MA Literary Translation

What do Karl Knausgård, Valeria Luiselli, and Clarice Lispector have in common with Jo Nesbø, Georg Trakl, and Yoko Tawada? They’ve all been translated into English by graduates from the MA in Literary Translation at UEA!

The course focuses exclusively on literary translation and combines translation practice with translation theory. Recently described by its external examiner Dr Francis Jones as 'deservedly a UK leader in literary translation studies', this innovative course has been training literary translators for nearly two decades.

At its heart is a lively programme of literary translation workshops taught by leading practitioners in the field, including Daniel Hahn, Don Bartlett and George Szirtes, and emerging literary figures such as Romy Fursland, and Rosalind Harvey, founder of the Emerging Translators. Our students have gone on to become award-winning translators, writers, editors and academics.

Overview

Course Content and Structure

The MA is a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course.  It provides an academic qualification for professional translators and is also a good basis for further research. Three compulsory modules in Translation Theory and History, Case Studies, Process and Product in Translation, are supplemented by an optional module chosen from an exciting list of modules offered to students across the MA programmes of the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. In addition, as a student on MALT you will be asked, in the first semester, to assemble a dossier of your translations for submission to a tutor, an expert in their source or target language of your choice. The year-long practical translation workshops help you prepare for your dissertation, which can take the form either of a critical project or of a translation with commentary.

As a student on MALT you will also have the opportunity to join the editing team for our journal Norwich Papers. At the end of your programme you will be asked to contribute a translation for the MALT Anthology, published by Gatehouse Press, with the support of the BCLT.

Course Assessment

As a student on MALT you may work with any languages, as long as these include English. We have many language specialists in the School and the Humanities Faculty, as well as external assessors. Modules are assessed by essay or project. In the case of the projects, you can choose to work on a translation and commentary. There is a 15,000 to 20,000 word dissertation, either a translation with commentary or a critical essay. Work on the dissertation, with a supervisor, begins for full-time students in the spring and goes on until the beginning of September.

The Course Team

Many members of the School and the Faculty are practising translators or work in translation. Those who currently contribute substantially to MALT, with their main areas of interest, are:

  • Dr Duncan Large (translation theory and the history of translation, Bible translation, the philosopher/translator, German and French Literature).
  • Dr BJ Epstein (translation studies; children's literature; lgbtq literature; contemporary Scandinavian literature).
  • Dr Cecilia Rossi (translation of poetry, especially modern Latin American poetry; literary creativity, editing and creative writing).

We also have a very dynamic body of PhD students working in Literary Translation. 

What Our Past Students Say

“… the course was stimulating, enjoyable and I met some really interesting people. And it does lead to jobs! I've just done some extracts for an anthology on memory, edited by AS Byatt.” Bridget Patterson

“The year with literary translation was very special to me. It meant the fulfilment of a dream: spending twelve months talking and writing about my greatest passion - translation.” Henriette Heise

“At the end of this well-organised MA course, I know why I'm translating the way I am. “ Jon Lindsay Miles

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I receive teaching on translation into and out of my chosen languages?
Not as part of the taught classes. We assume you have near-bilingual language competence. Our focus is on translation issues, questions and techniques. You will, however, produce several pieces of translation involving your chosen languages. And you will have a chance to take part in the Editing Workshops (another non-assessed element of the course) if translating into English, as well as choosing the translation with commentary option for your dissertation.

Will I receive instruction on publishing translations?

Yes, this comes under the ‘professional competence’. In the workshops and special sessions with professional translators, as well as in the BCLT Summer School, you will have plenty of opportunities to network and understand what exactly ‘being a translator’ involves.

Can I go on to do a PhD?
Yes, if your performance on the MA is good. MALT provides a very good basis for PhD study.

Will doing MALT help me to get a job?

Almost certainly. There is evidence that even firms specialising in technical or commercial translation value an MA in Literary Translation. For freelance work, it is definitely a bonus. While it is unlikely you will earn enough to live on as a freelance translator in the first years after completing the programme, many graduates combine freelance work with teaching, lecturing, librarianship, work in the media, or publishing. Here, too, MALT is a clear advantage.

So why would I want to become a literary translator?

It is hugely enjoyable. If you translate contemporaries, you will often have a lot of contact with "your" authors. It is very flexible, and is ideal for combining with a less interesting job elsewhere. You can work from home (and in the train, in the doctor's waiting-room or on the beach). And it is relatively easy to become known in the translation world; you can cultivate contacts by joining the Emerging Translators Network in the first instance, visiting the Literary Translation Centre at the London Book Fair, joining the Translators Association, taking part in debates and attending translation events.

And you might even come back to UEA and hold a workshop yourself.

This course is also available on a part time basis.

Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for 160 credits:

Name Code Credits

CASE STUDIES

This module looks at ways in which specific authors/works/genres pass into other cultures through translation. We will look at four genres - children's literature, comics, drama, and crime fiction - and for each one, we will analyse the type, identify challenges in translating it, discuss strategies, and examine examples of works in that style, using close textual analysis to see how translators can tackle problems of linguistic, stylistic, and cultural difference. We will then practise translating texts from that genre. The course is both critical and creative.

LDCE7020A

20

DISSERTATION - LITERARY TRANSLATION

The dissertation is a compulsory requirement for all taught MA programmes. Work on the dissertation is begun at the end of the 2nd teaching semester for full-time students, or earlier for part-time students. Dissertations may take the form of either (i) a critical essay about an aspect of translation or (ii) a translation with critical discussion. The choice of research topic for the dissertation is made by the students in consultation with their course convenor. Supervision normally functions on the basis of one contact hour with the supervisor every three weeks throughout the summer.

LDCE7016X

90

LITERARY TRANSLATION RESEARCH AND METHODOLOGY TRAINING SEMINAR

This is a combined research methodologies and workshop module. For the second element, there will be a series of workshops by practising translators, shared by the MA in Literary Translation and the MA in Applied Translation Studies. These will be on different aspects of translation, and will involve various genres. There is generally no preparation required for workshops, but students are asked to find out as much as possible in advance about the workshop-holder's background and work. There will usually be translation exercises and discussion in class. Some workshops are on literary topics, but some also deal with non-literary translation or other issues such as approaching a publisher. The workshop programme will be distributed at the start of the academic year. The methodologies component addresses aspects of the development of independent dissertation work. It is assessed by a pass/fail viva in May or Early June (date will be given in the course of the Autumn semester).

LDCE7017Y

10

PROCESS AND PRODUCT IN TRANSLATION

This module is designed to allow students to produce translations in conditions that encourage and facilitate reflection on the process and product of translation. It encourages students to think experimentally, not only about the forms a finished translation might take, but also about the ways in which process might be incorporated into that translation. The module has a workshop format and culminates in a series of presentations by students of the projects on which they have chosen to work. A series of sessions, devoted to the discussion of problems, both theoretical and practical, connected with translation and the projects ahead, precede the presentations. This module is compulsory for students on the MA in Literary Translation but may also appeal to those students with an interest in experimental writing and creative re-writing and textual intervention practices. Please note there is no foreign language requirement.

LDCE7014B

20

TRANSLATION THEORY AND HISTORY

This module explores the history and theory of translation within the Western tradition. It is compulsory for students on the MA in Literary Translation.

LDCE7008A

20

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Students may select a Semester 2 module only.

Name Code Credits

ADAPTATION AND INTERPRETATION

Critical reading and creative writing meet in the activity of adapting a text in one medium for presentation in another. The module focuses on dramatic adaptation, establishing a foundation in basic theory and then focusing on readings or original works and screenings. Discussions probe the choices offered by original texts and explore the possibilities and limitations inherent in different dramatic forms. In the later sessions, students will have the opportunity to workshop an adaptation for a final project.

LDCC7010B

20

CREATIVE-CRITICAL WRITING

A CORE MODULE FOR STUDENTS ON THE MA WRITING THE MODERN WORLD. Too often, academic critical writing seems to bring pre-packaged language to bear on works whose whole essence and aim is to change the ways in which we see and describe our world. And too often such writing fails to acknowledge the ways in which it itself necessarily participates in the literary 'creativity' it is also about. How, then, to write criticism? Criticism which responds inventively to the literature which it analyses? Criticism which registers, in its own form, language, method and thinking the ways in which it has been transformed by the work(s) of art it encounters? Criticism which recognizes that it cannot rest on received concepts and categories? This module aims to explore those questions. Over the course of the semester will consider - and experiment with - a broad range of possible ways of practising creative-criticism, including the 'essay' form, auto-commentary, aphorisms, ecriture feminine, conceptual writing, criticism as performance, inventive 'theoretical' writing, camp, and diaristic writing. The module covers creative-critics as different from one another as Anne Carson and Jacques Derrida, Geoff Dyer and Helene Cixous, Maurice Blanchot and T. J. Clark, Theodor Adorno and Eve Sedgwick.

LDCE7004B

20

Contemporary Fiction

Various attempts at (sub-)categorising contemporary fiction interpret it as a departure from previous aesthetics or a response to political or historical events or movements: post-modern; post-colonial; post-feminist; post-communist; post-9/11; post-millenial; post-national; even post-post-modern etc. As a prefix, "post-" suggests supersedence rather than novelty; at worst it is merely an aspirational syllable. Its proliferation co-exists with more conventional attempts at temporal taxonomy such as monographs and student guides dedicated to specific decades. One way of reading "post"-something-or-other is to think of it as an engagement with, and critical reassessment of, the past it so assiduously hyphenates: its literary conventions, cultural heritage, philosophical traditions, political ideologies, and - paradoxically - its long shadows way beyond the present moment. The manifestations of these engagements and reassessments can be rather contradictory. The memory boom of the 1990s put paid to claims about "the end of history" or skepticism over Grand Narratives. The renewed popularity of the (neo)historical novel and period drama also chafes against the recent turn towards trauma studies. The effects of new market forces, media and digital technology on the form of writing and the construction of the "author" could also be seen as one of the legacies of modernism. A focus on mindfulness, ethics and affect sits uneasily alongside the necessity for art to provoke and push boundaries. Expressions of the regional contend with an increasing awareness of transnational subjects, diasporic identities and global issues, and some of the most interesting writing today comes from 'the East' or writers with hybrid origins and hyphenated identities. Can fiction still be formally inventive and how might it enter into dialogue with other art forms (photography, sculpture, painting, cinema)? In the light of the critical and commercial success of 'creative non-fiction' we might also want to ask precisely how narrative can perforate disciplinary and generic categories. On this module we will attempt to construct a (naturally provisional, selective and incomplete) genealogy of the contemporary by examining some of the discernible trends and tensions of relatively recent writing (relative, that is, to the age of the convenor and the age of the students!). Much of this writing will be Anglophone but you should be prepared for adventures in reading translations. We will also do some work in UEA's newly founded Archive of Contemporary Literature: what and who is being archived according to which criteria, and what do archivists, academics and critics consider archival about the contemporary?

LDCC7020B

20

EAST ANGLIAN LITERATURE

Throughout the medieval and Early-Modern periods Norwich was one of England's most important cities - probably second only to London - and East Anglia one of the country's culturally liveliest and richest areas. This module explores the literature of these periods in its material contexts (the region's prosperity and power may still be seen in its architecture and in the rich holdings of its libraries and museums) and asks whether there was a specifically East Anglian cultural tradition. The module explores East Anglia's rich dramatic traditions, its devotional literature and practices (in orthodox forms and in those that brush against the heterodox), and, insistently, the manner in which its literature participates in its broader social and cultural worlds. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA but may also appeal to those with an interest in the cultural traditions of Norwich and East Anglia or, more generally, in the literature of place.

LDCE7002B

20

LUDIC LITERATURE

Play, or the ludic, is often listed as one of the main characteristics of postmodernist art, but what is meant by play is usually left no more clearly defined than what is meant by postmodernism. This course seeks to trace the evolution of leading postmodernist styles and themes, especially ludic ones, back to their origins in Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov. Using these enormously influential authors as a starting point, we will read a range of ludic authors, passing back and forth between languages, nations, and genres. Authors studied will include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, Raymond Queneau, Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Angela Carter, Paul Muldoon, and John Ashbery. We will examine these authors in relation to one another, and to their major pre-postmodernist sources, such as Carroll, Rimbaud, Mallarme, and Dostoevsky. We will also be reading theorists of play such as Schiller, Huizinga, Derrida, and Bakhtin. Central to the module is the exploration of play as a response to literature, and a way of creating new literature out of old, through the play of parody, imitation, transposition, and translation. We will be studying these ancient modes of literary response and performing them ourselves: all students will be encouraged to try their hand at parodying and imitating the texts we are studying, though this is not compulsory. Final assessment can take the form of a 5000 word critical essay or of a combination of a creative piece and a critical essay, to make up 5000 words.

LDCE7006B

20

PUBLISHING - A PRACTICAL APPROACH

This module aims to give students an introduction to the modern publishing industry and a practical survival guide to the different functions involved in the publication of a book. As well as learning about the structure and economics of the British book industry, the opportunities and challenges of digitalization, students will engage with the process whereby books are chosen for publication, review principles of text and jacket design, practise basic copyediting and proofreading skills and learn tips for running a marketing and publicity campaign, writing 'blurbs' and press releases. The course will also touch on copyright law, finance and distribution. Students from the module are invited to join the core team producing the annual MA Creative Writing anthologies.

LDCC7012B

20

RADICAL DRAMATURGIES

Radical Dramaturgies is an advanced level study of dramatic texts and theory, exploring a range of experimental ways of writing for the stage. Weekly seminars build upon students' understanding of form and practice in a variety of modes of writing: monologue, the solo play, micro-plays, site-specific writing, verbatim, 'post-dramatic', devised, multi-media, hyper-naturalist - we look at work by Wallace Shawn, Samuel Beckett, Suzan Lori-Parks, Martin Crimp, Caryl Churchill, Moises Kaufman, Simon Stephens, Franz Xavier Kroetz, Hans Thies-Lehmann as well as film-makers such as Michael Haneke and theatre directors working with film such as Katie Mitchell. Overall, we will explore: a variety of radical modes of writing, the theoretical and intellectual context informing such work, the structural and performative values informing this writing, a set of criteria for evaluating this work, developing the students' own aesthetic through writing and/or theorising. Writers and artists across disciplines are welcome as are theoretically minded students wishing to work creatively.

LDCD7001B

20

REFUGEE WRITING: STATES, STATELESSNESS AND MODERN LITERATURE

The twentieth century bore witness to the creation of a new class of person: the placeless people; those who cross frontiers and fall out of nation states; the refugees; the stateless; the rightless. Unlike genocide, the impact of mass displacement on modern thought and literature is only just being recognised. For writers such as Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, Simone Weil, among others, the outcasts of the twentieth century raised vital questions about sovereignty, humanism and the future of human rights. More recently, writers such as Coetzee, Teju Cole, Edward Said, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Achille Mbembe have challenged categories of modern and world literature with their focus on exile and statelessness. This module combines an account of these first responses to the era of the refugee with a critique of contemporary humanitarian sensibilities.

LDCE7018B

20

THE NORTHERN RENAISSANCE, 1500-1620

This module sets out to understand why and how humanism -- the advocacy of the study of the humanities, the Greek and Roman classics -- gave birth to the astonishing outpouring of literature that we call the Renaissance. We will situate English Renaissance literature within the wider context of the humanist literature of France, the Netherlands, and Italy. Questions we consider include: how did the rediscovery of classical texts generate new possibilities for literary writers? How did humanists understand the nature of poetic creation? How did their advocacy of rhetoric create new ways for writers to engage with public life? And what happened when humanists turned philological methods upon the most sacred text of their culture: the bible? Authors studied include: Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus, Edmund Spenser, Joachim Du Bellay, Philip Sidney, Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Jean Bodin, Michel de Montaigne, and Ben Jonson. Foreign language texts are all read in translation. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA, but might be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain an in-depth understanding of one of the most dazzling periods of European literary history.

LDCE7011B

20

THEORY AND PRACTICE OF FICTION

This module is designed to complement the prose fiction workshop but is open to students on related programmes. It is intended to provide students with creative and critical knowledge in a single experiential burst, by exploring as they are relevant to writing fiction such topics as time, place, dramatic structure, character and concinnity. The unit also gives consideration to professional issues confronting novelists, from writer's block to editing, contracts and dealing with the media. The module presents the writer as both artist and supplier of intellectual property to a market, while examining that and other tensions critically. Reading, writing and analysis happen alongside each other. Fictional, critical and professional texts are examined, writing exercises illuminating the issue at hand are undertaken. Students are also expected to make presentations on topics of their choice. Assessment by creative writing coursework with a critical commentary.

LDCC7015B

20

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Sample of work - see below

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 7.0 in writing and speaking, and 6.0 in reading and listening)
  • PTE (Pearson): 68 (minimum 68 in writing and speaking, and 55 in reading and listening)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk

Special Entry Requirements

A sample of your academic writing (for example an essay from your undergraduate degree) of approximately 2000-3000 words; plus a translation of a short story, poem or literary text with the source text of no more than 5 pages.

Intakes

The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the Admissions Office directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2016/17 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,300
  • International Students: £14,800

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £820 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

There are a variety of scholarships and studentships available to postgraduate applicants in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For further information relevant to the School of Literature and Creative Writing, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    Need to know more? Take a look at these pages to discover more about Postgraduate opportunities at UEA…

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515