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Translating Cultures (MRes)

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course offers you the rare opportunity to study how cultures translate across a wide range of fields. Critically combining the disciplines of translation and cultural studies, it breaks new ground both practically and theoretically in exploring a variety of different issues across the humanities and social sciences. It gives you the opportunity to shape the emerging field of translating cultures through independent in-depth research, and will appeal if you aspire to work at the cutting edge of debates and practices dealing with cultural interaction and transformation in the contemporary world.

Modules are taught and supervision given by expert staff who are specialists in a number of languages and disciplines, offering you the chance to follow particular themes in areas that most interest you. Recent work by staff includes books and articles on issues in translation, literature, migration, gender, religion, visual culture and museum studies to name a few, in Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish and other cultures.

We explicitly welcome applications for collaborative research projects and are happy to exploit our links with public and third sector partners to assist students in developing projects that fit with both the partners’ research needs and the demands and expectations of a Masters dissertation. The student will take the lead in the development of any such collaborative research project, but will be guided and assisted by the supervisory team and, where appropriate, other members of the course team.

Course content

You will take two core modules: Translating Cultures, which establishes frameworks for the close analysis of transcultural and translation concepts; and the Research Dissertation module, which provides training and personal supervision for the writing of an in-depth dissertation on an appropriate topic of your choice. The Research Dissertation module offers you the innovative possibility to develop your research project through an internship with a relevant external organisation. You will also choose an option module that matches your interests from a selection of modules offering advanced study in specialised areas, including translation, intercultural communication, diaspora, cultural identity, globalisation, democratisation and restorative justice. You are encouraged to attend the research seminars in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, particularly the Translating Cultures series run by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, at which visiting speakers, creative practitioners and teaching staff present their current work.

Core modules

- Research Dissertation
The Research Dissertation module gives students supervised guidance and research training in preparing an MRes dissertation on an agreed research topic in the field of transculturality and translation as an interdisciplinary critical practice. Training is primarily provided through individual supervision sessions. Your learning is further supported by a suite of online training units in research methodologies, which in turn link in with group-based workshops hosted by the team of supervisors. The mid-point Dissertation Colloquium and the end-of-year Dissertation Symposium provide students with a forum to present your research to your peers in the first instance (Dissertation Colloquium) and, at the end of your studies, to wider academic audiences and relevant stakeholder communities (Dissertation Symposium). These prominent events in the MRes Translating Cultures calendar not only foster a sense of community among both staff and student researchers on the course, but also offer students valuable opportunities to demonstrate their presentation and communications skills. Conceived as a public, ‘degree show’-type event, the Dissertation Symposium in particular functions as a showcase for current and future research in the Department and, as such, responds to the growing importance placed on dissemination, diffusion and impact in research training.

- Translating Cultures
Conceiving of translation as both an area of investigation and as an investigative paradigm, this module examines translational practices and processes and the problems of transposition, transfer and mediation in cultural encounters. Crucially, it opens up the understanding of ‘translation’ to include the transmission, interpretation and sharing of values, beliefs, histories and narratives not only across linguistic, cultural or geographical boundaries, but also, for example, from one medium, time period, or indeed one discipline to another. By reading the works of key theorists from around the world in the intersecting fields of translation and cultural studies alongside each other, this module aims to enhance your understanding of how historical and contemporary cultural interactions can be examined and conceptualised through the translational paradigm. The module explores the diverse forces shaping the products and processes of transcultural and translational phenomena and emphasises the links and tensions between them as a basis for more targeted study in the Research Dissertation module. This module thus seeks to equip you with a sound critical and methodological framework for analysing the complex interactions within and across today’s diverse communities of linguistic, cultural, historical, political and social practice.

Optional Modules (chose one from)
- Capitalism and Culture
- Democracy and Islam
- Globalisation, Democratisation and Post-Authoritarian Transition
- Intercultural Communication
- Reading the Nation
- Representing World Cultures
- Restorative Justice: Cultures, Integration and Law
- The Chinese Media
- Translation Studies


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Translating Cultures (MRes) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You are normally required to have a good first degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Mature applicants with no formal qualifications but with appropriate work experience will also be considered. If your first language is English, you will need to demonstrate an advanced knowledge of at least one foreign language (Chinese, French, German, Spanish or Russian).

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