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SPB3: Translation into Spanish and Spanish through the Media

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


Paper B3 is made up of two distinct components: Translation into Spanish and Spanish through the Media (MD). Together, the B3 Translation and MD 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 Spanish 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 should be able to:

  • Understand authentic texts taken from a variety of sources (literary, essay, press)
  • Identify translation problems in passages of non-specialised nature
  • Draw on a range of strategies to tackle translation problems
  • Use a wide range of vocabulary appropriately
  • Compensate effectively and resourcefully for vocabulary gaps
  • Have a very strong command of Spanish grammar
  • Develop your awareness of register and tone in Spanish
  • Approach translation into Spanish with increased confidence

If you follow the course (attending classes, supervisions, and lectures, 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 Spanish-speaking world
  • Consolidate and further develop your command of Spanish, with a particular focus on oral skills and aural comprehension
  • Engage critically with content discussed in videos and texts
  • Enhance your ability to write expository-argumentative texts in Spanish
  • Develop your ability to discuss orally topics of cultural import concisely and effectively
  •  Improve your research skills using authentic written and audiovisual sources in Spanish
  • Develop your presentation skills 


Course materials: 


There is a dedicated Moodle site for each component of this paper (one for SPB3 Translation into Spanish 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, including films and documentaries in the foreign language.

There is no grammar text book for this course, but here are two books you can use for further grammar practice if you wish (please note that these books won’t be used in class):

  • Angela Howkins, Christopher Pountain and Teresa de Carlos, Practising Spanish Grammar. A Workbook (London: Routledge, latest edition); ISBN: 978-1138339279.
  • Javier Muñoz-Basols, Marianne Davis and Olga Núñez Piñeiro, Speed up Your Spanish: Strategies to avoid common errors (London: Routledge, latest edition); ISBN: 978-0415493321


Teaching and learning: 


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

Paper B3 will be complemented by 8 college supervisions, typically 3 in Michaelmas, 3 in Lent and 2 in Easter. Supervisions are intended to enhance your opportunities for oral practice, and to allow you to delve deeper into the MD paper topics. The two final supervisions in Easter will focus on translation.




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 Spanish. No dictionaries or other reference materials are allowed.

The Spanish 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.

Examiners' Reports


Past examination papers: 
Past examination papers


Course Contacts: 
Prof María Noriega Sánchez (Media)
Prof Angeles Carreres (Translation)