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SML8009 : Research Methods in Translating and Interpreting

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michael Jin
  • Lecturer: Professor Francis Jones, Ms Jessica Rainey, Miss Noelia or Lia Cacheiro Quintas, Dr Jade Biyu Du, Dr Jennifer Arnold
  • Other Staff: Miss Louise Cowan
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


For students to:
- have a working knowledge of a range of methods for translation and interpreting studies research
- have a working knowledge of basic descriptive statistics
- have the knowledge and skills needed to design and write up a dissertation or Translating/Interpreting Project

This module aims to prepare you to research and write an MA dissertation or Project Commentary in translating/interpreting studies, and will give you a grounding if you are doing an MPhil/PhD thesis in this field. You will learn how to use a range of research methods and library search tools, how to build your own EndNote bibliographic database, and how to use Excel for graphs and simple statistics. You will also learn about the specific chapter-by-chapter features of dissertations and project commentaries. The module is not language-specific.

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Advanced academic writing skills
2.       Endnote: organising reading & references.
3.       TurnItIn checks to avoid plagiarism
4.       Library skills
5.       Types of research, key concepts. Structure of dissertations and projects.
6.       Aims, objectives, hypotheses. Planning research.
7.       Text studies.
8.       Questionnaires and interviews.
9.       Think-alouds; studying translating and interpreting strategies
10.       Sampling, variables, validity, reliability.
11.       Ethnography, observation, networks
12.       Research ethics and dealing with people.
13.       Reflexivity, researcher-as-subject studies, case studies.
14.       Projects: From Portfolio to Commentary
15.       Statistics and graphs with Excel
16.       Write-up chapter structure.

Topic 1 above is for new Chinese T&I students only; Topics 2-3 are for new Chinese T&I students and European Translation students only (Chinese T&I students continuing from Year 1 had this input in SML7001).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Present in Person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:301:30Present-in-Person
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading20:301:00Library skills work, preparation/follow-up to live sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops101:0010:00Present-In-Person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study157:0057:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk10:300:30Non-Synchronous Online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A short module talk introduces students to the module and explains learning/teaching methods. This is Non-Synchronous Online for students’ convenience (the first teaching sessions are only for a sub-set of students: see Syllabus above). The combination of lectures and workshops enables students to get a combination of lecturer input, mini practical tasks and discussion, thus building up their knowledge and practical research skills. Library skills work develops study skills. Here, non-synchronous online work supports the linked live sessions. The former involves looking at information on various techniques, where it is better for students to do this at their own pace, and to have the online materials available to refer to afterwards.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2M100Research proposal for Dissertation/Project, including review of research methods (1750 words). Due at the end of the taught sessions
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Research proposal2M300-word initial Outline Plan of Dissertation/Project.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This tests both the students' knowledge of methodological principles and their ability to apply the principles and techniques learned to a real-life research project. It also motivates them into producing a practical working proposal for the subsequent Dissertation or Translating/Interpreting Project.

Reading Lists