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Introduction to Translation Studies


Admission requirements

Students should be sufficiently proficient in English and Dutch. This course is part of the minor Translation and cannot be taken separately.


‘Beautiful translations are like beautiful women, that is to say, they are not always the most faithful ones.’ Whatever one might think about this tongue in cheek comparison between beautiful women and beautiful translations by the British literary critic and cultural philosopher George Steiner, this quotation may serve as an illustration of the debate on free versus literal translations that has dominated the world of translation for centuries. Translation theorists, critics and, of course, translators themselves have been occupied with the problem of whether a translator should translate literally or freely. But what do we actually understand by literal and free translations? This is just one of the many fascinating questions that we will be discussing throughout the course. The course covers a wide range of issues and debates in translation studies and aims to provide students with an overview of the history of translation studies, different translation theories and various approaches to translating. Some translators claim that they do not need to know anything about translation studies or theories, just as you do not need to know anything about an engine to be able to drive a car. On the other hand, one might argue that if translators are more aware of the different choices they have when making a translation – whether it be a novel, a poem or a legal document – they will be able to produce a better translation. That is why this course does not only focus on translation theory as such; in tutorials, we will also apply various methods and approaches to different texts.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the most important translation theories and areas of applied translation studies

  • Ability to critically reflect on different translation theories

  • Ability to apply the methods and strategies discussed in some of these theories


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


2 written exams




Written examination

Students are only allowed to resit the exam if their mark is a 5.0 or lower.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than three tutorials means that students will be excluded from taking the exam (or essay or other assignments) and resits. Consequently, the course cannot be completed during that particular academic year. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.

Reading list

  • Olohan, Maeve. 2021. Translation and Practice Theory. London and New York: Routledge.

  • In addition, the reader will be made available on Brightspace at the start of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Routledge, the publisher of Introducing Translation Studies, regularly publishes new editions. You are recommended to buy the latest edition available.