GER30130 Translating Contemporary Texts German-English (Advanced)

Academic Year 2020/2021

Translation is everywhere in our plurilingual, transnational and globalized society, functioning as a mediation between different cultures, and thereby constituting more than a purely linguistic act.
This level 3 module trains participants in the practice and craft of translation from German into English, focussing on both process and product, while introducing the theory of translation. This entails studying the cognitive approach, translational methodologies and strategies, and developing the practical and linguistic skills (e.g. critical analysis, close reading, stylistic awareness, problem-solving) required to translate a range of German texts.
Advanced comprehension of written German alongside sophisticated, (near-)native competence in written English are essential. The module is suitable for students taking German on the BA, BAIML BA Humanities and BComm. Int. programmes, and for students on other programmes with the requisite linguistic competencies.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to

- Produce fluent and idiomatic translations from a range of complex and specialised German-language texts;
- Explain some of the theoretical issues in Translation Studies and apply these to the translation process;
- Analyse the source text in order to better comprehend it semantically and stylistically;
- Benefit from productive peer-collaboration;
- Work critically with dictionaries and online tools;
- Subtitle short audiovisual excerpts;
- Comment on and post-edit existing translations.

Indicative Module Content:

The module looks at three different text-types:
Weeks 1-3: Current affairs
Week 4, 5, 7: Commercial or consumer-oriented texts
Weeks 8-11: Cultural and literary texts including media subtitling

Class activities (in the virtual classroom) include collaboration on different translations, explanations of and exercises practising certain grammatical points and stylistic issues (e.g. reported speech, nominalisation, collocation, modal particles, dictionary work), as well as the introduction via short lectures to some basic concepts of translation theory. Two of the hours will feature professional translators to give an insight into translation as a career: one talking about literary translation, the other about commercial translation.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In order to benefit from the learning experience, students need to attend fully and participate actively. Students are expected to work consistently and independently outside of class time, and engage with the tasks and material on Brightspace.
Teaching will be conducted in the virtual classroom for both of the scheduled weekly hours.

The classes largely follow a workshop-style model structured around task-based learning, individual and pair work, and peer-review. Discussion boards will often be employed to submit translations or exercises carried out during class, while break-out groups will facilitate collaborative translations.
Several classes will consist of short lecture-type presentations (to introduce translation theory, different grammatical and stylistic points): these will be signalled at the start of the semester, and made available later as recordings.

Weekly formative homework is integral to the module and homework submitted on time will be given individual feedback. Summative assessment comprises two pieces of homework and a class test, a collaborative subtitling project (in pairs) and a final exam on unseen texts. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

All students must have a very good standard of German (European Common Framework B2 level) and students of German at UCD should have passed both level 2 German language modules.

Learning Recommendations:

Students should have a good command of written English.

This module is suitable for visiting students with native or near-native competence in English.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: 2 designated homework exercises during weeks 1-7 and an online class test in week 8. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Group Project: Collaborative subtitling homework of short video Week 11 n/a Graded No


Examination: Online 2-hour written exam, 2 passages (choice of 3) to be translated. Online dictionaries are permitted, and all dictionaries and other tools used must be listed. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam Yes Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Regular formative homework exercises submitted on time via Brightspace will get individual feedback. Students will also compare and peer review translations done in class. All assessed pieces of work are graded according to rubrics that equally weight comprehension and transfer of the original (German) and expression in the target language (English).

Highly recommended as an entertaining introduction to the art of translation:

David Bellos, Is that a Fish in your Ear? The amazing adventure of translation (London: Penguin, 2012)