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GEB2: Translation from German into English and Oral Examination B

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.

The paper consists of two parts: Translation into English and an Oral Examination.

Teaching of translation is organised by the department, supervisions in support of the oral examination are organised by colleges.

For more information please go to this webpage.

Aims and objectives: 

The purpose of translation classes is to explore the art of translating German into English and to develop appropriate skills, with three main aims:

  • to encourage awareness and comprehension of a variety of different registers and styles (literary, academic, journalistic, descriptive, discursive, etc.) both in German and in English, and to deepen understanding of the differences between usage in the two languages
  • to introduce students to the historical range of German writing in the modern period, i.e., since 1800 (as well as giving students a first introduction to some of the changes that the German language has undergone, these translations will also give students a taste of the range of material which it will be possible to explore and specialise in during their second and final years)
  • to help develop students’ sense of how German vocabulary works in context. In these classes you will encounter a much wider passive vocabulary than that included in the Basic German Vocabulary.

Oral supervisions: in supervisions concentrating on speaking fluent German, students will look at authentic texts, use these as a stimulus for discussions, honing their use of spoken standard German and vocabulary relating to expressing an opinion while discussing topical issues concerning German speaking countries.

Course materials: 

For Translation: teachers’ own materials, past papers, sample translations (occasionally professional translations of a passage from a text)

S. Fagan, Using German Vocabulary, (2004)

M. Durrell, Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, (2016), and the accompanying work-book, Durrell, Kohl and Loftus, Practising German Grammar, (2017)

For more information please see this webpage.

For Oral Supervisions: texts from any appropriate source (newspapers, websites, literature etc) and past papers. 

Teaching and learning: 


The department organises 10 classes over the academic year. Students will be given passages for translation as homework and will receive individual and detailed feedback on their work. In classes, a variety of possible translations will be discussed. The teaching material chosen for classes will guarantee that students are exposed to a variety of German texts, covering different time periods as well as formats, registers and style. Class discussion will often focus both on the detailed understanding of the German original texts and the various ways of rendering these in good English.

Oral Supervisions:

Small group teaching (2 -4 students per group) allows us to tailor the content to students’ interests and needs. Students prepare by reading German texts (often taken from newspaper articles), expanding their vocabulary and use of the language and thinking about the questions they would like to discuss. Short presentations by students on a topic of their choice can also form part of these supervisions. By listening to a supervisor who is a native speaker and their fellow student(s), students learn to be more confident and competent in discussing topics relevant to German speaking culture.

Learning resources:

Learning resources can be found on the GeB2 Moodle. The enrolment password can be collected from the paper coordinator.



For this written examination candidates are required to choose two out of a total of three passages of German prose (varying in style and period) to be translated into English. The examination lasts two hours. This part of paper GEB2 counts for two thirds of the paper. 

Oral Examination

For the Oral Examination students will be given a short passage of authentic German about 15 minutes before the exam. In the exam they will be asked to read a few sentences from the passage aloud and take part in a conversation stimulated by the text. The examination lasts about 10 minutes. This part of paper GEB2 counts for one third of the paper.

For more details about the Oral B examination, please click here

For all Department of German past papers, see here. Examiners’ Reports can be found here.

Course Contacts: 
Dr Charlotte Woodford