Play Translation Course

According to Philippe Le Moine at the National Theatre, play translations are becoming increasingly popular because "more and more people are interested in what's happening outside Britain." Le Moine acknowledges that translators sometimes feel spurned when theatres use established playwrights and explains this by commercial pressure – "theatres need to have something sellable." He is asking translators to meet the theatre half way: "They're not in contact with what they need to do: to translate for particular types of performance and staging. These are specific skills. There's a big divide and the two sides don't understand each other very well."

The Arts and Languages Play Translation Course aims to address this very problem and is for those francophones considering a career in theatre translations. The course will be from French into English only and cover excerpts from French plays from a range of playwrights. You will be sent key notes about translating for the theatre together with six assignments that have suggested deadlines, all falling within one academic term and for which you will receive detailed feedback. You will need to consider not only rhythm, register and contemporaneousness, but also metalinguistic issues, such as ease of delivery for an actor and who the intended audience is. The excerpts could be from playwrights such as Becket, Sartre, Camus and Reza. The total cost for the course is £350.00, with optional Skype tutorials when we can engage on a more personal level and talk through any points that you are not clear about.

Feedback from previous translation students

How would you rate the course?

  • "Very useful course, the assignments were just the right standard, sufficiently challenging, but not too daunting."
  • "Excellent. The course has been a tremendous experience."
  • "Excellent. I am new to distance-learning, but I am converted to the cause."

How would you rate tutor support in your learning?

  • "Extremely helpful comments from Sally, always useful points to think about for future translations. Also, very prompt return of assignments, which was helpful as the texts were still fresh in my mind when reading her comments. Tutorials also provided a good opportunity to ask questions"
  • "Excellent."
  • "Sally is conscientious and constructive in her correcting of assignments and quick too! It's nice to get the work back so promptly!"

Do you feel you have made progress in relation to when you started the course?

  • "Significant progress. This course has given me things which no amount of on-the-job work practice can deliver!"