Dr Francis Jones
Reader in Translation Studies

  • Email: francis.jones@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7796
  • Address: School of Modern Languages
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle NE1 7RU

Consultation hours

In the vacation, please email me to arrange a consultation.


I teach MA modules in translation studies and research methods, and supervise translation-based PhD projects. My research focuses on poetry translation: especially translating processes and strategies, and how translators work with others within a social-political context. I have a special interest in translation within Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

I translate in my spare time, mainly poetry. I also edit translations, mainly in South Slav culture, politics and philosophy. I work largely from Dutch and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, though I've also translated from German, Hungarian, Russian, and Caribbean creoles. I have about 15 published volumes of translated poetry, several of which have won prizes.


I studied German and Serbo-Croat on my BA at Cambridge, followed by a year researching South Slav poetry at Sarajevo University in former Yugoslavia. After working as a Dutch-English in-house translator, I combined freelance translating with teaching English in the Netherlands and Greece. I joined Exeter University in 1988. I joined Newcastle University in 1990, working initially in foreign-language learning. My work now focuses on translation studies.


PhD, Newcastle University, 1996
MA, Applied Linguistics, Reading University, 1988

PGCE, Manchester Polytechnic, 1980
BA, Modern and Medieval Languages, St. John's College, Cambridge University, 1977

Previous Positions

1990-2001: Lecturer in English as a Foreign Language, Language Centre, Newcastle University
1988-1990: Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, Language Centre, Exeter University
1985-1987: Teacher of English as a Foreign Language, British Council, Thessaloniki, Greece
1981-1985: Teacher of English as a Foreign Language, British Council, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1980-1981: Staff translator (Dutch-English), Bronswerk Airconditioning BV, Amersfoort, Netherlands


The Translators' Association

Honours and Awards

2013: First Prize, John Dryden Translation Competition 

2010: Winner, David Reid Poetry Translation Prize

2008: Runner-up, Vondel Prize for Translation of Dutch literature

2008: Runner-Up, David Reid Poetry Translation Prize

2008: “Publication of the Year” Shield, XX Sarajevo International Book Fair, for Skender Kulenović, Soneti / Sonnets (2007).

2007: Winner, David Reid Poetry Translation Prize

2005: Inaugural Winner, James Brockway Prize for the Translation of Dutch Poetry

2000: Best Translation, Association of Publishers and Booksellers in Bosnia and Herzegovina (for Mak Dizdar's Stone Sleeper).

1999: Winner, Sarajevo April 6th Prize (for Mak Dizdar's Stone Sleeper).

1997: Joint Winner, European Poetry Translation Prize (for Ivan V. Lalić's A Rusty Needle)

1996/7: Commendation, British Comparative Literature Association Translation Competition (for poems by Mak Dizdar)

1994/5: Second Prize, British Comparative Literature Association Translation Competition (for poems by Ivan V. Lalić and Drago Štambuk)

1991: Winner, European Poetry Translation Prize (for Ivan V. Lalić's The Passionate Measure).

1988: Honorable Mention, James S. Holmes Translation Awards, Columbia University (for Hans Faverey's Against the Forgetting).


Near-native: Dutch

Fluent: French, German, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian

Basic knowledge: Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Modern Greek, Russian, Spanish

Informal Interests

Poetry translating
Lute playing

Postgraduate Teaching

All of my teaching is now postgraduate:

SML7001 Translation Studies I
SML8008 Translation Studies II
SML8009 Research Methods for Translating & Interpreting
SML8010 Professional Issues in Translating & Interpreting
SML8012 Translation Practice & Principles
SML8004 Literary Translation

Research Interests

My research is largely inspired by my work as a poetry translator from Dutch and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. It mainly falls into two overlapping areas:

Poetry translation - especially how poetry translators translate and how they work with others, creativity and style, and the social/ethical role of the poetry translator.

South Slav (ex-Yugoslav) area studies, especially in the fields of modern poetry, culture and identity, with a specific interest in Bosnia and Serbia.

Other Expertise

Foreign/second language learning, especially in the field of self-instruction. This was the topic of my Ph.D. thesis (Going it Alone: Self-Instruction in Adult Foreign Language Learning, University of Newcastle, 1996). Though I am no longer researching in this area, it still interests me from a practical viewpoint.

Current Work

I'm now working on how ideology is expressed in published poetry translations - via the context of translation, and/or via the translator's decisions whilst actually translating. I'm also interested in exploring the processes of poets translating poets.

Supervising postgraduate research students

I am now co-supervising four research degrees (PhD, MLitt) - in machine-translation revision, the translation of literary slang, translation of 'banned' books, and emotion in interpreting. Fourteen of my PhD students have now graduated: most are now working in universities themselves.

Please contact me, as Head of the Translation and Interpreting Section, if you have any questions about postgraduate research in translation orinterpreting at Newcastle.

I am eager to supervise PhD, MPhil or MLitt projects that fall within my research interests - especially

  • literary translation (especially poetry)
  • translation and ideology, politics, identity or culture
  • social and interpersonal aspects of the translator’s or interpreter’s work
  • translation and translation-editing processes

This can be based around

  • any language taught at our School, especially Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Modern Greek, Hungarian
  • for other languages, please email me (unfortunately, we cannot supervise Arabic or Farsi-based projects).

Esteem Indicators

To date, over 30 conference plenary papers, guest lectures, seminar chairs and workshops on literary translation. To date, over 25 readings of own poetry translations.

Honorary Board Member, International Forum Bosnia (academic network)

Steering Committee Member, Mak Dizdar Foundation, Bosnia

Panel member, Bosnian Book of the Year (2000-2005).

Assessor for Translators’ List, Foundation for Production and Translation of Dutch Literature.

Jury member, Corneliu Popescu Prize for the Translation of European Poetry (2007)

Committee Member, The Translators' Association (2005-2007)

Jury member, Vondel Prize for the Translation of Dutch Literature (1996-2003)

Studio 99, Sarajevo: TV programme “Engagement and aesthetics: dilemmas of the literary translator”: presenter of introductory lecture and panel discussant (2001)

Studio 99, Sarajevo: TV programme devoted to my translation of Mak Dizdar’s Stone Sleeper (1999)

Chair, biennial Nobel Seminar, Swedish Academy, Stockholm, 1998 (theme: translating of poetry and poetic prose)


British Academy Small Research Grant £7263 (2006): analysing think-aloud recordings of Dutch-English poetry translators.