Literary Translation, M.Phil.

Literary Translation, M.Phil.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
University rank #88 (QS) ,
The course brings together in an interdisciplinary framework, the expertise to create a unique programme for practitioners, future practitioners and students of the art of translation. The target language is English, but the following source languages are also available: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Czech and Polish. Where requested, we will try to provide support in other languages. The programme is taught by experienced lecturers, several of whom have published translated books, and by guest translators.


There is widespread interest in literary translation as a form of literary study, and as a discipline that extends the reading and writing skills obtained in an Arts degree. Trinity College builds on its large and successful language teaching experience in creating a programme specifically designed for the production and study of literary translations.

The course brings together in an interdisciplinary framework, the expertise to create a unique programme for practitioners, future practitioners and students of the art of translation. The target language is English, but the following source languages are also available: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Czech and Polish. Where requested, we will try to provide support in other languages. The programme is taught by experienced lecturers, several of whom have published translated books, and by guest translators. It features a seminar in which students present and discuss their own work.

A graduate of the course will be well equipped to undertake literary, cultural, academic or philosophical translation, and will be qualified for employment in any area demanding intercultural awareness and excellent writing and analytical skills. The aim is to each translation as an art, and to form professionals who will have learned to work in an ethos of mutual intellectual and linguistic exchange.

Programme Structure

The taught element of the M. Phil in Literary Translation runs for the first two terms. Students take a number of compulsory courses, and choose from a range of optional courses. The ‘Translation Seminar’, runs through both terms; the courses entitled ‘Theory and Methodology of Comparative Literature and Literary Translation’ and ‘Theory and History’ run in successive terms, and the course ‘Texts and Translation’ will be taught by a guest translator (Peter Sirr) in the first term and by full-time Trinity Staff in the second term. All the courses are compulsory for all students. In addition, students take ONE option in each term on a specialist course of their own choosing. Regular class attendance is required.

The non-taught element of the course involves the submission of a portfolio of 35-40 pages of translated text and a dissertation of 20,000 words. The portfolio (two copies) is to be submitted by May and the dissertation (two copies) is submitted by August.

Core Modules

Core Module (Michaelmas Term): Theory & Methodology

Module Coordinator: Peter Arnds

This core module is shared with the MPhil in Comparative Literature, and explores some key theoretical issues raised by the activities of comparing and translating literatures. Recognition of the difference of other languages, literatures and cultures is arguably what initiates the projects of comparison and of translation. But, having acknowledged difference, what then authorises comparison, or translation? What are the conditions of comparability, or translatability? What continuities have to be presumed in order to claim that a given text is like (or unlike) another? or that a given text is equivalent to another? The Module examines different ways in which we might conceive of the relationships and the divergences between texts, cultures and traditions, as well as between disciplines. For, while inviting the students of Literary Translation and Comparative Literature to explore their shared concerns, the course is also an invitation to consider what distinguishes translation and comparison, and therefore to engage with the still very current debates around the legitimacy of Comparative Literature as a distinct field of inquiry. Students study a range of historical and more contemporary theoretical and literary texts with a view to acquiring an understanding of Literary Translation and Comparative Literature as inherently self-reflective critical practices, where the grounds for translation and for comparison are always open to question.

Core Module (HilaryTerm): Theory & History

Module Coordinator: Peter Arnds

This Module is taken only by students of Literary Translation and is made up of a series of two-hour lectures by different members of faculty. The lectures explore the theory and practice of translation in the context of a specific historical moment. The aim of the module is to provide students with a sense of the diversity of approaches to thinking about translation (linguistic, socio-linguistic, philosophical, literary and so on), and the diversity of contexts in which these reflections appear, as well as a broad introduction to key moments in the history of translation theory (the Medieval and Early Modern periods, the Renaissance, Romantic Germany, etc.).

Texts and Translations: (Michaelmas & Hilary Terms)

Module Coordinator: Susana Bayó Belenguer & Peter Sirr

Through a series of seminars on literary text types (involving different periods and languages) and their translation(s) into English, students will familiarize themselves with the art of literary translation, with some of the major problems encountered in translating literary texts, and with a variety of translation strategies to resolve such difficulties. The module will examine issues of foreignization, domestication, stylistics and genre, and students will be encouraged to develop advanced skills in close-reading and literary criticism. This module feeds into preparation of the dissertation and the portfolio of translations.

Translation Seminar

Module Coordinator: Peter Arnds

A student seminar to which students bring their own translation for comparison, debate and discussion. Runs throughout first semester and second semester, 2 hours per week. At the end of the year, students are requested to submit a portfolio of translations. This work is undertaken in conjunction with a supervisor from the language of the student's choice and counts for 30% of the final assessment.

Course Options

Students select options, assessed by essay (30%). Although these are listed as ‘non-core’ items, this is only because they are not taken by all students together. However, they constitute an important element of assessment. According to local arrangements, students will either choose ONE full-year option or TWO half-year options as outlined on the following pages.

Up to 4 hours weekly over two terms will be spent in optional courses which will be selected from a number of one-term and two-term options. In order to facilitate potential exchange or independent travel abroad, no classes are scheduled for Trinity Term. Students spending this period elsewhere are expected to remain in e-mail contact with their dissertation supervisors. *Please consult the School Handbook for a full listing of all options & Please see the list of options listed below.

  • Moving Between Cultures
    MT/HT Two Term Option
  • Dantean Echoes
    MT One Term Option
  • Cultures of Memory and Identity in Central Europe
    MT One Term Option
  • Literature and Exile
    HT One Term Option
  • Utopia and Science Fiction
    HT One Term Option
  • The Russian Avant Garde
    HT One Term Option

Aesthetics of Response: Ekphrasis and the Sublime

Coordinator : Nicola Creighton

Textual and visual experiences and studies involve seeing, reading, remembering, imagining and creating: making sense. But what happens when we fail to make sense? And what happens if we try to make sense of an intense experience by rendering it in another medium? These are questions raised by the concepts of the sublime and ekphrasis. At one level, they address everyday experiences. We sometimes encounter things or indeed people that we say baffle us, exceed our comprehension, terrify and thrill us at the same time, and we often put words on something we first encountered as an image (or moving image) that was made to be looked at, not read.
The sublime as a moment of experience is characterised by terror and delight. The history of this concept gives access to the drama of the emergence of a particular kind of human subject, the emergence of concepts, perception at its limits, the encounter with the ‘other’ and all the ambivalence of affect such an encounter can bring (feelings of terror, anxiety, threat, excitement, curiosity, desire, lust), and the displacement of the subject of Reason.
Ekphrasis typically refers to a piece of writing about a visual representation, e.g. a piece of prose or a poem conveying a painting. Like the sublime, ekphrasis serves as a stage for playing out the dramas of the human encounter with all things other to it, which can of course include its own alienated self.
The dynamics of power and desire circulating among texts (in various media), individual and culture will be explored.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 12 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score (Grade A):


    C1 Advanced is a Cambridge English Qualification. It reports on the Cambridge English Scale between 142 and 210. You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and for Use of English. These five scores are averaged to give you an overall result for the exam. Universities and colleges may ask you to achieve a specific score, either overall or for a particular skill.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

Academic Requirements

  • at least a 2.1 honors degree from an Irish university or equivalent result from a university in another country
  • a fluent command of the English language

Some courses may require higher standards or require you to take further tests or attend an interview.

English language requirements:

  • IELTS: Grade 6.5
  • TOEFL: 88 iBT, 230-computer based, 570 paper based
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English: Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: Grade C

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    13683 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 13683 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    6551 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6551 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Dublin

  • 1100 - 1800 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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