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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 Dishonesty

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.

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.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. 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:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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.

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. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

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