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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

  • Course objective 1: ability to translate a Dutch text that does not contain specialist information or terminology into grammatically and stylistically correct English

  • Course objective 2: acquiring a basic active vocabulary

  • Course objective 3: ability to translate a simple text without the help of a dictionary or other type of reference material, and more complex texts with the aid of dictionaries and thesauri


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

This course has compulsory attendance, students who miss more than three seminars are not allowed to take the exam.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 280 hours.

  • 28 hours: attending seminars

  • 28 hours: studying compulsory literature

  • 224 hours: preparation for the exam, primarily by doing translation assignments (two of which must be handed in for a mark)

Assessment method

  • Translation test (60%)

  • Average mark of two translations, handed in during the course (40%)


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

Please refer to ‘Remarks’.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the coordinator 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.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:

Contact English Language and Culture departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; Coordinator of studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


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