Skip to main content


SML8024 : Translator Entrepreneur (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr JC Penet
  • Lecturer: Dr Jennifer Arnold
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Recent surveys estimate that 70-80% of students with an MA in Translation Studies end up working in the freelance market. As a matter of fact, the market for budding translators has changed beyond all recognition in the last decade. When many would-be translators used to leave university with a degree to join in-house translation departments, there are far fewer in-house translation positions these days and competition is fierce among MA graduates. The fast changing global and highly competitive world of freelance translation demands creative, enterprising and entrepreneurial people with a range of high-level technical skills. Many students on MA Translation programmes, however, still feel ill-equipped in business and interpersonal skills (e.g. negotiating with clients, dealing with colleagues, marketing etc.) upon graduating.

Building upon the practical awareness and working expertise already developed by students on SML8023, this module will allow students to see the strong link between the skills they develop for employability and those directly related to business start-up and self-employment. The module is not just for freelancers; it is designed to equip students with employers’ competency requirements to work in industry and provide them with the opportunity to hone the key business and interpersonal skills necessary to operate in the language service industry. To achieve this, they will work in small teams on a practical real-world translation project which will then be presented to academic staff and industry professionals at a Trade Fair.

Key Aims

1. To help students to identify, reflect upon and develop their entrepreneurial abilities and skills through working in teams on a real life business challenge.

2. To prepare students for a career where their income is likely to be generated from translation related activity.

3. To create opportunities for team-based experiential learning and for assessing risk; providing inspiration and confidence for students as they embark on their professional careers.

4. To provide both academic and industry based mentoring and guidance for students as they plan and present their team project.

5. To encourage students to engage directly with the professional bodies and associations in the translation industry to seek advice on a range of professional issues (marketing, intellectual property, legal or ethical considerations etc.)

6. To help students develop a practical understanding of quality assessment and ethics as essential considerations for the success of a translation business.

7. To help students develop the necessary networking and collaborative for a successful career in the language industry.

8. To enable students to put together their personal practical toolkit of resources (undertaking market research, pricing their work, negotiating with clients and marketing their business)

Outline Of Syllabus

• Introduction to the module
• Creative idea generation
• Researching and evaluating your idea
• Business planning and development
• Marketing
• Presenting team business idea at a simulated Trade Fair

The module will also include team business meetings with mentors and student-led project development sessions.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture42:008:00Present-in-person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion136:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00Present-in-person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork16:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Online or Present-in-person
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity140:0040:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Working in small teams towards the presentation of a translation business at a Trade Fair provides the practical hub of the students’ learning experience. This will facilitate problem-based learning through which student will gain practical insight into and direct experience of business creation, development and presentation.

• Lectures: Delivered jointly by academic staff, entrepreneurial development staff and external practitioners to introduce key theories and methodologies.
• Seminars: practical, interactive such as the World Café to facilitate application of new skills and theories.
• Drop in surgeries: individual support and mentoring for teams from the Entrepreneurial Development Unit as they develop their team project.
• Independent study: independent reading of relevant literature on entrepreneurship in general and freelance translating in particularly as well as reflective writing in preparation for assessment.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M50Team presentation in the form of a Trade Stand at a simulated Trade Fair event.
Report2M501200 word individual Reflective Report that evidences their personal contribution to the business project.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Trade Stand: Students will present their business idea in teams to an invited audience of practitioners, academics and fellow students at a Trade Fair held by the University. This will include an element of peer assessment. Students will be expected to articulate the skills and knowledge they have developed throughout the module as well as their business idea; supported by a range of media. The translation business project will evidence their understanding of the translation services market, taking into account financial, ethical and quality control issues as well as translation technology.
Trade Stand: Alternative assessment if Covid-19 does not allow for it: Students will submit a collective annotated PowerPoint presentation (duration: 15mn maximum) that presents their business idea. They will be expected to articulate the skills and knowledge they have developed throughout the module as well as their business idea. The presentation can include a range of other media (e.g. hyperlinks to website(s), documents, videos etc.) that support their presentation.

Reflective report: The report will require students to reflect on the group project in a way that will help them engage with the intended knowledge outcomes. This will also provide them with a platform from which they will be expected to both identify and critically analyse the way in which personal learning from the module will inform their individual careers.

Reading Lists