SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Translation of IslamicTexts (a project)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year
This course involves an independent edition and translation from Arabic into English of an Islamic text of about 10,000 words in length.


In addition to the qualifications for the MA, the student must be able to work independently and meet deadlines.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The objective of the course is to develop independent study skills, specifically through training in the skills of editing and translating material that has not been previously edited, or of translating and annotating texts that already exist in edited form. On completion of this course, the student will have skills in editing, translating and making comments on the language, style and content of the Islamic material involved.


This is an independent project during which students receive general guidance and supervision from a supervisor in the relevant field. Meetings and discussions with the supervisor occur at least once every three weeks.

Scope and syllabus

The text under study is usually selected from those that have not yet been translated into English, although exceptions may be made in the case of badly edited or poorly translated texts. The choice of text must be approved by the supervisor.

If a particular text selected for translation requires editing or re-editing from manuscripts, then the student is required to produce a critical edition and an English translation of a section of approximately 5000 words, depending on the difficulty of the editorial work involved.

If the text has been already well edited, the student is required to translate and annotate a chapter or section of approximately 6,000 words. In both cases the student is expected to comment on points of language, style and content and on particular difficulties faced in making the translation.
The total length including the notes and commentary should be 10,000 words.

Method of assessment

One written translation of and comments on a chosen text, to be handed in no later than the School deadline (usually in the first week of May).

Suggested reading

Depending on the work chosen and the student's requirements, the supervisor will provide guidance on suitable reading matter.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules