Translation Studies

Explore the interplay between language and culture, humans and machines. 

In the 1970s, translations underwent what came to be known as a ‘cultural turn’. It heralded the birth of modern translation studies, with its two main branches: applied and pure research. 

Translations were no more viewed as a simple process of transfer from one language to another. It turned out that there are many translation strategies, many translation purposes, many theories about what is translation as a final product and translating as a process, as well as what translators really do. 

These days translation scholars explore a multitude of areas, such as cognitive translation studies, machine translation, cultural translation studies, quantitative studies using corpus-based linguistics, investigations of translators as social agents, and more. 

This has led to a thorough exploration of the interplay between language and culture, humans and machines, qualitative and quantitative evaluation of translations, and comparative studies of multilingual translations, and interest in multimodal translations like film or drama subtitles. 

Our courses

We offer students three unique courses in translation studies. As part of these courses, work placements are available at the Chamber of Commerce, immigration agencies, education institutions, museums, publishers and media outlets.
Master of Translation Studies

The Master of Translation Studies is a quality professional course that will train future translators in English and one of ten languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. 

Master of Commerce and Master of Translation Studies
The Master of Commerce and Master of Translation Studies is a double master’s degree and the only one of its kind in Australia, and teaches complementary skills in business and translation studies. 

Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies
The Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies offers foundational knowledge about translation and develops skills in translating from and into English and one of ten languages. 

Master of Translation Studies

Discipline staff

Project highlights

View projects below from our researchers and research students (master’s or PhDs) in comparative translation, machine translation, corpus-based translation studies and translation exegesis. The projects described all have the potential of being extended to other types of texts and other languages.
Comparative translation studies
This is about comparing the original text with its translation into one or more languages. We currently have two PhD students doing comparative studies, one from Italian into English, another from English into French, and English into Arabic. In both cases, there is more than one translation in the other language, and the research is about exploring each translator’s strategies, and providing other translations according to set criteria, like fluency, naturalness and accuracy. 
Machine translation
This project consisted of evaluating the quality of translation by machine (like Google Translate, Sakhr and Microsoft Bing) of many different types of texts (journalistic, medical, political, and literary) between English and Arabic. The researcher developed a statistical approach combined with qualitative instruments such as TAUS, and then ranked the various machine translation systems under study.
Corpus-based translation studies
Corpus-based translation studies (CBTS) is a branch of translation studies that ‘mines’ big data of linguistically authentic usage and existing translations to find patterns in language use and habits of translators. This relatively new area of translation studies uncovered some universal norms in translations, irrespective of languages or cultures. There are ongoing projects applying CBTS to a host of languages (English and Chinese or Japanese, for instance) and text types (literature, media, etc).
Translation exegesis
Typically, a project of this type is made up of two parts: one is the translation by the researcher or student, and the other is their own analysis of their translation. This exegesis covers many aspects of the translation: textual analysis of the original, strategies, problem solving and function of the translation. Most researchers at UWA have published such exegeses.
Translating the Australian journal of Théodore Leschenault

This project aims to provide an English translation of the complete manuscript journal (1801-1802) of the botanist Théodore Leschenault’s voyage to Australia with the Baudin expedition. It tackles problems around translating empirical reporting and the language of sensibility from the early 19th century. The translation, accompanied by explanatory notes and a comprehensive introduction, will be published by UWA Publishing.

Research cluster

The Translation and Transcultural Research Cluster was established at the time a Master of Translation Studies was introduced at UWA. Its purpose is to achieve international research excellence in the cross-disciplinary field of translation and transcultural studies to advance the understanding of social and cultural issues of contemporary significance, such as translation and multilingualism, and transcultural identity construction and communication.


Masterclass, “Current uses of translation technologies” by Professor Anthony Pym, July 2019
The aim of this masterclass was to provide insight into the current uses of translation technologies, particularly translation memories with integrated neural machine translation.
Masterclass, “Problems of literary translation: the journal of Rose de Freycinet” by Professor Serge Rivière, September 2018
The aim of this masterclass was to provide insight into the problems involved in translating a literary text from the 10th century and the strategies that can be adopted.
Paul Gibbard’s translation of Emile Zola’s novel The Dream published by Oxford University Press, September 2018
This translation was undertaken as part of a broader project to publish all 20 novels in Zola’s celebrated Rougon-Macquart series together in the Oxford World’s Classics series, a project that was completed in 2020.
Masterclass, “Challenges in Training and Educating 21st-century interpreters” by A/Prof. Marc Orlando, March 2017
Working in a globalised and digitised world, and having to adapt to many different working environments, 21st-century translators and interpreters face new challenges and need to be trained adequately.

Get involved

Regular workshops and webinars are offered in conjunction with local professional associations, such as AUSIT and NAATI, and practitioners.

Mentorships are available through AUSIT, whereby a UWA student will be matched with a professional translator. For more information, contact Professor Helene Jaccomard at [email protected]

Contact Dr Anna Gadd

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