History of Translation - 2nd semester


This course provides an overview of the history of translation within the Western tradition from its earliest manifestations in Antiquity through to the middle of the 20th century. It aims to give a sense of both the perennial questions facing translators in all periods, and particular issues deriving from certain specific socio-political and cultural contexts. Special attention will be given to role played by translation in the development of national cultures, transmission of knowledge, and in provoking social change, as well as to particular individuals (translators and theorists) that have marked the history of translation in some way. An important secondary aim will be to develop students’ analytical abilities through practical activities that encourage independent thinking and critical engagement with texts and ideas. Hence, a number of lessons will be devoted to practical criticism of translations in their historical context, and theoretical writings about translation.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Karen Bennett


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



This course is taught in English, so students require a passive competence in that language (reading and auditory comprehension).


Bassnett, S. (1991/1980). Translation Studies, Rev. Edition. London and New York: Routledge.
Deslisle, J. & J. Woodsworth (ed) (2012). Translators through History. Revised edition. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Hayes, J. C (2009). Translation, Subjectivity & Culture in France and England, 1600-1800. California: Stanford U.P.
Montgomery, S. (2000). Science in Translation: Movements of Knowledge through Cultures and Times. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Steiner, G. (1998/1975) After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
Venuti, L. (1995). The Translator´s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London & New York: Routledge.
Weissbort, D. and A. Eysteinsson (eds) 2006. Translation – Theory
and Practice: A Historical Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Teaching method

Where possible, the teaching will be student-centred, involving textual analysis, group discussion, problem-solving and task-based activities, supplemented by mini-lectures for the purpose of contextualization. Students will be asked to do reading and on-line research in their own time in preparation for the lessons. Describe the teaching methods
In class teaching

Evaluation method

Written assignment (40%); Written exam (60%)

Subject matter

Introductory Module:
- General introduction
- Introduction to practical criticism
Module 1. Antiquity:
- Introduction to Bible translation
- Cicero and the Rhetorical Tradition
- Jerome
Module 2. The Middle Ages:
- Medieval translation theory
- The Schools of Toledo and Baghdad
- The Wyclife Bible
- Translation and the development of the printing press
Module 3. The Early Modern period:
- Early Modern translation theory
- Early Modern Bibles
- Joachim du Bellay and La Pléiade
Module 4. 17th and 18th centuries
- French Neoclassicism and the ´belles infidèles´
- Sir John Denham (translation as propaganda)
- John Dryden
Module 5. The 19th century
- German Romanticism
- The Newman-Arnold Controversy
Module 6. The first half of the 20th century
- The Hermeneutic Tradition
- E.V.Rieu and the Penguin Classics


Programs where the course is taught: