M.Phil. Literary Translation

Course Description

The MPhil in Literary Translation is a unique opportunity to develop a wide range of practical skills related to translation, while also building a strong understanding of the theory and history of translation thought and a keen critical eye. The programme is based in the Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation, Ireland’s foremost centre for the study and practice of literary and cultural translation. Our students are ideally placed to build professional networks and to see the translation industry from the inside.

The course’s name uses the term “literary”. However, this should not be taken to indicate only novels and poems. In fact, the course’s definition of “literature” is so broad as to include anything that involves human creativity, including video games, subtitles, speeches, comics, and songs.

Translation, and especially the kind of creative translation we develop as part of the MPhil in literary translation, has been a subject of huge interest in recent years, both within academia and in industry. At the same time, the demand for well-qualified translators continues to grow internationally, and this form of translation more than any other is coming to be valued as something that is not easily done by machines.

The MPhil in Literary Translation equips you with the skill to apply translation theory to your literary translation practice in creative and original ways. You will craft a unique portfolio of translations under the guidance of academic and professional mentors. You will take part in team projects, aimed at simulating the realities of the translation industry, and you will be trained in the latest specialist translation tools.

On this varied and demanding course, you will be provided with a wealth of opportunities to develop your understanding of translation, expand your practical translation skills, and prepare either to work in translation or to undertake advanced research.

Checkout our course video to get an idea of what it’s like to be one of our students.

Each student takes all six of the core modules, and chooses two of the option modules. Each student also produces a portfolio and a dissertation under the supervision of specialists.

Core Modules
• Theory and History of Translation
• Linguistic and Textual Analysis
• Aspects of the Profession
• Interlingual Technologies
• Research Training Seminar
• Literary Translation Portfolio

Option Modules
This list may vary year by year and some options may not be available every year
Michaelmas Term (autumn)
• Discovering the Other: East-West Encounters in Translation History
• Translation Studies Methodologies
• Dantean Echoes
• Europe and Its Identities: A Cultural History
• Medieval and Renaissance Foundations of Western Europe
• The Russian Avant-Garde
Hilary Term (spring)
• Madness, Nonsense and Identity in Literature
• European Cinema and Identity
• Don Quixote: Romance, Comedy and the Modern Novel
• Food, Drink and European Cultural Identities
• The Communist Century: Culture, History, Representations
• Postmodernist Literature in East and Central Europe

Each student crafts a portfolio of 8-10 literary texts of their choice, together with short commentaries on the strategies used and how effective these were in reaching their intended goal.

Each student completes a 15-20,000-word dissertation. This dissertation can take the form either of a theoretical analysis of one or more translations, or an experimental translation and commentary, in which a student posits a new way to translate, and demonstrates it.

Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, and practical workshops. The modules are assessed by essays, presentations and projects. There is no examination.

Working languages
English is the common language for all our students, and students must have a demonstrably very high level of English to apply. We do our best to accommodate as broad a range of working languages as possible for our student translators. Our students regularly work with the following languages:

• Bulgarian
• Catalan
• Chinese
• Croatian
• Czech
• Dutch
• French
• German
• Irish
• Italian
• Japanese
• Polish
• Portuguese
• Russian
• Spanish

Places are limited. Therefore, you are encouraged to contact us as early as possible to check whether your working languages are still available for the coming year. We are happy to accept queries from applicants working with languages not listed here, though we cannot guarantee availability.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at Trinity, please visit the Postgraduate Scholarships Website.

Careers and Employability
There is a strong and growing demand for highly-trained translators with the creativity and linguistic prowess to create aesthetically appealing work. Such translators are already sought out not only in the field of literature, but also in the private and public sector, in international organisations, media, and education. We have close ties with many such organisations, and give our students regular opportunities to interact with them.

The programme develops eight key competences that build the practical, professional, and theoretical skill base of students:
1. Transfer competence
The ability to identify issues in translating texts, and to formulate strategies to achieve identified goals.
2. Language competence
The ability to use many variations of both the source and target languages to a very high level of competency.
3. Textual competence
The ability to distinguish and reproduce literary genres and styles.
4. Heuristic competence
The ability to gather the linguistic and thematic knowledge needed to translate.
5. Literary-cultural competence
The ability to apply knowledge about differences between source and target cultures, literary movements and genres while producing translations.
6. Professional competence
The ability to gather knowledge and understanding of working in the field of literary translation.
7. Evaluative competence
The ability to assess and evaluate translation choices and translations' impacts.
8. Research competence
The ability to conduct methodical and rigorous research in translation studies.

These competencies enable our students to pursue careers in the fields of translation and interpreting, as well as localisation, project management, editing, and promoting. Recent graduates have gone on to work as translators, editors and project managers, to work for NGOs, and to pursue advanced research in the form of a PhD.

Why study this degree at Trinity?
Located in the heart of multicultural Dublin, Trinity College provides a uniquely rich environment for studying and researching translation. Trinity has fostered many literary giants over the centuries such as Nobel Prize winner, Samuel Beckett, and has one of the best records for teaching languages in the world. Trinity was even the first university in the world to introduce the study of modern continental languages in 1776.

Our students are taught by translation theorists and language specialists with a highly diverse range of research interests. They also have direct contact with practising translators through our Literary Translator in Residence Scheme, and busy programme of events.

The MPhil in Literary Translation offers an unrivalled degree of freedom. Our students customise their own programmes, follow their own research interests in assignments and dissertations, translate what and how they want to translate in portfolios, and focus on honing the professional skills that are most valuable to them.

Trinity students are highly valued by the translation industry. We organise workshops with our industry partners throughout the year, and offer a long list of opportunities to network and collaborate from the beginning until the end of the degree

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€15,861 Per Year

International student tuition fee

1 Year


Sep 2024

Start Month

Aug 2024

Application Deadline

Upcoming Intakes

  • September 2024

Mode of Study

  • Full Time