Theory of Translation

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By the end of the semester, students should:

- Know the key theories in the field of translation studies;

- Critically consider the several translation theories he is familiar with;

- Think of translation as more than a linguistic product, considering how it relates to politics and ideology;

- Be aware of the role translation plays in the contact between cultures;

- Critically analyze their own translation practice;

- Theoretically justify their translation options;

- Analyze translation, by correctly applying theoretical principles and concepts and focusing both on linguistic and extralinguistic aspects.


I – A brief history of translation theory
1. From St. Jerome to the twentieth century
2. Translation Studies
II – Translation theory in the twentieth and twentieth-first century
1. Translation and linguistics: the instrumental and hermeneutic conceptions of language
2. Theoretical concepts: translatability and autonomy; equivalence and linguistic shifts; reception and function.
3. Translation strategies: free vs literal; dynamic vs formal; domestication vs foreignization
4. Literary translation vs translation of pragmatic or technical texts
5. Translation, culture and politics: identity and ideology; power and minorities

Teaching Methodologies

Reading, commenting and debating of theoretical texts on translation; Analysis and comment on literary and non-literary translations, in view of the theoretical texts being studied; Brief translation exercises, followed by a reflection on the adopted translation strategies and their implications.


Antologia da disciplina, que contem algumas das mais representativas reflexões teóricas sobre a tradução do século XX e XXI, assim como as seguintes obras

BAKER, Mona (ed.) (2001) Routledge encyclopedia of translation studies. Londres, Nova Iorque: Routledge.

BASSNETT, Susan (2002) Translation Studies. London, New York: Routledge.

BARRENTO, João (2002) O poço de Babel. Para uma poética da tradução literária. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água.

KUHIWCZAK, Piotr, LITTAU, Karin, (ed.) (2007) A companion to translation studies, Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters LTD.

LEFEVERE, André (1992) Translation, rewriting and the manipulation of literary frame. Londres: Routledge.

MUNDAY, Jeremy (2001) Introducing translation studies. London, New York, Routledge.

VENUTI, Lawrence (ed.) (2000)The translation studies reader. London, New York: Routledge.

VENUTI, Lawrence (1995) The translator’s invisibility. Londres, Nova Iorque: Routledge.



ECTS Credits



  • Orientação Tutorial - 15 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 45 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • Report of a seminar or field trip: 10%
  • Individual and/or Group Work: 75%
  • PrePresentation of the paper, before rendering its written version: 7%
  • Presentation 1: subject and corpus choice: 2%
  • Presentation 2: list of translation cases under analysis: 6%