School of Modern Languages

Translation & Interpreting

Translation and Interpreting

Overview

Translation and Interpreting studies is a multi-faceted inter-discipline, where different fields interact and spark ideas from each other.

Among the key interests for our community of staff and student researchers are:

  • literary translation
  • professional translation and interpreting
  • translation, language and culture
  • translation, society and identity
  • translator and interpreter training and assessment

In today’s world, trade and culture are becoming ever more globalised. This gives an ever-growing role for translating and interpreting.

Hence our main research purpose is quite simply to find out more about how translating and interpreting works in a professional, language and cultural sense.

As well as expanding academic knowledge in this field, our findings feed directly into our translator and interpreter training programmes.

Primary questions

Professionally, our research tackles a variety of issues around translating and interpreting, such as:

  • theories of ‘professionalism’ and ‘expertise’ for literary and non-literary translators, and for interpreters
  • looking at how translators translate and interpreters interpret
  • investigating how their skills and strategies vary with different types of text
  • assessing whether translators and interpreters can be trained and assessed

We work in a wide range of languages. This enables us to focus on issues involving these languages’ users.

These include exploring the role of literary and religious translating in nation-building, identity, conflict and reconstruction.

Another issue is mapping the field of translating and interpreting to the world economy and world culture.

Socioculturally, we explore issues of contact and communication which are crucial to the modern world. 

These include how translators communicate but also shape images of other peoples, times and cultures.

We also look at how translation interacts with other social and cultural processes, for example:

  • identity and ideology
  • the global spread of religious ideas
  • the struggle between monoethnicity and cultural diversity as a basis for society
T&I students have access to our state-of-the-art facilities.

Aims

Our primary research purpose is to find out more about how translating and interpreting works, in a professional, language and cultural sense.

In today’s world, trade and culture are becoming ever more globalised. This gives an ever-growing role for translating and interpreting.

Professionalism

Professionally, our research tackles cutting-edge questions of what translators and interpreters do and believe, such as:

  • what ‘professionalism’ means for translators and interpreters
  • what skills do translation and interpreting professionals have
  • how these skills vary depending on the type of text (technical, literary, etc)
  • how translators and interpreters can be trained and assessed

As well as expanding academic knowledge in this field, our findings feed directly into our translator and interpreter training programmes.

Language

We carry out a large amount of research into translating and interpreting between Chinese and English.

In terms of postgraduate research, we are probably the leading university working in this language pair outside the Chinese-speaking world.

These two languages, of course, are crucially important to the world economy and world culture.

Chinese-English translation and interpreting is a huge and growing professional field where, quite simply, more needs to be known.

We also carry out cutting-edge research on translation from Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, the main languages of former Yugoslavia, into English.

Our key aim here is to find out the role of translating (particularly literary translating) during conflict, reconstruction and nation-building.

Culture

We explore issues of contact and communication which are crucial to the modern world, such as:

  • how translators communicate but also shape images of other peoples and cultures
  • how translators bridge geographic distances and time gaps (between past and present)
  • how literary translation can influence social and cultural processes within a country

Postgraduate Opportunities

In the modern world, communication across different cultures and languages is crucial. This means that skilled and qualified translators and interpreters are in high demand.

We offer postgraduate training in translation and interpreting to help you develop career skills in this exciting field.

We also offer research supervision to help you explore more deeply how translating and interpreting works.

Currently we have more than 100 postgraduate students enrolled on our Translating and Interprering programmes.

Our students benefit from our excellent facilities and expert staff.

This programme has a dedicated Postgraduate Office, common room and state-of-the-art resource centre.

The University's main library has an excellent collection of literature on translation and interpreting studies, including e-journals.

We organise study visits and internship work placements. We help our students to practice their skills at real conferences and take up commercial translation assignments when opportunities arise.

For further information and informal enquiries contact our Postgraduate Officer, Mrs. Aisling Hood.

Staff

The following members of staff work within the Translation and Interpreting research theme in the School of Modern Languages.

Dr Ya-Yun Chen
Lecturer in Chinese Interpreting and Translating

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3548

Biyu (Jade) Du
Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0)191 20 88303

Dr Michael Jin
Lecturer in Translation & Interpreting

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8733

Dr Francis Jones
Reader in Translation Studies

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7796

Eric Liu
Senior Lecturer

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6735

Dr Valerie Pellatt
Reader Chinese Translation Interpreting

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6862

Dr Fred Wu
Senior Lecturer in Translating & Interpreting

Email:
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6936

Phoebe Yu
Lecturer in Translating and Interpreting

Email:
Telephone: 0191 208 8957

Conferences

We organise various conferences and seminars for colleagues to meet, share experiences and have discussion. Below are a list of past events and conferences.

Talking to the World, The Relevance of Translation and Interpreting (2015)

Communication is more likely to be relevant when it is contextualised, as forms of communication, translation and interpreting take place in various contexts for various purposes.

One challenge facing translators and interpreters today is how they locate themselves in communication where contextual information is shared or must be provided.

They need to look at how they locate themselves in the wider real world where contexts are constantly created, negotiated and re-created.

Translators and interpreters have demonstrated their relevance in post-conflict reconciliation and prosperity in history. Their role is even more relevant in today’s world.

With the interests in emerging markets growing, a new world order in the making, and the threat from extreme climate change, there are bigger demands for high-calibre translators and interpreters. 

They need to be well equipped to break communication barriers in seeking solutions and safe-guarding common interests of all people and countries.

This expectation encourages us to contemplate the challenges facing translator and interpreter education around the world. With this in mind, the central theme of this conference was relevance.

Talking to the World 2015, Keynote Abstracts (PDF: 440KB)
Talking to the World 2015, video and pictures (Facebook)

Talking to the World, Televic Simultaneous Interpreting Competition (2014)

This competition gave interpreting students the chance to test their skills in front of a real audience. It created a platform for them to exchange their learning experiences as professional interpreters. 

It took place in the state-of-the-art Televic Interpreting Suite at Newcastle University.

In the first round of the competition, 24 contestants competed in three heats. Nine competitors were selected for the semi-final, from which five contestants emerged as the finalists. 

The panel of judges included experienced conference interpreting practitioners and educators from world-leading interpreter education institutions and international organisations. They gave comments and feedback to the participants.

Talking to the World 2014, Competition Poster (PDF: 400KB)  
Talking to the World 2014, Keynote Abstract (PDF: 550KB)

Talking to the World (2013)

The aim of this conference was to identify the landscape of the profession, and see how education in translating and interpreting can be improved for the next generation.

The conference discussed issues related to working in a world that is fast changing, economically, politically and technologically.

It also examined how interpreter education in universities is developing with the new demands of the profession, and how effective teaching, continuous assessment and testing are major goals for today’s educators. 

Talking to the World 2013, Keynote Abstracts (PDF: 450KB)