Theory and techniques of German translation

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to introduce students to some essential themes of linguistic and hermeneutical reflection on translation, focusing in particular on the translation theory developed in the German area from romanticism to the present. In the practical part of the course the students are asked to confront themselves with the translation of texts belonging to different literary genres.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: In the theoretical part of the course students refine their sensitivity to some linguistic and hermeneutical aspects of translation through reflection on some translation theory. Applying knowledge and understanding: In the practical part of the course students learn through discussion and comparison to find concrete solutions to some difficulties encountered in the translation of texts belonging to different literary genres.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
More specific Information on thè delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021 /22 will be provided over thè coming months, based on thè evolution of thè public health Situation.
Course syllabus
The course is entitled "Literary Translation" and is divided into the following three teaching units, which will be dealt with in parallel:

A: History, characteristics, and examples of literary translation
B: Translation of narrative texts
C: Translation of drama and poetry.

Students interested in acquiring 6 cfu will follow the program of teaching units A and B; students interested in acquiring 9 cfu will follow the complete program.
As well as having to overcome, like any translation, the distance between the different "linguistic worlds" of each human language, literary translation must, first of all, confront the intransitive or self-reflexive peculiarity of literary and poetic language, in which all elements, not only of content but also of form and style, are bearers of meaning. Moreover, since literary meaning does not depend only on textual factors but also on other factors such as belonging to a certain literary genre, era, or movement, i.e. ultimately to a certain "literary field", translation must also take into account all these elements, transferring the original work into a different and changing cultural context and "literary field". The course will deal with these issues on a theoretical level, then exemplifying some aspects through the comparative analysis of several Italian translations of some fundamental works of German literature but also of some German translations of important Italian works. In the practical part of the course, translations of German literary works belonging to different literary genres will be carried out.
Prerequisites for admission
The course, which is held in Italian, but uses didactic materials in German and provides for the translation of German texts into Italian, presupposes an excellent knowledge of both German and Italian.
Teaching methods
The course adopts the following teaching methods: frontal lessons; reading and commenting on scheduled texts; translation of texts from German into Italian with comment and possible comparison with other existing translations.
Teaching Resources
The course has a site on the Ariel online teaching platform ( can be consulted for educational materials to download in PDF format.
Friedmar Apel, Il manuale del traduttore letterario, Milano 1993
Franca Cavagnoli, La voce del testo. L'arte e il mestiere di tradurre, Milano 2010
Umberto Eco, Dire quasi la stessa cosa, Milano 2003
Bruno Osimo, Manuale del traduttore. Guida pratica con glossario, Milano 2011
Lorenza Rega, La traduzione letteraria: aspetti e problemi, Torino 2001
Lawrence Venuti, L'invisibilità del traduttore. Una storia della traduzione (1995), Milano 2013
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of one or two preliminary written tests and an oral test. Students who choose the nine-credit exam will take two preliminary tests plus the oral test, while those who choose the six-credit test will only have to take a preliminary test and an oral test. The preliminary tests consist of translations, similar to those practiced during the lessons, of a literary text and a text of literary criticism. The evaluation of the written tests will be expressed in thirtieths and will average with the mark of the oral exam. The written test must be taken in the same session, before the oral one, on a date which will be indicated well in advance. There will be a written test for each exam session. As for the theoretical part, the exam consists of an individual interview, which includes questions asked by the teacher, interactions between the teacher and the student and the analysis and comment of one or more scheduled texts. The interview takes place in Italian and aims to verify the understanding of the texts read, the ability to contextualize authors and works, the ability to exhibit, the precision in the use of specific terminology, the ability to critically and personally reflect on proposed themes. The mark of the oral test, expressed in thirtieths, will average with that or those of the written tests.
The student has the right to reject both the mark of the written tests, repeating them in another session, and the final mark (in this case it will be recorded as "withdrawn").
International or Erasmus incoming students are invited to promptly contact the teacher. The examination procedures for students with disabilities and / or with DSA must be agreed with the teacher, in agreement with the competent Office.
Unita' didattica A
L-LIN/14 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - GERMAN - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-LIN/14 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - GERMAN - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-LIN/14 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - GERMAN - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours