Degrees and courses for international students
You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Introduction to translation theory and practice

In this online module, you will explore different approaches to translation and develop an understanding of the links between theory and practice. With a focus on recent research, you will develop an awareness of the wider cultural, ethical and professional contexts of translation. You will acquire a solid grounding in a range of ideas within translation studies (e.g. linguistic and functionalist approaches, translation as norm-governed behaviour, cultural and sociological turns, gender and postcolonial theories, translation technologies) and apply this to a range of translation activities. You will enhance your understanding of how this research can be useful in your professional practice.

Vocational relevance

This module can be taken as part of our MA in Translation (F79) which provides an academic qualification for those intending to become, or who already are, professional translators.

Qualifications

L801 is a compulsory module in our: L801 is an optional module in our:

Postgraduate Loans

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may also be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan available from Student Finance England. For more information, see Fees and funding.
 

Module

Module code
L801
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

Download a brochure

Explore our subjects and courses.

Download your copy today

What you will study

This online module will introduce you to translation concepts, debates and analytical approaches in order to develop your understanding of translation in a wider context and to equip you with the necessary skills to improve your translation practice. You will find that this kind of knowledge allows you look at various contexts where translation is used, such as children’s literature or museums, in a new light and to understand how things could be improved or why translations may not always fulfil a particular purpose. The module consists of the following four blocks:

Block 1 - Translation Production
The first block introduces you to the field of translation studies and covers linguistic and functionalist approaches to translation. In particular, it will focus on the idea that translation is a purposeful activity performed by experts. 

Block 2 - Translation in Society
This block focuses on translation as norm-governed behaviour. It will focus on different contexts where translation is practised and demonstrate how these can influence different translation behaviours. Concepts covered include the cultural and sociological turns in translation, as well as gender and postcolonial theories of translation.

Block 3 - The Translation Profession
This focuses on various aspects of professional translation work such as codes of ethics and translation tools. You will explore new and sometimes controversial practices, such as the revision of machine translation output. 

Block 4 - Recent Innovations
In the final block, you will explore recent innovations, both in terms of translation research and translation technologies. For example, you will be introduced to new forms of translation such as crowdsourcing, fansubbing, localisation, and collaborative translation, and this will bring out the real-world relevance of what you are learning.

The frameworks, theories and approaches introduced in the module are applied to real-life translation examples.  The aim is to link the development of expertise in advanced translation skills with theoretical and professional aspects of translation. You will have the opportunity to compare and contrast individual approaches and perspectives in relation to each other, in relation to different real-life contexts, and in relation to your own experiences.

All the study materials are available online from the module website and you will use third-party translation software that is freely available on the web.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other and with the rest of the students on your tutor group through the online tutor group forum. There will also be forums for all students on the course, and these will be facilitated by a number of tutors.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Introduction to translation theory and practice (L801) starts once a year – in February. This page describes the module that will start in February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2026.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Entry requirements

    1If you don’t have an honours degree, talk to an advisor.

    2If your first language is English and you’ve passed an OU level 3 module in your second language, your language proficiency should be suitable, as the exit level of our OU level 3 language courses is CEFR C1.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    02 Feb 2019 Oct 2019 £1700.00

    Registration closes 10/01/19 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2026.

    Future availability

    Introduction to translation theory and practice (L801) starts once a year – in February. This page describes the module that will start in February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2026.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All study materials are provided on the module website. This includes the module study guide and activities, audio/video material and a range of tools to support your study, including real-time conferencing and online forums.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Venuti, L. (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader (3rd edn) Routledge £37.99 - ISBN 9780415613484

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

    This module makes use of third-party translation software that is freely available on the web. The module team has chosen software which is as accessible as possible, but may not be fully accessible, particularly if you use assistive technology. Further information will be available via the Student Support Team to help you make a decision on your ability to study the module before registering.
     

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.