Translation History and Theories

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Translation History and Theories

  • Host University

    Universidade Católica Portuguesa

  • Location

    Lisbon, Portugal

  • Area of Study

    History, Linguistics

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    1. Provide an overall perspective of the Western thought on translation.  

    2. Acquaint students with the main enquiry lines in contemporary Translation Studies.

    3. Unsettle preconceived notions about translation and discuss concepts such as “accuracy”, “equivalence”, “original”, etc.

    4. Provide instruments for conscious and careful translations, as well as for the interpretation and assessment of translation practices.  


    1. Locate texts in their temporal flow, analysing and decoding translations in light of their historical circumstances.  

    2. Reflect upon translation strategies and discursive practices in the Western world.

    3. Discuss the main currents in Translation Studies.  

    4. Appropriate the reflection of translators and translation studies theoreticians into one’s own interpretative potential, in order to translate from a more critical positioning.  


    1. Communicate a good knowledge of the suggested readings.

    2. Reflect on and discuss the principles proposed by different authors.

    3. Critically analyze images and metaphors related to translation and translators.

    4. Express a personal viewpoint on what translation is or should be.

    5. Engage in informed and constructive discussions about contemporary controversies surrounding translation and translators. 

    Course content:

    The seminar wishes to provide an overall perspective of the development of Western translation theory throughout the centuries. Through the situated reading and discussion of fundamental texts, the seminar seeks to foster critical reflection on the functions, difficulties and challenges in the act of translating. From Jerome (390-405) to Cronin (2020), the seminar wishes to be a sounding board for the problems, theses and solutions of several translators and Translation Studies theoreticians who have pondered the assumptions of this activity, discovering the both human and utopian character of translation. 


    Teaching is both theoretical and practical, based on a lecturing model but also on debate and participation.  


    Evaluation is continuous and includes the following components, with respective weightings: 

    Continuous evaluation, participation  20%

    Oral presentation  20%

    Written assignment  20%

    Final test  40% 


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.


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