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How relevant is Edward Said’s concept of “Orientalism” to Postcolonial Translation?

Assessment requirements

  1. One Essay of 3,000 words (70%) (MDL 6100), or 2,000 words (MDL6024, MDL605) in which a concept/ approach to translation is examined in relation to a text/s and a presentation (in a group) on your work in progress. NOTE you will also be assessed on your ability to be able to respond explicitly to the feedback on your presentation (30%)
  1. Please note: the essay counts for 70% of the mark so in order to pass the module you need to gain a pass mark of 50% or more in the essay.

Please note: it is essential to include a back translation (literal translation) of all examples and extracts, which are not English. Your essay will be penalised if you do not include a back translation

Translation theory essay topics:

Please note: It is essential to pick a topic from the list or agree a

topic with the module leader by week 10 .

 If you do not use an approved title your essay will be penalised.

 (Please ensure that you relate the theoretical approach discussed in your essay to the translation of one or more specific texts).

  1. Translation cannot be fully understood or described solely on the basis of linguistic issues. Discuss.
  2. Discuss the nature of the difficulties which arise when translating between languages with different syntactic structures.
  3. Can theories of equivalence play a useful role in professional translation?  How useful is the concept
  4. Compare the concept of equivalence with that of adequacy.
  5. Discuss the feasibility and usefulness of the translation brief as proposed by Skopos theory.
  6. Compare two different concepts and approaches in Chinese Translation Theory and Western Translation Theory.
  7. Yan Fu identified three main principles of translation: “fidelity (xin), fluency (da) and elegance (ya). How useful are these principles to the translator?
  8. How relevant is Edward Said’s concept of “Orientalism” to Postcolonial Translation?
  9. Discuss possible translation strategies for the depiction of culture-specific elements in Postcolonial literature
  10. Discuss House’s model of translation quality assessment in terms of its usefulness to (a) educators and (b) professional translators.
  11. Evaluating the product means judging it in terms of two sets of standards: those based on the source text and culture, and those related to the target language/culture. Explore the implications of this statement in relation to Juliane House’s model of translation quality assessment.

Questions on Equivalence Theory

Questions on Nida reading    

  1. How does Nida explain the different stages in the process of translation?
  2. How does Nida categorise the procedures involved in restructuring the message for the Target Audience?
  3. Which statement summarises Nida’s theoretical concept of equivalence?
  4. Investigate what Qian Hu and/or other scholars in non- European cultures say about the issue of equivalence in translation.  Summarise and make a list of key differences in their approach.

(Qian Hu On the Implausibility of Equivalent Response: https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/meta/1992-v37-n2-meta336/003148ar.pdf)

Questions on Anthony Pym “What’s wrong with equivalence?”

Watch the extract on youtube at:


  1. What aspects of equivalence theory does Pym find problematic?
  2. How does he relate Vinay and Darbelnet’s examples of road signs to equivalence theory?
  3. Summarise Pym’s view of the equivalence paradigm.

Translate the following extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone(p.135) into your native/translation language. 

The next morning dawned very bright and cold.  The Great hall was full of the delicious smell of fried sausages and the cheerful chatter of everyone looking forward to a good Quidditch match.

“You’ve got to eat some breakfast.”

“I don’t want anything.”

“Just a bit of toast ,” wheedled Hermione.

“I’m not hungry.”

Harry felt terrible.  In an hour’s time he’d be walking on the pitch.

“Harry, you need your strength,” said Seamus Finnigan.  “Seekers are always the ones who get nobbled by the other team.”

“Thanks, Seamus,” said Harry, watching Seamus pile ketchup on his sausages.

Relate your translation to equivalence theory.  What kind of equivalence have you achieved: equivalence of form or of meaning?

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