SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Practical Translation: Japanese into English

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Term 2

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The objective of this course is to help students acquire advanced translation skills in translation from Japanese to English. Students will be helped to develop intellectual perspectives on the activity of translation and expand topic-based vocabulary. By the end of the course, the students will be able to translate a variety of text-types including literary, academic, media, business and technical texts.


A total of 10 weeks teaching with three hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course aims to familiarise students with the process and techniques of translating from Japanese into English, developing their skills to a high level of proficiency, and provide them with much practical experience of translation.

The course consists of 3 hours per week of translation from Japanese into English and commentary.  Texts from various sources, including newspapers, magazines, the internet, government documents, and academic journals/books, and in various styles and genres (literary, academic, media, business and technical texts) will be assigned for class practice and homework.

The course will raise students’ awareness of issues relating to literal and free styles of translation, to targeted readership, to degree of formality, and to cultural implications. Classroom time will be divided between translation and discussion of translation choices made by students.

Method of assessment

One two-hour examination in May/ June (50%); one 3,000 word translation and commentary due on Day One, Week One of the term after which it is taught (20%); three translation tests throughout the course (30% overall, 10% per piece).

Suggested reading

  • Baker, Mona (1992): In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.
  • Hasegawa, Yoko (2012): The Routledge Course in Japanese Translation. Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.
  • Hirako, Yoshio (1999): 翻訳の原理. Tokyo: Taishukan Shoten.
  • Munday, Jeremy (2012): Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications. Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.
  • Naruse, Takeshi (1996): 英日・日英翻訳入門ー原文の解釈から訳文の構想まで. Tokyo: Kenkyusha.
  • Refsing, Kristen & Lundquist, Lita (2009): Translating Japanese Texts. Copenhagen: Museum Tasculanum Press.
  • Venuti, Lawrence (1995): The Translator's Invisibility. Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules