Guidelines for a translation project as an Honours dissertation

Students have the option of undertaking a translation project as an alternative to their Honours thesis.

While students are unable to complete Honours entirely within the discipline of Translation & Interpreting Studies (i.e. they enrol in their language studies major discipline), student who are interested in translation or translation studies can choose to focus on translation as part of any LLCL Honours dissertation. Students are required to complete 48 points of study, comprising of a thesis or thesis equivalent and two compulsory coursework units.


Students interested in undertaking a translation studies project as their Honours thesis should speak to the relevant Honours Coordinator for their language discipline before they enrol and/or to members of staff in the Translation & Interpreting Studies Program. In addition to a supervisor from their language discipline, students must be supervised by at least one member from the Translation & Interpreting Studies program.

Students are advised to select a source text for their translation project and to discuss it with their potential supervisor prior to or during the summer break. The break should be used to start on background reading and text analysis.


All students undertaking a translation project in Honours must complete, as one of their coursework units, APG4813 ‘Introducing Translation Studies’. If students then go on to enrol in the Master of Interpreting and Translation Studies, this unit will be credited towards their study plan.


Students complete one of the following:

1)   A translation project (24 points) consisting of a translation of approximately 9,000-10,000 words, with a critical introduction (research commentary) of 6,000-8,000 words. *In the case of poetry translations the text may be considerably shorter, in which case the commentary should be expanded

The project may consist of a series of set texts from a particular genre (e.g., scientific, medical, legal, technical, governmental, journalistic), or students may choose to focus on literary and/or cultural translation, selecting one main text (previously untranslated), in consultation with the supervisor. Students will be expected to translate into their A language.

The critical introduction should include translation issues and theoretical approaches covered in APG4813. It will reflect a critical engagement with the discourse and/or discipline of the original text, as well as an understanding of issues involved in the translation process and an awareness of relevant theoretical frameworks. The research commentary will include a literature review and a description of the methodology employed in the project. It will also include:

a)    A critical preamble that should discuss questions such as why the text was selected; why a translation of this text seems apposite; how this text relates to texts available/not available in the market place; how you approached the translation and why; what difficulties were encountered in the translation process.

b)   A discussion of the application of aspects of translation theory to the text chosen for translation.

c)    Thorough critical annotations to the translation appropriate to the chosen text and the translation approach adopted.

The research commentary may also include a comparative approach to the structure and functioning of texts in different languages-cultures; any other discussion involving theoretical or methodological questions approved by the supervisor. The critical annotations will focus on relevant translation strategies and the linguistic choices involved in the translation.

Students are encouraged to keep a regular ‘diary’ detailing the issues they encounter throughout the translation project in order to assist with the writing of the critical introduction.

2)      A dissertation in translation studies (24 points), consisting of a thesis focusing on an aspect of translation studies

The project may examine an aspect of translation theory about which you advance a thesis and defend your argument. It could also provide a critical assessment of an aspect of translation history or of a published translation, or a comparison and critical assessment of two translations.

For further information, please contact Dr. Leah Gerber (Honours Coordinator, Translation & Interpreting Studies).

Translation Projects undertaken as Honours Dissertations are normally assessed according to the following criteria:

 1. Research Component 60%

 Critical introduction

  • Theoretical framework
  • Critical annotations

2. Translation 40% 

  • Fidelity
  • Fluency
  • Accuracy
  • Appropriate Style
  • Awareness of cultural issues