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SPB3: Translation into Spanish and Spanish through Audio-visual Media

Paper SPB3 is made up of two distinct components: Translation into Spanish and Spanish through Audio-visual Media (SPAV). Although each of these components has its specific aims and methodology, a common topic-based structure ensures that they form a coherent package. The SPB3 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 (say, Italian) is ab initio, you can choose not to do this paper in Spanish and instead do an extra literature/linguistics paper in your other language. If, however, both your languages are post A-level, then this paper (both the Translation and the Audio-visual component) is compulsory.

In the SPB3 Translation component you will practise translation into Spanish 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.

Spanish through Audio-visual Media

This paper offers you the opportunity to engage with the Spanish-speaking media and to explore current affairs issues relevant to the Hispanic world while building up your vocabulary and your overall command of the language. The main linguistic skills we will be focussing on include listening comprehension and writing of expository-argumentative texts. You will also be practising the skills of reading comprehension (summarizing texts, note-taking, etc.) and speaking.

This paper, like Translation into the language, is only for second-year students who did Spanish Part IA Option B in their first year.

Aims and objectives: 

If you attend all classes and carry out all the set work for the SPB3 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
  • Have a good range of vocabulary in Spanish
  • Compensate effectively and resourcefully for vocabulary gaps
  • Have a very strong command of Spanish grammar
  • Have some familiarity with ways of expressing register and tone in Spanish
  • Approach translation into Spanish with increased confidence

The aims of the Audio Visual part of this course are to:

  • Consolidate and improve your command of Spanish, with a particular focus on listening comprehension and writing skills.
  • Improve your ability to summarize an audio-visual text and analyse its content critically
  • Enhance your stylistic awareness in text production
  • Widen your knowledge of various aspects of Hispanic culture, in particular social issues and current affairs.
  • Prepare you for the SPAV exam paper.
Course materials: 

The following book is recommended for this paper: Practising Spanish Grammar. A Workbook, Christopher J Pountain & Teresa de Carlos (London: Arnold, latest edition); ISBN: 9-780340-926253.

For the Audio-visual part of this paper, there is a Moodle website where you can find most of the course materials. This includes texts, video clips and a variety of handouts and worksheets.  Past papers and examiners' reports can also be found on the MML Moodle site.

Remember that ample material is provided in the CALL Facility and in the Language Centre for self-study, from grammar-practice packages to films in the foreign language and satellite television. The more you make use of these facilities, the more you will improve your linguistic skills and your chances to do well in the SPAV paper.

Teaching and learning: 

This paper is taught in a fortnightly class. There are no supervisions attached to this paper.

The Audio-visual part of the paper will be taught in a fortnightly class. Your teacher will set regular listening and writing tasks for you to carry out outside the classroom. There are no supervisions attached to this paper.

The Moodle site for SPAV is here. Your teacher will tell you how to enrol at the start of the year.


The Translation component of the SPB3 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.

For the Audio-visual part of this paper, the examination paper will require you to show an ability to understand a video clip (listening comprehension proper) and to engage in writing about the topic presented in the clip according to the exam rubric. 

The Language through Audio-visual Media examination lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes (90 minutes). When the exam commences, candidates will have two minutes in which to read the questions. After that, the exam clip will be played twice, with a five-minute pause in-between. Candidates may take notes throughout the exam. After the second play-through of the clip, candidates will be told the exact time at which the exam will end.

Course Contacts: 
Dr María Noriega Sánchez (Audio Visual)
Dr Angeles Carreres (Translation)