Interdepartmental MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference
This is an innovative and interdisciplinary twelve-month full-time (24 months part-time) programme of study leading to an MA. Its aim is to examine translation between English and either German, French or Italian in a cultural context, and develop communicative, imaginative and critical abilities related to literary writing. Students are encouraged to develop their interest in intercultural communication and combine the study of theoretical models with active translation work and creative writing.
The departments of French Studies, German, and Italian Studies, are all involved in delivery of this MA, together with translation specialists based in the Department of English and and Comparative Literary Studies.
The MA in TWCD Handbook can be downloaded here.
What follows is a brief summary of information contained in the handbook listed above. All students will take the following modules:
Core Module (Term 1):
- Translation Studies in Theory and Practice (Department of English)
One of the the Language specific Core Modules (Term 1):
- Intellectual Contexts I (Intercultural Transactions) (Department of French Studies)
- Translation and Cultural Difference between German and English (Department of German Studies)
- Translation and communication skills/ strategie di comunicazione e traduzione (Department of Italian)
One of the Writing Core Modules (Term 2):
One Option Module (Term 2) selected from the list of postgraduate modules offered by all the participating departments:
Option modules change annually, and an updated list is available at the beginning of the Autumn term. Modules typically but not necessarily available include:
- Practice of Literary Translation (English)
- Issues of Cultural Transfer (English)
- IT916 The Ethics of translating (Italian/ English)
- The Self and the Others: Identity, Gender and Ethnicity in German Culture around 1800 (German) Reading Contemporary German Disasporic Writing (German)
- Literary Translation and Creative (Re-)Writing in a Global Context (English)
- Advanced Study Option II (French Studies)
- The Lure of Italy (French Studies/German Studies/Italian)
Reading the Book (Italian)
Modules are assessed by a 5000-7000-word essay, or a translation with a commentary, or a commentary on the publication history/reception of a translated text. Writing Core Modules taught in Term 2 are assessed by a 7000-word essay or a writing portfolio. In the summer term students will work on a 15,000-word dissertation. This may be a translation with a commentary, a comparative commentary on existing translations, or a dissertation on a topic related to translation studies or intercultural difference.
- Good degree in English, French, German, Italian (2.1 equivalent), or an equally good degree in another humanities subject with proof of a high level of competence both in written English and at least one of the three languages, French, German, Italian.
- English language proficiency test result for students whose mother tongue is not English (IELTS 7 or equivalent)
- Final year essay and one piece of translation into native tongue.
Students graduating from the course will be well qualified to seek jobs in the fields requiring expertise in linguistic and cultural mediation (freelance translation, translation companies, media, publishing, educational institutions). The course provides an excellent foundation for further postgraduate work.
Some past students tell us about their reasons for taking the course, and the experiences they had during it:
Una Brogan (2009-10)
I decided to undertake this MA after completing my degree in French and History at Oxford. This Masters appealed to me as it offered the chance to develop the more applied side of my language skills as well as giving me the opportunity to work on my creative writing. I was excited by the chance to combine these two areas in order to explore questions of creative production and literary translation which had long intrigued me.
The course provided me with an insight into the field of translation and cultural studies. Though a relatively recent discipline, there have been many theoretical advancements in the area over the past half-century, which I was given the opportunity to explore and interrogate. I was glad of the opportunity to be able to keep up my interest in literature and combine this with a translation studies perspective, and I found the creative writing component of the course extremely valuable and rewarding. Rather than confining me to a particular literary period, the flexibility of the course allowed me to complete my assignments on diverse topics such as contemporary press translation, translations of George Brassens songs and cultural transfer in eighteenth century French literature.
Having written my dissertation on the theme and practice of translation in a Diderot play, Le Fils naturel, I have now undertaken a Master 2 at Paris IV-Sorbonne in comparative literature. I aim to continue my studies in the field of cultural transfer and translation in French literature, an area which my Masters at Warwick gave me the opportunity to appreciate at a deeper level.
Katherine Ong (2006-7):
Having completed a BA in English and German Literature at Warwick, I spent a year working and travelling before returning to do my MA. I wanted more time to pursue my academic interests before embarking on a career path and the opportunity to study at Warwick again was too good to resist!
The unique interdisciplinary nature of the course, combining theoretical and creative elements with a cultural perspective, was really appealing. I enjoyed the challenges of working between different departments, drawing on diverse areas of expertise, and developing skills in new areas such as creative writing. It was particularly rewarding to have contact with and learn from people who translate/write professionally. I got to spend a week with the Royal Shakespeare Company as an interpreter backstage on a production by the Berliner Ensemble and completed my dissertation on several English-language translations of a Paul Celan poem.
My MA year was an extremely worthwhile experience and when it came to looking for a job I felt I had a great deal more to offer as a result. I now work as an editorial assistant for a well-known academic publisher, managing books on a broad range of subjects by authors based around the world. I hope to continue both translating and writing in some capacity in the future.
Further details can be obtained from:
Dr Katherine Astbury
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of French Studies