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German Translation Practice (GER 61010)

 Class Time and Place: H, 7:15-8:55, Satterfield 313 (Call No. 13126, Section 001)

Instructor: Sue Ellen Wright
Office: Satterfield 306-E     Tel: 672-2438     Home Tel.: 678-2829

E-MAIL:  FAX: 330-673-0738

Office Hours:    T: 2:00-4:00 W: 3:00-4:00; H: 2:00-4:00

    Or by appointment; note that the 4:00-4:30 Tuesday and Thursday, as well as the 7:00-7:15 Tuesday time slots are NOT reserved for office hours. This time is needed for class preparation and setup, or for grabbing a bite to eat.
    Lab Troubleshooting: By appointment  

Course URL: ResourcePages\Courseware\GermanTranslationPractice\61010syll_webpage.htm

Table of Contents

Course description
Determination of Final Course Grade
Detailed Class Schedule
Keeping a Translation Log
1. Course description  

Short description of the contents of the course, manner of presentation, level of approach:
The course will provide practice of German to English translation, focusing on different text types. Emphasis is on discussion of translation problems, recognition of appropriate solutions, and the use of specific translation strategies in German-to-English translation.

Course objectives:
Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to apply theoretical considerations to text-related practice, and efforts will be made to coordinate elements of the Theory of Translation course into this course. Students will gain experience:

   1. Translating short sample texts representing a variety of text types and subject domains.
   2. Translating a text under time constraints as a midterm examination.
   3. Analyzing their own translations and those of others during workshops for the purpose of establishing basic strategies for solving recurring problems in language mediation.
   4. Preparing a longer (approximately 1000 words) final translation of a technical, semi-technical or commercial nature, accompanied by an analytical journal describing translation strategies used in preparing the translation.

2. Textbooks and supplemental materials

Selected texts for translation will be distributed to students over the course of the semester.
3. Examinations, papers and reports  

Weekly translation assignments  (in-class projects, bi-weekly evaluated passages)
Final project  

4. Determination of Final Course Grade
    Student activity     % of Grade
1.     Class participation     20%
2.     Translation passages     40%
3.     Midterm exam     15%
4.     Final project     25%
Course Activities  

Class participation : Each student is expected to attend class regularly and to participate in group discussion of translation assignments. Each student is expected to have completed translation passages prior to the discussion of each passage during the translation workshops and to participate fully in workshop sessions for the purpose of arriving at an optimal text rendering for each translation assignment.

Translation exercises: The course includes a number of translation assignments. Six texts will be translated for a grade. Several other texts will be selected for in-class group translation practice during workshop sessions. These texts will not be prepared ahead of time. The texts to be translated for a grade are clearly indicated in the syllabus, together with the deadline for the delivery of each passage. The following procedures apply to the course:

Week 1 - One sample text is examined and sight-translated in class.
A second text will be assigned and analyzed, together with a discussion of potential parallel texts, etc.
Week 2 - The assigned text is workshopped in class.
Students are encouraged to share sources of parallel texts with the colleagues during class.
Week 3 - A final version of the text workshopped during Week 2 is due (see procedure below), incorporating all discussion and criticism from the workshopping session.
A new text is assigned for workshopping the next week.
An "ungraded" in-class assignment is sight-translated in class.
Week 5 - The instructor will return the edited and graded files to individual students and important points that came up during the grading process will be discussed in class.

Students are to prepare the graded translation exercises for discussion during the indicated class period. Draft translations must be posted to the 61010 sub-directory on the GRADS directory of the IAL server no later than 4:00 of any given class day when the text in question is to be workshopped. Completed translations are due no later than one week after a workshopping session (see syllabus and semester calendar), delivered by email attachments to: AND to

Note: prior to class, assignments are placed in the 61010 sub-directory.  Final versions are emailed to the instructor!

File names: Each text has a number (Text1, Text2, etc.). Each member of the class should select the set of initials s/he intends to use as an identifier (e.g., Jane Anastasia Doe might be "JAD."). Jane's draft posted on the F drive for Text1 would be named: jad-text1-draft.doc.  Her final version would be named Be sure to send the correct version when you submit a text as the final draft! Any draft texts that are missent and that are actually evaluated will be counted as the final version.
Holding to the Syllabus   

1) Barring unusual circumstances (weather cancellations, etc.), all assignments will be due on the date stated on the syllabus, whether they have been completely workshopped or not. In determining the grade, more weight will be given to those segments of the text that have actually been workshopped, but nontreated text will also have some bearing on the grade, depending on the amount of material not covered in class. Plus points will be awarded for especially successful translations of nonworkshopped materials.

2) Since it is in everyone's interest to use class time efficiently, class will start promptly, regardless how many people are in the room. Note: lively participation is typical of this class, but consideration for each other is also desirable. Let's try to keep private conversations and multiple simultaneous conversations to a minimum.

3) Everyone (including the instructor!) is encouraged to use class time as efficiently as possible. Non-class-related topics and personal concerns should, if possible, be discussed during office hours, before or after class.

4) It is anticipated that students will use their terminals to process their texts during class and that they may on occasion check Internet resources as well. All other extraneous use of computers is to be discouraged. Focus on in-class workshopping is very critical to success in this course. Working on other projects or doing email, for instance, can seriously jeopardize your participation grade.

Translations will be evaluated on the basis of the new ATA guidelines, which will be handed out together with the hardcopy of this syllabus. Every effort will be made to apply these guidelines in the fairest, most equitable way, but since this is a new system this semester, there will undoubtedly be some adjustments as we go along.

All translations will be graded as a group in order to ensure fairness and consistency in grading. Therefore it is highly critical that all work be submitted according to deadline. There is no guarantee that materials that are submitted late will be reviewed in a timely fashion.

Translation Log  

A brief log of important problems encountered in each assignment shall be submitted as a separate file along with the files for graded translations. See the description at the end of the syllabus for pointers on maintaining a translation log. The content and style of the log will be discussed during the first few weeks of class, and the expectations for the log will change as students gain familiarity with identifying translation strategies and an understanding of how to maintain a log.

Failure to complete the log with an assignment can result in a 10% reduction in the grade for that assignment (or expressed in other terms, in a reduction of one letter grade). By the same token, doing these items conscientiously can have a similar positive effect.
Submitting Deliverables  

All deliverables should include:  

   1. The translated text submitted as an email attachment.
   2. Secondary and parallel texts used during the translation (within reason--don't try to copy voluminous materials if this is what you find). Hardcopy materials can be handed in during the appropriate class period. Bibliographical references and links to the corresponding URLs should be recorded in the log file.
   3. The translation log.

Policy on Incompletes and Absences  

This is a performance class, and members all contribute to the synergy of the workshopping experience. Each student is expected to have completed translation passages prior to the discussion of each passage, to post this passage to the appropriate server subdirectory, and to participate fully in workshop sessions for the purpose of arriving at an optimum text for each translation assignment. Students will be assigned participation grades that will contribute to the calculation of the overall course grade.

The only conditions under which an incomplete can be granted is serious illness in the latter part of the semester. At least 2/3 of the course work must have been completed satisfactorily prior to the request for an incomplete, and there must be clear evidence of illness to qualify. Students requesting an incomplete and meeting these criteria must also sign a contract obligating them to complete the unfinished work according to specific conditions. It is the official policy of the College of Arts and Sciences that all incompletes regardless of cause or conditions be completed by the end of the following calendar semester.

Final Project   Translation of 1000 words representing a self-contained section of a technical article on a subject of the student's own choosing. Delivery deadline: Tuesday of Finals Week.
Deliverables: First draft due by email file transfer: 11/12; Final draft: email file transfer of translation file and log, due at the time of the final.
Students with Disabilities  

In accordance with University policy, if you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester or when given an assignment for which an accommodation is required. Students with disabilities must verify their eligibility through the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) in the Michael Schwartz Student Services Center (672-3391).
Weekly Topics and Assignments
    Introductory & Preparatory   
Topics     In-class Workshopping  
Deliverables Due

    Introduction to the course
Assignment and preliminary analysis of Text # 1     Workshop Sample Text #1

Discuss translation journal
    Workshop Text # 1 (Abziehbild)

Assign Text # 2
Collect parallel texts (recipes)
    Workshop Sample Text #2 (Ochsenschwanzsuppe)
Discuss text type differences
Deliverable: Text #1 as per syllabus instructions

Discuss translation journal

Workshop Text #2 (Kartoffelsalat)
Discuss & share parallel texts
    Assign Text #3     

Workshop Sample Text #3 (Stadtgeschichte)
Deliverable: Text #2, first translation journal

Assign Text # 4

Workshop Text #3 (Radtour)


Midterm week


In-class: time examination
Deliverable: Text #3 + journal
Report your choice of special project; drafts welcome anytime!
    Discuss Midterm      

Workshop Sample Text #4 (Mölln)

Workshop Text #4 (Reform)
    Assign Text #5     

Workshop Sample Text #5 (Brief)
Deliverable: Text #4 + journal


    ATA Conference Week, no class

Workshop Text #5
First draft of final project due
    Assign Text #6     

Workshop Sample Text #6
Deliverable: Text #5
     Thanksgiving vacation, no class

Workshop Text # 6

          Deliverables:  Text # 6, Final Projects  
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Keeping a Translation Log

Students are required to maintain a translation log as they prepare your weekly assignments and the semester project. The following procedures are recommended. It is also a requirement to maintain a log as the basis for writing the critical analysis for the Translation Case study. The easiest way to maintain a log is to create a second Word file containing a table documenting the problems you encounter and your proposed solutions.

Content and timing of the log

As you analyze the problems inherent in your project and begin to gather parallel texts or other materials, include information in your log on these problems and on your parallel texts. Analyze the document to determine the precise text type or types that are involved and define your target audience, the appropriate register for you finished text, etc. Include this information as an introductory paragraph in the log, prior to the table. As you encounter special translation problems (terminology, syntax, register, whatever), make notes on these difficulties by describing or stating the specific problem you have encountered. Once you have solved one of these problems, think through what sort of solution you used (for instance, literal translation, transformation, etc. Use the information you have on translation strategies and the terminology you are familiar with from Delisle's Translation Terminology. For weekly assignments, you only need to document the most important items-not more than a page. For the semester project, include documentation on those items that become the subject of serious concern or discussion with the professor, and prepare at least a two page summary documenting your approach to the translation, special issues involved in this particular translation, and the solutions your arrived at.

Example: Als man lernte, aus Kautschuk Gummi zu machen . . .

Problem: both Kautschuk and Gummi can commonly be translated as "rubber."

This is apparently a case of neutralization going from German into English. The Ernst dictionary defines Kautschuk as "unvulcanized rubber," and Gummi as "vulcanized rubber." It sounds silly to write: "When scientists learned how to make vulcanized rubber out of unvulcanized rubber . . ." Examination of various resources on industrial materials indicates that vulcanized rubber is produced by mixing raw rubber with certain ingredients and "cooking" the resulting compound. Hence one can write "When scientists learned how to make vulcanized rubber out of raw rubber . . ." or "When scientists learned how to vulcanize raw rubber . . ." (Example of combined implicitation and explicitation to compensate for neutralization in English.)