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Dutch to English Translation Course


Admission requirements

Students should be sufficiently proficient in English and Dutch.


In theory, the translator’s job is not a very difficult one: rendering a text in one language into a text in another. In the process, make sure that the translated text (the target text) is a faithful representation of the original text (the source text). And if possible, the target text should make for as natural reading as the source text.
If translation were as easy as this in practice, there would probably be no need for translators: their work could then quite easily be taken over by a computer. However, this is not possible, at least not according to the state of the art. Computers are able to handle single words and short, simple sentences and maybe even longer sentences, if these are stored as a formula of a kind. However, most texts that translators get to work on are too sophisticated for a computer. A possible explanation for this is that human beings are better suited to the many demands placed on a translator, i.e. an excellent command of two languages, a good general knowledge, often also familiarity with a specialist language, but more than that: the ability to recognize and solve translation problems.
This ability can be trained: it requires understanding of the fact that different languages make use of different lexical and grammatical constructions to describe the world. It also requires skill in transforming these constructions. This will be the focus of this introductory translation course.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, you should be sufficiently confident to translate a Dutch text that does not contain specialist information or terminology into grammatically and stylistically correct English. Having acquired a basic active vocabulary you will be able to translate a simple text without the help of a dictionary or other type of reference material, and you will be able to translate more complex texts with the aid of dictionaries and thesauri.


The timetable will be available by June 1st at June 1st on

Mode of instruction

Two-hour tutorial per week

Assessment method

Average mark of translations, handed in during the course (40%)
Translation test (60%)


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

Lemmens, M., & Parr, T. (2002). Handboek voor de vertaler Nederlands-Engels. Amsterdam: Intertaal.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange studentens cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Studentcounsellor Bachelor: Ms. S.H.J. Bollen, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103B.
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms. K. van der Zeeuw-Filemon, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


Students are expected to be in possession of the reference books prescribed for Language Acquisition 1.