SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Translating Cultures 1

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2

This module focuses on understanding and applying the concepts of culture, otherness, and cultural translation. These will be approached from the perspectives of anthropology and translation studies. Translation activities require not only language ability; translators are also mediators between cultures. The wider concept of translation requires understanding culture and otherness; and almost any intercultural communication involves translation.
Visiting museums, students can study how otherness is translated and represented there. This fieldwork is compulsory for the module.

By taking this module, students can locate themselves in the wider context as translators/interpreters. But the module will also teach highly transferrable skills with applications in a globalised, multicultural society far beyond the work of translators or interpreters.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  •  learn about translation theories and methods relating to translation of cultures
  • confidently and effectively mediate across cultural differences in the real world
  • understand otherness and communicate beyond borders


The module is taught over 10 weeks, 2 hours per week

Scope and syllabus

  • W1: Introduction, Explanation of the course
  • W2: Anthropology and Translation
  • W3: Translation and Representation
  • W4: Translation and Myths
  • W5: Translation and Museum
  • W6: Translating Oral Tradition
  • W7: Thick Description and Thick Translation
  • W8: Translation and Power
  • W9: Translation and Ideology
  • W10: Student Presentations

Method of assessment

  • 1 x Report (1000 words) (40%)
  • 1 x Essay (2000 words) (60%)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules