89921 - Translation - English 1 (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Marina Manfredi

  • Foreign language instructor Nigel Christopher James

  • Credits 9

  • SSD L-LIN/12

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Language, Society and Communication (cod. 8874)


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at introducing contemporary theoretical debates in Translation Studies, and at providing the students with the methodologies and the tools necessary to translate different text-types. Students are expected to be aware of how translation is not only a linguistic operation, but also a cultural one. Lectures will provide an overview of scholarly research on translation, with particular attention to contemporary cultural-linguistic perspectives, especially those of Anglophone scholars. The students are expected to become expert in the translation, from English into Italian, of different text-types, namely semi-specialized (e.g., in the field of news and popular science journalism) and literary, and, from Italian into English, specialized (e.g., in the museum field). They become aware of the inextricable text-context connection and of the strategies employed, especially to solve problems arising from cultural differences, linguistic varieties and language for specific purposes. They are made familiar with the professional task of the translator, his/her visibility and ethics, the role of the client and the purpose/function of a translation. Language classes aim at improving students linguistic competence; over the two year period students knowledge of English should reach the level C2 according to the European framework in all four abilities. These classes will work in connection with the lectures to improve students writing skills in particular.

Course contents

The course is for the students of the II level degree course in ‘Language, Society and Communication' (LSC).

It will be offered in the second semester (all semester).

The mode of delivery (in presence and/or online) will follow the University and Department rules that will be announced in due time.


Course contents: Translation Studies - Theory and Practice

The course focuses both on the main theoretical issues of the discipline of Translation Studies and on the practical task of translating, in particular from English into Italian. It deals with written translation and with ‘interlingual translation', which was deemed by Jakobson (1959) ‘translation proper'.

Theoretical lessons and more practical ones offer the opportunity to heighten awareness of the importance of cultural context when translating. The key role of translation in shaping history and in the contemporary world is also highlighted, as well as the crucial work of the translator, whose activity is not passive or neutral, but laden with responsibility. Theoretical and practical issues will be also related to the intercultural role played by translation in contemporary society.

The course will firstly aim at answering some basic questions such as: “What is translation?” and “What is Translation Studies?”. Some key concepts in Translation Studies will be illustrated, such as the notions of ‘Equivalence' and of the ‘Unit of Translation', the latter strictly linked to the practice of translating. Indeed, the course combines a theoretical and a practical approach. On the one hand, it provides students with an overview of the main theories of Translation Studies and of different contemporary approaches and methods. On the other hand, students are asked to translate short authentic texts representative of a wide range of text-types (specialized, semi-specialized and also literary - in particular, in the fields of journalism, popular science, children's and post-colonial fiction) and to discuss the translation problems they encountered, as well as the strategies they employed. Even the most theoretical issues will be strongly connected to the practical activity of translating, focusing on both the process of translation and the product. From the point of view of translation practice, the focus will also be on differences in the use of lexico-grammatical structures in the source and target language because of different rhetorical/communicative strategies and expectations in the two speech communities, in different text-types. Particular attention will also be paid to the most common editing norms of the publishing industry.

The final aim of the course is to make students concretely realize that a meta-reflection can help them reflect on language choices in source texts and take informed translation decisions within a range of more/less acceptable and effective choices, also taking into account practical issues and constraints typical of the publishing world/industry. 

Students who decide to attend the course regularly may have the possibility of taking part in a project on translation, from Italian into English, of museum texts, in collaboration with a Bologna museum.


NOTE: Students are advised to possess a high level of language competence in the source language (i.e., English), especially in reading/textual analysis and writing skills, as well as in the target language, i.e., Italian.


The course will also include language classes (esercitazioni), strictly linked to the official course (Translation Studies).


Main course-book:

· Munday, Jeremy (2016), Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications, 4th edition, London/New York, Routledge.

The book is offred in formats such as print, e-Publication and PDF.

The text will be available for students at the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures library, also online at



Further Required Reading:

· Malone, Joseph L. (1988) The Science of Linguistics in the Art of Translation: Some Tools from Linguistics for the Analysis and Practice of Translation, Albany: State University of New York, selected pages (for the Comment on Translation Strategies).

· Manfredi, Marina (2008), Translating Text and Context: Translation Studies and Systemic Functional Linguistics, Vol. I, Translation Theory, Bologna, Dupress (Part 1: "On Translation")

Available online at: http://amsacta.unibo.it/2441/


Further bibliographical information will be provided during the course, according to the activities carried out in class. Students will be provided, on the one hand, with further reference material; on the other hand, with a list of brief articles/chapters among which they will be able to choose selected aspect to explore. The final programme will be available online. A list of recommended dictionaries will also be offered.

The texts for the practice of translation from English into Italian (exclusively drawn from authentic sources) will be found online, before each translation class.

As regards the language component (esercitazioni), a ‘dispensa' will be available from the copy centre in via Cartoleria and/or online, by the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

Active class participation is strongly recommended.

Translation is a practical activity and class work offers a good opportunity to focus on problems, look for diverse feasible solutions to solve them and to discuss the effects of certain choices. Moreover, class work offers the possibility to concretely practice the application of theoretical notions from the discipline of Translation Studies.

Official course (Translation Studies):

The official course (6 hours a week, all II semester) includes the following activities:

a) Lectures held by the professor of the course;

b) Individual study of course texts;

c) Other activities including:

- the translation of short texts – specialized, semi-specialized and literary – in small groups or individually;

- discussion of translation problems encountered and the problem-solving strategies adopted.

All students who regularly attend the lectures will be able to access a selection of the class PPTs online.


Language componenent (Esercitazioni):

The course will include 36 hours of language classes (esercitazioni), which will be held by Dott. Nigel James.

Language classes aim at the acquisition of communicative language skills through various activities. The main focus is on the translation, from Italian into English, of a wide variety of text-types. Principal text-types include: tourism-related texts, technical brochures, promotional material, and abstracts of scientific articles.

Both the official course (Translation Studies) and the language classes (esercitazioni) will be held in the second semester.

Students are advised to regularly consult the PERSONAL WEB PAGE of their Professor (http://www.unibo.it/docenti/marina.manfredi ), where all notices are kept up to date, and of their language teacher as well(http://people.unibo.it/it/nigel.james ).

Assessment methods

The final exam linked to the official course (Translation Studies) will consist of a written test and an oral test. It will count for 2/3 of the mark.

Students who regularly attend the course have the possibility of taking a midterm written test focusing on Translation Theory ('pure' and 'applied') at the end of the course. If they pass it, the 'oral exam' will only consist in a brief discussion of the written exam.

In addition, there will also be a written exam on the language component of the course (esercitazioni). Students must pass this written part of the exam before they can take the oral exam and register their final mark on Almaesami. This exam accounts for approximately 1/3 of the final mark.


Exam structure

Official course (Translation Studies):

The final exam will consist of a written test and an oral test.

Its main component is the written exam, which tests the ability to translate a text, from English into Italian, and an awareness of the translator's task. It consists of 2 parts:

- the first part is centred on translation practice. Students are required to provide a translation, from English into Italian, of a specialized/ semi-specialized or literary text (a maximum of 270 words), of a type similar to the text-types dealt with during the course. The translation task is introduced by a communicative situation and by a professional-like translation ‘commission', to guide the student in his/her assignment.

- the second part is centred on a commentary on translation strategies. Students are asked to offer a brief commentary on the main translation strategies they have employed in their own translation, following J. Malone's (1988) approach and terminology – see Required reading. They are asked to comment on them, offering some illustrative examples and explaining briefly – but in cohesive prose, rather than schematically – the reason(s) and/ or effect(s) of their choices.

Time allowed to perform these tasks is 120 minutes. The use of all kinds of dictionaries is permitted (monolingual, bilingual, synonyms), but not of other resources.

A Facsimile of the exam will be provided online during the course.

The oral exam – which must be taken after passing the written one and also the written exam on the language component (esercitazioni) – starts with a brief discussion of the student's written exam and expands on theoretical issues illustrated in the textbook (Munday) and on a list of selected readings (short articles and book chapters), among which the student can freely choose (both list and material will be made available during the course). Questions will concern both 'pure' and 'applied' theory.

The oral exam on translation theory can be substituted with the midterm test on theory offered at the end of the course.


Language componenent (Esercitazioni):

The written exam for the ‘esercitazioni' component will be a practical translation, from Italian into English, of approximately 200 words, of a type similar to the text-types offered during the course. Time allowed to perform the task is 60 minutes. The use of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries is permitted.

A Facsimile will be available online at the beginning of lessons.


For students from past academic years who may not have taken the exam yet: until January 2022, the type of exam (stucture and time) will be the same modified version that had been established after the emergency. You can find information on Virtuale. 



Marking criteria and levels

As far as the official course (Translation Studies) is concerned, the written exam is marked in /30. The translation practice is worth a maximum of 24 points, while the commentary a maximum of 6 points (a score of 30 points corresponds to a mark of 30/30).

The oral exam counts for 1/3 of the official course exam and is marked in /30. It can be substituted with the test on theory at the end of the course.

Evaluation will be based on the student's performance in the various components of the exam. Translation practice, from English into Italian, will be evaluated along a range of possibilities typically related to translation, i.e., positively, from ‘brilliant' to ‘appropriate' and to ‘satisfactory' (which broadly correspond to ‘excellent', ‘good', ‘satisfactory'), or negatively, from ‘inappropriate', to ‘undesirable'/‘approximative'/‘misleading' and to ‘containing serious errors'.

Students are also required to show they are able to discuss their translation choices and demonstrate knowledge of the main theories of Translation Studies, and how to apply them. Thus, students who produce an effective and accurate translation from English into Italian, also as far as editing is concerned – functionally equivalent to the source text and acceptable for the communicative situation that is intended for in the target language and context –, who show the ability to discuss their translation method and critically justify their translation choices, who show a good knowledge of the main theories of translation and the capacity to apply the theoretical concepts to the analysis of translation products, using the proper metalanguage, will obtain an excellent mark. Students who produce a mediocre translation, who justify their choices in a mechanical way and who show an imprecise knowledge of the main translation theories without the capacity to apply them will pass the exam but with a low mark. Finally, students who display seriously insufficient translation competence, analytical capacity and theoretical awareness will not pass the exam.


Language component (Esercitazioni):

In order to obtain a good pass mark, students must: focus attention on the source message in both linguistic/stylistic features and subject matter; bring the target text closer to the target reader whilst adhering as closely as possible to the linguistic elements of the source text. Lexico-grammatical accuracy is of major importance. Papers will be assessed on the basis of language requirements at the C2 level of the Common European Framework.

The final mark of the whole exam is calculated as follows: the score obtained in the Translation Studies component (written exam 2/3 and oral exam 1/3) is multiplied by 2, and added to the score obtained in the language component. This figure is divided by 3.

Students cannot refuse a passing mark (a score of at least 18/30) in any of the single (partial) exams taken towards the final average mark in the course. Only the final average mark itself can be refused, obliging the student in that case to take each single exam again. Marks obtained in written exams remain valid for 4 exam sessions only, including the sessions they were taken in.


Written exams take place once in each exam session; oral exams are held twice.

The 2 written exams can be taken in any order and it is not obligatory to take/pass both exams in the same exam session, but it is not possible to take the oral and register the final mark for the overall course until ALL exam components have been passed.

The written exams are the same for attenders and non-attenders.

Taking part in experimental activities will involve an alternative type of assessment.


Teaching tools

Lectures will involve Power Point presentations.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Marina Manfredi