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GERMAN 4CC3 Translation:Technique&Pract. (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2020

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Iris Bruce


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 502

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24697

Office Hours: Wednesday 4:30-5:20; Friday 5:30-6:20; or by appointment

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

The course offers practice in the translation of literary and non-literary texts (mostly German to English). The practical component will be accompanied by an overview of different theories of translation in Western culture. We will address the question of ideology in translation, by examining the impact a translator’s ideology can have on the process of translation. Translations can also represent ideologies of particular social formations (class, nation, religious or aesthetic orientations). Contemporary American, Canadian, and German films will be included to illustrate the cultural and global significance of translations.


Course Objectives

Most of the time will be used for in-class translation of short passages (English-German and German-English), followed by a general discussion of these translations. We will work with two dual language (German-English) books. In addition, graduate as well as undergraduate students will be able to translate works related to their specific research or personal interests (film, music, literature, philosophy, newspaper articles, etc.) and share their interests with the class through presentations. This way the class will experience specific translation problems inherent in different types of texts.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:
Available at Titles, the university bookstore.


Busch, Wilhelm. Max and Moritz and Other Bad Boys (bilingual)

Kafka, Franz, Best Short Stories: A Dual-Language Book (Dover Dual Language German). Dover Publications (1997).


Films will include Eric Canuel, Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006); Vadim Jendreyko, The Woman with the Five Elephants (2010); Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation (2003); Francis Ford Coppola, Youth without Youth (2007)


Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluations: (Due Dates)

Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . . 30%

Final Project . . . . . . . . . . . . 30% (March 27, 2020 due)

3 in class tests (one hour each) . . . . . 30% (10%, 10%, 10%) [Feb. 7, 28 & March 20]

Attendance/Participation. . . . 10%

One hour per week will be used for in-class translation of short passages (English-German and German-English, dictionaries allowed), followed by a general discussion of these translations.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Written Work and Late Submissions:

Late work will be penalized: there will be a reduction of 3% per day on essays handed in late without permission, and they will receive no extensive commentary.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


The discussion of certain texts/films may flow over to the following class.


January 10: Introduction: Max and Moritz; Kafka, Metamorphosis translations

January 17: Max und Moritz; courseware 3-16 (theory of translation) & Martin Luther, first paragraph p. 1

January 24: film: Vadim Jendreyko, The Woman with the Five Elephants (2010)

January 31: Luther second paragraph, courseware p. 1; Max und Moritz; Kafka


February 7: TEST 1 (in class): one paragraph translation; Luther pp 1-2; Max und Moritz

February 14: Luther, “Ein feste Burg” courseware 2 & courseware 17-21 (Herder and Goethe on translation); Kafka

February 21: Recess; no classes

February 28: TEST 2 (in class): one paragraph translation. Ein Indianisches Modell des Universums courseware 29-32; 23-27; presentations


March 6: Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation (2003); discussion of film

March 13: Ein Indianisches Modell des Universums; Max und Moritz, Kafka, presentations

March 20: TEST 3 (in class): one paragraph translation; Max und Moritz, Kafka, Rilke poems, courseware 34-38; presentations

March 27: Final Project Due; Eric Canuel, Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006)


April 3: discussion of film; Rilke poems, courseware 34-38. LAST DAY OF CLASSES

Other Course Information:

not submitted