School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Professor Francis Jones

Professor of Translation Studies


Consultation hours

Please email me for an appointment.


I teach translation & interpreting studies, and research methods, and I supervise PhD projects in translation & interpreting studies. 

I am also Director of Post-Graduate Taught courses at the School of Modern Languages.

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 from Dutch and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian.

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 University , 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.


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

PGCE, Manchester Polytechnic, 1980
BA, Modern and Medieval Languages (Serbo-Coat and German), 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

Almost all of my teaching is postgraduate:

SML7001 Translation Studies I

SML8008 Translation Studies II

SML8009 Research Methods in Translating & Interpreting

SML8023 Profession, Processes and Society 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. Also, identity, ideology 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 working on a project "Poetry translation in poet-advisor-poet trios: collaborative, cross-language and creative processes". This explores how Dutch and UK poets translate each other's work with the help of 'language advisors' (bilingual translators). My co-researchers work in creative writing at Newcastle University's School of English, and at Roehampton University. This work is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

I'm also researching poetry translators' working networks with poets and other translators.

Supervising postgraduate research students

I am now co-supervising four PhD students - in the translation of post-colonial Dutch novels, the translation of 'banned' books, emotion in interpreting, and interpreter training. Fifteen of my PhD students and one MLitt student have now graduated: most are now working in universities themselves.

Please contact me if you have any questions about postgraduate research in translation or interpreting 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).