Literary Translation

Course Description
The MPhil in Literary Translation is a unique opportunity to develop a wide range of practical skills related to translation, while also building a strong understanding of the theory and history of translation thought and a keen critical eye. The programme is based in the Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation, where students work alongside our partners: Ireland's institute for the promotion of translation, Literature Ireland and Ireland's foremost publisher of literary translations, Dalkey Archive Press. Our students are ideally placed to build professional networks and to see the translation industry from the inside.

Translation, and especially literary translation, has been a subject of huge interest in recent years, both within academia and in industry. At the same time, the demand for well-qualified translators continues to grow internationally. The MPhil in Literary Translation equips you with the skill to apply translation theory to your literary translation practice in creative and original ways. You will craft a unique portfolio of translations under the guidance of academic and professional mentors. You will take part in team projects, aimed at simulating the realities of the translation industry, and you will be trained in the latest specialist translation tools.
On this varied and demanding course, you will be provided with a wealth of opportunities to develop your understanding of translation, expand your practical translation skills, and prepare either to work in translation or to undertake advanced research.

All students complete a 15-20,000-word dissertation. This dissertation can take the form either of a theoretical analysis of one or more translations, or an experimental translation and commentary, in which a student posits a new way to translate, and demonstrates it.

Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, and practical workshops. The modules are assessed by essays, presentations and projects.

Working languages
English is the common language for all our students, and students must have a demonstrably very high level of English to apply. We do our best to accommodate as broad a range of working languages as possible for our student translators. Our students regularly work with the following languages:

Places are limited. Therefore, you are encouraged to contact us as early as possible to see whether your working languages can be accommodated. We are happy to accept queries from applicants working with languages not listed here, though we cannot guarantee availability.

The programme develops eight key competences that build the practical, professional, and theoretical skill base of students:

1. Transfer competence
The ability to identify issues in translating texts, and to formulate strategies to achieve identified goals.

2. Language competence
The ability to use many variations of both the source and target languages to a very high level of competency.

3. Textual competence
The ability to distinguish and reproduce literary genres and styles.

4. Heuristic competence
The ability to gather the linguistic and thematic knowledge needed to translate.

5. Literary-cultural competence
The ability to apply knowledge about differences between source and target cultures, literary movements and genres while producing translations.

6. Professional competence
The ability to gather knowledge and understanding of working in the field of literary translation.

7. Evaluative competence
The ability to assess and evaluate translation choices and translations' impacts.

8. Research competence
The ability to conduct methodical and rigorous research in translation studies.
These competencies enable our students to pursue careers in the fields of translation and interpreting, as well as project management, editing, and promoting. Recent graduates have gone on to work as translators, editors and project managers, to work for NGOs, and to pursue advanced research in the form of a PhD.

Why study this degree at Trinity?
Located in the heart of multicultural Dublin, Trinity College provides a uniquely rich environment for studying and researching translation in all its aspects. Trinity has fostered many literary giants over the centuries such as Nobel Prize winner, Samuel Beckett, and has one of the best records for teaching languages in the world. Trinity was even the first university in the world to introduce the study of modern continental languages in 1776.

Our students are taught by translation theorists and language specialists with a highly diverse range of research interests. They also have direct contact with practising translators through our Literary Translator in Residence Scheme, and busy programme of events.

The MPhil in Literary Translation offers an unrivalled degree of freedom. Our students customise their own programmes, follow their own research interests in assignments and dissertations, translate what and how they want to translate in portfolios, and focus on honing the professional skills that are most valuable to them.

Trinity students are highly valued by the translation industry. We organise workshops with our industry partners throughout the year, and offer a long list of opportunities to network and collaborate from the beginning until the end of the degree.

Entry requirements

•A minimum 2.1 honours class degree from an Irish university or its international equivalent.
•A demonstrable working knowledge of two or more languages
•For candidates who are not native English speakers and have not completed a degree through the medium of English, a minimum IELTS score of at least 6.5 in each category or its equivalent.


1 year full-time

Careers or further progression

Careers and Employability
There is a strong and growing demand for highly-trained translators with the creativity and linguistic prowess to create aesthetically appealing work. Such translators are already sought out not only in the field of literature, but also in the private and public sector, in international organisations, media, and education. We have close ties with many such organisations, and give our students regular opportunities to interact with them.

Further enquiries

Course Director Dr. James Hadley 
Telephone Number +353-1-896 3225 

Subjects taught

Core Modules
•Theory and History of Translation
•Linguistic and Textual Analysis
•Aspects of the Profession
•Interlingual Technologies
•Research Training Seminar

Optional Modules
•Discovering the Other: East-West Encounters in Translation History
•Dantean Echoes
•Cultures of Memory and Identity in Central Europe
•Translation Studies Methodologies
•The Russian Avant Garde
•Postmodernist Literature in East and Central Europe
•Cultures and Representations of the Mafia
•The Semiotics of the Alphabet
•Medieval Translation Theory and Practice

Application date

Closing Date 30 June 2019

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake September 2019

Application and next steps

Applications are open from November until June and you may apply at any point. However, the course's applications committee operates on the basis of three application blocks. All the applications received during any one block are collated and assessed together soon after the deadline for that block has passed. Then places are offered to the best applicants on a first-come first-served basis. Places are limited, and for that reason, it is recommended that you apply during the earliest block you can. The deadlines for the various blocks are:
1.Michaelmas Block (November - January) Deadline: 30th January
2.Hilary Block (January - April) Deadline: 30th April
3.Trinity Block (April - June) Deadline: 30th June

Required Materials
For this course, you will need to prepare these materials to apply:
Stage 1 Document The Stage 1 Document is available here. It includes sections on the languages you intend to work with, a personal statement, and a sample translation. Please complete it in full.
When we assess your application, we would like to know:
•that you are able to pick up on and reproduce the idiosyncrasies of a literary text in another language
•that you have a broad lexical resource
•that you can create a translation with a high degree of cohesion
•that you can understand and use a large number of grammatical structures accurately
•what experience, understanding and skills you can bring to the programme
•why you would like to study literary translation at the postgraduate level
•why you would like to study literary translation at Trinity
•how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
•what you would like to do with your degree

The personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme delivers.
Sample of academic writing You will require a sample of around 2,500 words of your best academic writing in English.
When we assess your application, we would like to know:
•that you are able to build an academic argument
•that you are able to create a logical structure to your argument
•that you can critically analyse others' options and the evidence you see
•that you have a good understanding of the apparatus of academic writing, including referencing, quoting, signposting, and using a bibliography
•that your command of academic English is strong

English language qualifications Unless you have completed a degree through the medium of English or are a native speaker, you are required to prove your proficiency with the language.
Trinity prefers IELTS, but will accept alternative tests run by international organisations, such as TOEFL.
Degree certificate(s) You will require the certificates that prove you have completed all of the degrees you mention in your application. If you haven't yet completed your degree, you can still apply and supply these documents when you have them.
Degree transcripts You will need official transcripts showing all of the components you have completed as part of your degree(s).

Two reference letters You should ask two people who are not related to you to write letters of reference, recommending you for this course and laying out why you would be a good candidate.

Online application form
Once you have all of these materials, please fill out the online application form in full and upload the materials as attachments.

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