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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.

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: 

You will find a dedicated Moodle site for each component of this paper (one for SPB3 Translation into Spanish and one for SPAV) 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 past SPAV papers, and 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: 

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.

The Spanish through Audio-visual Media (SPAV) component is also taught in a fortnightly class. It offers you the opportunity to engage with the Spanish-speaking media and to explore current affairs 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.

There are no supervisions attached to the SPB3 Translation into Spanish-SPAV paper.


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)