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Literary Translation: The Familiar and the Foreign


Admission requirements

This course is open only to students registered for the Translation in Theory and Practice specialization.


According to Anthony Burgess “literature cannot be translated, only the appearance of literature, the arrangement on a page of words which do a minimal job, that of describing action, feelings, and dialogue of a fairly easily translatable kind.” Will we be able to prove him wrong?

In this course we will try our hand at the translation of two types of prose: short stories and novels. We will be casting our net as widely as possible: while the short stories will range from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century, the novels will be from different parts of the English-speaking world. The novels that we will be translating feature a great deal of dialogue and a combination of ‘the familiar and the foreign’, allowing us to explore the translation of different registers, including dialects, sociolects and idiolects.

Students are required to prepare a translation and stylistic analysis for discussion in tutorial.

Course objectives

  1. Skill in translation literary texts from English into Dutch.
    1. Ability to apply one’s knowledge and understanding of stylistics in translating a literary text.
    2. Ability to apply one’s knowledge of translation theories in translating literary texts.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

time spent on attending seminars : 28 hours
time for studying the compulsory literature: 42 hours
time to prepare for the translations and course assignments (including reading/research): 210 hours

Assessment Method

Average of two submitted annotated translations 100%

Resit: students who fail the course may resit the translations.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

Leech, Geoffrey (2008). Language in Literature: Style and Foregrounding. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.”


Enrolment in uSis is obligatory. If you have any questions, please contact the student administration, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

When registering, students that are registered for the specialisation that this course belongs to, or the Research Master, take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the coordinator of studies


MA Linguistics departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail