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Culture Studies for Translators


Admission requirements



Why do Albanians have 27 different words for moustache? Why is there no word for “understatement” in the Dutch language? Whatever the answer to these questions may be, it can surely not be denied that language is inextricably bound up with culture. There are countless examples of concepts in one language that simply do not exist in the other, such as the British phenomenon of “opting-out schools”, or concepts that have no exact equivalent in other languages, like the Dutch word “notaris”, or the American word “ranger”. The above are just a few examples to illustrate the problems a translator has to tackle every day. In order to be able to produce correct and readable translations, a translator must have a comprehensive knowledge not only of the source and target languages themselves, but also of the cultures of both the source and target language. In this course, you will not only learn many things about the United Kingdom and the United States, but you will also learn how to apply your knowledge about the cultures of the Netherlands, the UK and the US to translation problems that may result from cultural differences between these countries.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, you should have a comprehensive knowledge about American and British culture. You should be able to apply this knowledge in translations, and tackle translation problems resulting from differences between aspects of Dutch culture on the one hand, and British and American culture on the other.


The timetable will be available by June 1st at

Mode of instruction

Two-hour tutorial per week

Assessment method

40% assignments; 60% written examination


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

Reader Culture Studies for Translators. Blackboard

  • Oakland, John. American Civilization. New York: Routledge. latest edition.

  • Oakland, John. British Civilization. London: Routledge. latest edition.


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.


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