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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Askey


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 602

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27133

Office Hours: Mon 10-12; Wed 5:30-6:30

Course Objectives:

Course Description: The course offers practice in the translation of literary and non-literary texts (English to German and German to English). The practical component will be accompanied by an overview of different theories of translation in Western culture, with particular emphasis on the German approach to the study of language.


The students will analyse how translation needs to reconcile the knowledge of the world implied by the original text and the knowledge of the reader of the translated text, focussing on what the translator has to provide in form of footnotes, annotation etc. Most of the time will be used for in-class translation of short passages (English-German and German-English, dictionaries allowed), followed by a general discussion of these translations. We shall also explore the advantages and shortcomings of various on-line translation devices available on the Internet.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Materials from Avenue; a good German-English dictionary

Method of Assessment:

Grade distribution:

Attendance & Participation                                                  20%

Midterm                                                                                 15%

Workshopped translations  ( 5 x 5%)                               25%

Group presentation                                                              15%

Final project                                                                           25%    

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1: January 5, 7

Course objectives

Translated literature in our world Group assignments

Fairy tale translation workshop

Week 2: January 12, 14

Workshop: Finish fairy tale translation Translation studies

Translating Literature

Venuti, “Introduction. Translation Studies, an Emerging Discipline.”

Allen & Bernofsky, “Introduction. A Culture of Translation.” 

Due: Jan 14

Fairy tale translation into English

Week 3: January 19, 21

Technicalities of Translation:

Handwriting, Typeface, Genre, age

Bassnett, “Translating Prose”

Reiss, “Type, Kind and Individuality of Text: Decision Making in Translation”

Vinay & Darbelnet, “A Methodology for Translation” Literature for Children: 

Workshop translations into German. 

Alice in Wonderland


Harry Potter


Handwriting and typescript reading exercise

Week 4: January 26, 28

Guest lecture: Literary Translation Workshop: Finish Alice or Harry Due: Jan 28

Children’s story translation into German; reflection paper

Week 5: February 2, 4

Translation in German culture: 

Schleiermacher, “On the Different Methods of Translating”

Goethe, “Translations”

Allen, “The Will to Translate. Four Episodes in a Local History of Global Cultural Exchange” Group Projects: translation culture in German and English-speaking contexts (workshop day)

Week 6: February 9, 11

German literature in translation: 

Erich Kästner, Emil und die Detektive

Michael Ende, Die Unendliche Geschichte

Cornelia Funke, Tintenherz Workshop: select Funke, Ende, or Kästner to translate


February 16, 18 READING WEEK NO CLASS!!


Week 7: February 23, 25

Computer translations: can use to supplement work on Funke, Ende, Kästner Midterm

Week 8: March 2, 4

Lefevere: “Mother Courage’s Cucumbers: Text, System and Refraction in a Theory of Literature”

Spivak, “The Politics of Translation” Workshop: Funke, Ende, Kästner Due: March 4

Translation into English; reflection paper

Week 9: March 9, 11

Guest lecture: practical translation Workshop: translating non-literary texts Due: March 11 translation of practical text

Week 10: March 16, 18

Presentations on translation culture


Week 11: March 23, 25

One German or two? Language in FRG and GDR

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Workshop: Zonenkinder and/or Aller Tage Abend

Week 12: March 30, April 1

Final Project selection:

Rationale, choices, plan Workshop: final project Due: March 30

Zonenkinder or Aller Tage Abend translation; reflection 

Week 13: April 6, 8

Class Evaluations Present: draft/selection from final project