Practical Translation: English into Other Languages

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1 or Year 2
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Linguistics

Module overview

This module offers training in practical translation from English into a number of languages offered by SOAS including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Turkish and Swahili. Students are expected to take one language strand, but may take two. Other language options may be available. For these please contact the programme convenor Professor Nana Sato-Rossberg.
(Students in the Arabic strand must have Arabic and English language proficiency to the equivalent of ATCL Intermediate High level.)

The objective of the module is to help students acquire advanced skills in translation between their chosen language(s) and English. It also aims to familiarise students with the process, techniques and strategies of translating between their chosen language(s) and English, developing their abilities to a high level of proficiency, and providing them with valuable practical experience in translation.

The module will raise students’ awareness of issues such as literal and free styles of translation, targeted readership, degrees of formality, different language registers and genre conventions, and culturally specific issues in translation. Texts in various styles and genres will be assigned for class practice and homework. Classroom time will be divided between translation and discussion of translation choices made by students.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Translate a variety of text-types including literary, academic, media, business and technical texts;
  • Develop intellectual perspectives on the activity of translation and expand topic-based vocabulary.


The module is taught over a total of 10 weeks with 1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar each week

Scope and syllabus

Texts will be drawn from a range of genres and text types such as academic writing, advertising, business reports, government documents, journalistic writing, literature, manuals, technical texts, and video games. The text types studied in each language strand will be flexible, and will be drawn from genres that are particularly relevant to the respective language(s) offered.

Method of assessment

  • 20% - First translation assignment, 500 words
  • 20% - Second translation assignment, 500 words
  • 60% - Translation and commentary, 2,000 words
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

  • Baker, Mona (1992), In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. Routledge.
  • Berk, Özlem (2004), Translation and Westernisation in Turkey: from the 1840s to the 1980s. Ege.
  • Dickins, James, Sandor Hervey and Ian Higgins (2000), Thinking Arabic Translation. Routledge.
  • Han, Ziman, and Defeng Li (eds) (2019), Translation Studies in China: The State of the Art. Springer.
  • Mazrui, Al Amin (2016), Cultural Politics of Translation: East Africa in a Global Context. Routledge.
  • Bi-and Mono-lingual Dictionary, such as TUKI, Oxford or similar other.
  • Motarjem: Iranian Journal of Translation
  • Sato-Rossberg, Nana and Akiko Uchiyama (eds) (2019), Diverse Voices in Translation Studies in East Asia. Peter Lang UK.

Additional reading

  • Arabic
    Hana, Sameh, Hanem El-Farahaty and Abdel-Wahab Khalifa (2019), The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Translation. Routledge.
    Hatim, Basil (1997), English-Arabic/Arabic-English Translation: A Practical Guide. Saqi Books.
  • Chinese
    Chang, Tak-hung Leo (2004), Twentieth-Century Chinese Translation Theory: Modes, Issues and Debates. J. Benjamins.
    Shei, Chris and Zhao-Ming Gao (eds) (2017), The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Translation. Routledge.
  • Persian
    Riazi, A.M., and F. Assar (2001), ‘A Text Analysis of Persian Newspaper Editorials’, Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities of Shiraz University, vols 31 & 32.
  • Turkish
    Lewis, Geoffery (2000), Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success. Oxford University Press.
    Paker, Saliha (ed) (2002), Translations: (Re)Shaping of Literature and Culture. Boğaziçi University Press.
  • Swahili
    Bi-and Mono-lingual Dictionary, such as TUKI, Oxford or similar other.
  • East Asian Languages
    Hung, Eva and Judy Wakabayashi (2005), Asian Translation Traditions. St. Jerome.
  • Middle Eastern Languages
    Hatim, Basil, and I Mason (1997), The Translator as Communicator. Routledge.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules