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Working with Translation: Theory and Practice

Explore what it means to communicate in multiple languages in a variety of contexts, and discover your inner translator.

57,858 enrolled on this course

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Explore what it means to communicate in multiple languages.

Translation is one of the most fundamental of human activities, allowing us to interact with one another within and across cultures.

Drawing on the research and expertise of specialists at Cardiff University and the University of Namibia, on this course, you will discover a wealth of practical tips and knowledge about the nature of translation in an increasingly multilingual world.

You will explore translation in a global context, and observe translation in healthcare and the justice system as well as in music, manga, video games and historical romances. You may even discover your own ‘inner translator’ in the process!

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds What do a street in one of today’s global cities, the manual for the latest appliance you bought, a decent science fiction movie, or the dressing room of a top football or rugby club have in common? They’re all multilingual spaces, the spaces of translation, whether you see it or not. The first image that comes to mind when you think of a professional translator is that of the professional interpreter at the European Union or the United Nations. Think of the last ten people that you met this morning on your way to work. The bus driver or the taxi driver who took you there, the person who made you a coffee. The chances are, there were all multi-lingual.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds The truth is that translators really come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And in the next four weeks, you will discover that translators are found in all walks of life, all around the world, and they can be men women, and children, who act as translators, often without even realizing it. Very often, people only notice translations when things go wrong. For example, a mistranslation can cause diplomatic tensions. This would suggest that all other translation is simply good. Yet the question, what makes a good translation, is far more complex than that. The stereotypical translator, interpreter looks a little bit like me, female, youngish, often bespectacled, sitting in a booth with headphones on, and with a look of extreme concentration.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds We do not often stop to think about how translation works or about what it means to be an interpreter, to be a translator, or perhaps to work with professional or improvised translators. If you look closely enough, you will see that translation is everywhere. And possibly, there’s a translator hidden away in each and every one of you.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    What is translation?

    • What is Translation?

      Welcome to the course. Within this section you will receive an introduction to Week 1 from the course educators.

    • Types of Translation

      We now move on to a more detailed discussion around types of translation.

    • Summary

      Finally, here is a summary of what we learned during week 1.

  • Week 2

    Who translates?

    • Who Translates?

      This week we focus on the people who have been responsible for translation over the centuries.

    • The Translation Profession

      In this section, we take a look at and meet professional translators.

    • Translators and Translation Users

      Now we move on to understanding the relationship between translators and translation users.

    • Beyond the Profession: Bilinguals and Multilinguals as Translators

      We are going to look at understanding non-professional translation in this section, including missionaries, spectators and a bilingual band.

    • Who translates? Summary

      We give a short summary of the week's activities.

  • Week 3

    Where does translation take place?

    • Where does translation take place?

      This week we focus on where translations take place. We'll look at translation and linguistic landscapes, and look at a range of case studies where translation takes place.

    • Translation between and within locations

      In this section, we look at how gender and sexuality, and attitudes towards them, can be decisive factors in determining how translation works between two localities and groups.

    • Case Studies

      We now move on to look at six distinct contexts in which we often encounter translation and interpreting.

    • Physical spaces and translation

      In this activity, we'll be examining how translation interacts with spaces.

  • Week 4

    What is a good translation?

    • Theoretical approaches to quality

      Here we introduce two theoretical approaches to assessing translation quality: an approach focusing on the source text and one that privileges the function of the translation.

    • Industry approaches to quality

      Now we move on to see how quality is assessed in the translation industry.

    • Quality in specialised translation

      At this point, we are going to explore what quality means in the context of translating medical, legal and other specialised texts.

    • Quality in literary translation

      In this section, we are going to engage with some debates on quality in literary translation.

    • Quality in professional interpreting

      Finally, we examine quality standards in Public Service Interpreting.

    • Working with translation and interpreting. Course summary

      The final steps with a summary of the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the variety of definitions of translation and their implications, as well as common misconceptions
  • Collaborate with other learners to share examples of translation and interpreting drawn from daily life, and put them into context
  • Describe the diverse roles of translators, interpreters and localisers
  • Reflect on the spaces in which translation takes place and their bearing on practice
  • Design a commission or briefing for a translator/interpreter, ensuring that all the necessary components are in place
  • Evaluate differing conceptions of "quality" in translation

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in language and translation.

Who will you learn with?

I am Alfonse D’Amato Chair in Italian American and Italian Studies at Stony Brook University.
I am also Honorary Professor of Translation Studies in the School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University.

I’m a lecturer in Translation at Cardiff where I convene our very popular MA. My area of expertise is translation and the performing arts and I have worked as a translator in Italy and the UK.

I'm a Lecturer in Translation at Cardiff University, where I'm involved in translation training as well as research on literary & cultural translation. I've also worked as a translator and localiser.

I am a Lecturer of Literature in English, research and rhetoric at the University of Namibia and a team member of the Transnationalising Modern Languages: Global Challenges project

I am a Senior Lecturer of French at the University of Namibia. I have been living here for 15 years. I have a great interest in multilingualism, teaching methods and professional development.

Who developed the course?

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities and is ranked within the top 150 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

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