The MA in Literary Translation at The University of East Anglia (UEA) is unique in that it both combines translation practice with translation theory and also specifically looks at the link between the two. Should translators know about theory? Does theory describe what translators do or is it a practical tool that the translator can use? These are some of the questions we consider throughout the programme, recently described by its external examiner Dr Francis Jones as "deservedly a UK leader in literary translation studies". Many of our MA students go on to become practising translators, or to teach translation. Others work in areas related to translation, such as publishing or the media.
Why Study Literary Translation at UEA?
The MA in Literary Translation (MALT) is based in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, whose members teach and research in English and World Literature (including French, German, Indian, and other literatures), Literary Translation, Literary Theory and Creative Writing. It is home to the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) and the international John Dryden Translation Competition. The School has a reputation for excellence in teaching and research and is highly-ranked in the National Students' Survey. Of particular interest to MALT students is our annual programme of readings, visits and residencies by writers and translators. BCLT runs a Summer School which MALT students can attend at a reduced rate, and there is also the opportunity, at a very reasonable cost, to learn a language in the School of Language and Communication Studies. Students on the MA in Literary Translation can also take part in the BCLT Internship programme.
Course Content and Structure
The MA is a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course, that provides an academic qualification for professional translators and is also a good basis for further research. Few other taught courses in Literary Translation in the UK combine practical work with a strong emphasis on stylistic and cultural issues. MALT consists of four modules: Stylistics for Translators, Translation Theory, Case Studies, Process and Product in Translation. In the first semester, students also assemble a dossier of their translations for submission to a tutor, an expert in their source or target language. This, like the practical Translation Workshops, is a non-assessed element. The Workshops on varied topics include translation editing, and a member of the Translators Association advises on how to approach a publisher. Students also have the opportunity to join the editing team for our journal Norwich Papers. Arc Publications’ Visible Poets series of bilingual poetry books is edited by Jean Boase-Beier in the School, and provides useful study material. Some of our best former students have been published by Arc; others have published translations of children’s literature, novels and drama. Many have won awards for their work.
Students may work with any languages, as long as these include English. We have many language specialists in the School and the Humanities Faculty, as well as external assessors. Modules are assessed by essay, and there is a 15,000 to 20,000 word dissertation, either a translation with commentary or a critical essay. Work on the dissertation, with a supervisor, begins for full-time students in the spring and goes on until the beginning of September.
The Course Team
Many members of the School and the Faculty are practising translators or work in translation. Those who currently contribute substantially to MALT, with their main areas of interest, are:
- Professor Jean Boase-Beier, Convenor (stylistics; translation theory; modern German and English poetry and translation);
- Dr Valerie Henitiuk (East/West cultural exchange; gendered translation; translation history/reception);
- Dr George Szirtes (poet and translator;; the relationship between poetry and art);
- Dr BJ Epstein (translation studies; children's literature; lgbtq literature; contemporary Scandinavian literature).
We also have a very dynamic body of PhD students working in Literary Translation. Past and current topics include: the translation of Russian poetry, Ancient Greek drama translation, the translation of Turkish idioms, Japanese feminist translation.
What Our Past Students Say
“… the course was stimulating, enjoyable and I met some really interesting people. And it does lead to jobs! I've just done some extracts for an anthology on memory, edited by AS Byatt.” Bridget Patterson
“The year with literary translation was very special to me. It meant the fulfilment of a dream: spending twelve months talking and writing about my greatest passion - translation.” Henriette Heise
“At the end of this well-organised MA course, I know why I'm translating the way I am. “ Jon Lindsay Miles
The School has a reputation for excellence in teaching and research and is highly-ranked in the National Students' Survey.