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FRB3: Translation into French and French through the Media

Paper B3 is made up of two distinct components: Translation into French and French through Audio-visual Media (MD). Together, the B3 Translation and ME elements will help you develop your linguistic skills and cultural competence in a range of areas.

The B3 paper is only available to Part IB (i.e., second-year students) who had an A-level or equivalent in the language when they arrived. In addition, if your other language is ab initio, you can choose not to do this paper in French and instead do an extra literature/linguistics paper from the schedule of IB papers. If, however, both your languages are post A-level, then this paper (both components) is compulsory.

Aims and objectives: 

If you attend all classes and carry out all the set work for the B3 Translation paper, by the end of the year you will be able to:

  • Identify translation problems in passages taken from a range of sources (for example, literature, essay, newspaper articles)
  • Develop and apply a set of strategies to tackle translation problems
  • Acquire and use with confidence a wide range of vocabulary and idiom in French
  • Develop your ability to compensate effectively and resourcefully for lexical gaps
  • Have a strong command of French grammar
  • Develop your awareness of register and tone in French
  • Hone your sensitivity to stylistic features in English texts
  • Enhance your understanding of contrastive grammar in English and French

If you follow the course (attending lectures and supervisions, as appropriate) and carry out all the set work for the MD paper, you will meet the following aims and objectives:

  • Broaden your understanding of the culture of the French-speaking world
  • Consolidate and further develop your command of French, with a particular focus on oral skills and aural comprehension
  • Engage critically with content discussed in videos
  • Enhance your ability to write expository-argumentative texts in French
  • Develop your ability to discuss orally topics of cultural import concisely and effectively
  • Improve your research skills using authentic written and audiovisual sources in French
  • Develop your presentation skills
Course materials: 

You will find a dedicated Moodle site for each component of this paper (one for B3 Translation into French and one for MD) with all the material for classroom use and for independent study, as well as numerous resources. You will be given access to the Moodle sites at the beginning of the academic year. The Language Centre Online also provides useful resources for self-study.

There is no set grammar book for this course, but if you would like to continue to do dedicated grammar practice, here is a good book you can use (please note that this book won’t be used in class):

Hawkins, Roger, Towell, Richard, and Marie-Noelle Lamy. Practising French Grammar: A Workbook. 4th edition. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge, 2015.

You might also find it useful for grammar and translation to use the following (an online version of the book is freely available on the UL website):

Gagne, Christophe, and Emilia Wilton-Godberfforde. English-French Translation: A Practical Manual. Routledge, 2020.

Teaching and learning: 

In the B3 Translation component you will practise translation into French in a fortnightly class. This class builds on your grammatical and lexical knowledge of the language through systematic practice and feedback, helping you develop the skills and the confidence to translate complex English structures and registers into French.

The French Through the Media (French MD) component is taught in 8 Faculty lectures and 10-12 college supervisions during Michaelmas and Lent (no teaching in Easter). The MD paper offers you the opportunity to engage with authentic material/sources in French and to explore a number of cultural topics relevant to the French-speaking world while building up your vocabulary and your command of both spoken and written French.


The Translation component of the B3 paper is assessed in a two-hour examination. The exam consists of two passages in English (200 words each) which you are asked to translate into French. No dictionaries or other reference materials are allowed.

The French Through the Media component will be assessed via a 5–7-minute video recording to be submitted in week 4 of the Easter term. The topic of your video must be related to one of the four course topics. Content and language will be equally weighted. You will also need to submit a 150-word summary of your video, which will not be assessed. 

Marking criteria

FRMD marking criteria


Course Contacts: 
Prof Hugo Azérad
Dr Christophe Gagne