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PGB2: Translation from Portuguese

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


The translation class is held fortnightly in Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Terms, and is designed to introduce you to the wide range of styles and registers in Portuguese, covering different periods (19th, 20th and 21st centuries) and varieties of Portuguese (Peninsular, African and Brazilian).

Aims and objectives: 

The classes are aimed at preparing you to read and translate literary passages from Portuguese into English taken from a breadth of linguistic contexts. You will be taught reading strategies that will enable you to widen and deepen your understanding of texts without the need for a dictionary while also exercising a number of translation strategies.

Course materials: 

Materials will be provided at the beginning of each term and will consist of a selection of passages to be used both in class and in preparation for them.

Teaching and learning: 

For each class you will be given a text to translate and hand in prior to the meeting. Your teacher will correct your version and then discuss questions of style, register, vocabulary and syntax with you in class in a way that is aimed at developing your comprehension of written Portuguese, the range of your vocabulary and your ability to produce a good, stylistically adequate English translation. You will occasionally be asked to discuss and compare one or two professional translations of a passage in Portuguese with the aim of raising your critical awareness of the problems, both technical and stylistic, involved in translation. In preparation for your final paper you might also be asked to work under timed conditions.


The two-hour examination will consist of four passages, of which one will be a commentary (a passage with one professional translation for you to comment on), but you will only have to translate (or produce a critical commentary of) TWO of the passages. The word limit of each text will be 250.

Course Contacts: 
Dr Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá