce some of the central aspects of pragmatic text translation, including but not limited to journalistic translation, legal translation, and localization. The role and the limitations of the use of technology in translation will also be discussed. The most important part of learning to translate is to translate, and during the course a lot of emphasis will be put to practicing translation. The main focus of all the translation tasks and assignments will be from various source languages into English, and process writing together with class discussion and peer commenting constitute the core of the workshop.


The course and the readings are in English. Working knowledge is required in one of the following languages: Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, or Swedish. Students of other languages can participate with permission from the instructor. Students enrolled in 300-level courses can participate with permission from the instructor and a recommendation from the respective language instructor.


In class we will get acquainted with translation as a practice and on various facets of translation and some of the most typical translation tasks. Further, we will try to contextualize translation in a relevant way for each participant’s language skills. The format will be hands-on from the start with short introductory readings of each topic and significant amount of in-class discussion based on the readings and the translation work-in-progress. Participants are partially responsible for creating their own curriculum and finding the texts to be translated, although department faculty can help out to find relevant resources. Professional linking will be given a priority, and we will bring in several visitors – including also department’s alums – to talk about the role of translation in their profession.

Learning Goals

The course offers a possibility to have a first hands-on experience of working with an array of typical translation tasks.

Texts (suggested readings, an exact reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course)

Translation Theory

Chesterman, Andrew (1997): Memes of Translation: The Spread of Ideas in Translation Theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Pragmatic Text Translation / Practical Translation

Translation and Journalism

Baumann, Gerd, Maria Gillespie & Annabelle Sreberny (2011): “Transcultural journalism and the politics of translation: Interrogating the BBC World Service.” - Journalism 12(2), pp. 135-142.

Podkalicka, Aneta (2011): “Factory, dialogue, or network? Competing translation practices in BBC transcultural journalism.” – Journalism 12(2), pp. 143-152.


Schäler, Reinhard (2010): “Localization and translation.” Yves Gambier & Luc van Doorslaer (eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies 1, 209-214. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Technology in Translation

Bowker, Lynne & Des Fisher (2010): “Computer-aided translation.” Yves Gambier & Luc van Doorslaer (eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies 1, 60-65. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Laviosa, Sara (2010): “Corpora.” Yves Gambier & Luc van Doorslaer (eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies 1, 80-86.

Literary Translation

Buzelin, Helena (2011): “Agents of Translation.” Yves Gambier & Luc van Doorslaer (eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies 2, 6-12. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Delabastita, Dirk (2011): “Literary translation.” Yves Gambier & Luc van Doorslaer (eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies 2, 69-78. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Grossman, Edith (2010): Why Translation Matters. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Latomaa, Sirkku & Kate Moore (2015): “Path to professionalism: training translation students to be professional editors”. mTm Journal 7: Translation Goes Professional, 45-68.

Rabassa, Gregory (2005): If This Be Treason. Translation and Its Dyscontents. New York; New Directions Books.

Vennewitz, Leila (1993): “Translator and author: Some relationships.” Hans Schulte & Gerhart Teuscher (eds.), The Art of Literary Translation, 85-102. Lanham: University Press of America.

Evaluation (Graded)

Students will be evaluated on four graded assignments, which should be completed and submitted by the listed due dates. In-class discussions are a major part of the course, and participation to the discussion will also affect the overall course grade. Each student will also serve as a peer opponent twice, and lead the discussion of one fellow student’s translation. This will be a substantial factor in the participation grade. For the undergraduate students there will also be a midterm, and for the graduate students two larger translation assignments; one practical translation and one literary translation.

Catalog Description: 
Examines translation theories and god practices within the field of translation. Introduces the most common translation tasks within pragmatic text translation and literary translation. Provides students opportunities to strengthen their professional skill set and get feedback from professional translators. Language of instruction and target language for translations is English.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 7, 2017 - 9:16pm