BSc Translation Studies - German

Why choose this course?

  • The Complete University Guide 2014 ranked German at Aston joint 2nd for Graduate Prospects (85%) out of 44 universities
  • 6th for Languages Graduate Level Destinations sixth months after Graduation - Guardian 2013
  • Translation graduates can now receive accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Linguists
  • Check out our German Blog to find out more about German at Aston.
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4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code:

Typical Offers
ABB - BBB from 3 A-levels, including German Grade B.  General Studies accepted. 

If your predicted grades are close to those stated in Aston's typical offers and if you are interested in Aston University and the courses we offer we encourage you to apply to us as one of your 5 UCAS choices. In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg AS grades, GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement. Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk.

View our Admissions Policy. 

IB: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level German.
Access: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.  A-level grade B in German or equivalent.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.   A-level grade B in German or equivalent.  Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A-levels acceptable.

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

Specific subject requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C.

Tuition fees 2014/15: £9,000 (£1,000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. More on fees

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.



Our Translation Studies programmes combine the study of French and/or German and/or Spanish with professional and theoretical aspects of translation. The programmes are designed to prepare you for a successful career either in translation or in allied professions. By the end of the programme your language skills will have reached near-native proficiency and you will also have developed competence in translation and intercultural communication. The programmes focus on French, German and/or Spanish language, culture and society. They also develop insights into the wider socio-cultural context of translation.


Each of our Translation Studies programmes follows a clear progression, building upon your initial level and developing your full potential over the course of your studies. In each year of study, core modules in language and society are complemented by modules that focus on translation-relevant topics. The Third Year is spent abroad on a work placement (including work in a translation company), at an exchange university, or on an assistantship. In the Final Year, you will have the opportunity to practice your translation and interpreting skills and develop specialised translation competence in a subject area of your own choice. You will graduate as a confident speaker of French, German and/or Spanish with excellent intercultural and translation competence.

Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only - the modules on offer and the content of the modules is subject to change.

Year 1
Language and communication determine the way we interact with one another, shape our personal relationships and create an image of ourselves. On a larger scale, language and communication are among the main factors which shape societies and distinct forms of culture. This module offers an introduction to the basic concepts of language and communication. Linguistics, the science of studying language, languages and communication, offers a variety of tools and methods to analyse phenomena such as bilingualism, computer-mediated communication, language and globalization etc.

Assessment: two hour examination.

This module introduces students to translation as a professional activity. They will be familiarised with key theoretical concepts of translation and their application in practice, so as to develop skills in translating. They will learn to produce translations into English that are appropriate for their specified purpose and readers, and learn to explain their own translation decisions.

Assessment is by group work, coursework and examination.

This module follows on from the Introduction to Translation, putting into practice many of the ideas students encountered there. The module is based on practical sessions that examine a range of language mediation tasks including summary translation, song translation, subtitling, liaison interpreting and translation editing. The class uses various language combinations and involves intensive small-group preparation.

Method of assessment: group presentation and individual translation project.
This is the core language skills module for first-year students which provides a solid linguistic basis for the coming years of study. The module consists of three parts: a) grammar lecture, revising the major topics of German grammar; b) communication skills seminars, practising written and oral language skills with group work, whole-class work and individual study; and c) an e-learning component comprising listening skills, vocabulary and general knowledge of the German-speaking areas.

Methods of assessment: grammar tests, reader’s diary, written exam, oral exam and portfolio of self-study assignments.
The module provides students with knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century history and area studies as an essential intellectual basis for the modules in Levels Two and Three. Landeskunde lectures give students a basic knowledge of the German speaking countries, including geography, political systems, education systems, and aspects of the economy. In the second Teaching Period students are introduced to major events in German history from the late nineteenth century to the end of National Socialism, and their lasting effects on modern Germany are examined.

Assessment: 1-hour written examination at the end of Teaching Period I (25%). 10-minute oral presentation (25%), 1500-word essay (50%), research skills portfolio (pass/fail) in Teaching Period II.

In this module, students are introduced to film studies as an academic discipline. In seminars they learn about the grammar of film (i.e. the use of picture, sound, camera movements) and cover basic principles of interaction between audiences and the film industry. Focussing on a varying common theme (e.g. “coming of age”, “outsiders and social misfits”), students watch and analyse a range of contemporary German films and comment on them in class-discussions as well as in writing.

Assessment: 2-hour written, video based examination at the end of the Teaching Period (50%), 5 written tasks to be completed during teaching time, in weeks without seminars (10% each).

The topical content areas are determined by respective current events reported in the German news media. These serve as a platform to discuss wider issues in German politics, society, economy and culture. Examples can include elections, public debates, or major events. Students will also be made familiar with the nature and political affiliations of different newspapers and other media.

Assessment: speech; group discussion; two letters to the editor.
This seminar-based module introduces the German language today and its historical context. It covers topics including the German-speaking areas; spoken and written language; the development of a German standard language; language versus dialect: the examples of Low German and Frisian; language policy and language planning; German minority languages and linguistic minorities in Germany; language contact: the example of Yiddish and English borrowings into German.

Method of assessment: oral poster presentation and a two-hour exam in German.
Year 2
This module focuses on traditions of literary translation in Europe. Based on approaches to cultural exchange, students will learn about the history of literary translation in major European countries. Students are introduced to particular historical case studies, in the form of a short formal lecture, a student group presentation, and related discussion exercises, so as to get insight into the wider political, cultural and ethical context of translation.

Method of assessment: one-hour class test and 1500-word essay in English.

This module introduces a selection of electronic tools that assist the professional translator. They will carry out practical translation exercises using translation memory systems, machine translation, terminology databases, subtitle editors and localisation tools. The knowledge gained in this module will be particularly useful for potential work placements with translation companies during the year abroad.

Method of Assessment: portfolio and oral.

This module highlights the significance of intercultural and textual competence. Students will learn to identify and evaluate potential problems in crosscultural communication. By means of a variety of cross-cultural analyses of communicative settings and textual genres they will be familiarised with communicative conventions in English, German, French and Spanish. With special relevance to translation, the module will thus develop an insight into the significance of these conventions for effective (written and oral) communication.

Method of assessment:A 2000-word project in the target language (100%).

In this module, students are introduced to translation from German into English. It consists of two parts: a) textual skills with a focus on differences in grammar and word building in German and English; b) translation practice from German into English focusing on culture-specifics and text conventions.

Method of assessment: grammar and vocabulary exam and translation exam.
This module introduces the major historical and current aspects of Germany’s capital throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students are familiarised with the methods and approaches of cultural studies and gain further insights into themes discussed in other modules (German History and Society; Post war Germany; German Politics and Society). The seminars cover Berlin as a political and cultural centre during Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic, the National Socialist period, and post-war divided Germany, using both written sources and film, music and the visual arts.

Method of assessment: oral presentation and essay.
This module consolidates and develops the first-year work on all aspects of German language, using a variety of formats including class discussion, small-group or individual projects, and guided self-study. The module has two components: a) academic writing and communication skills in German; b) a set of independent learning tasks delivered by e-learning.

Methods of assessment: written examination (commentary in German), oral presentation, oral exam, essay and portfolio of self-study materials.
This module follows on from the Level One history course and provides students with solid knowledge and understanding of Germany from 1945 to the present day. The focus is on major events and themes of post-war history along with contemporary German politics, society, economy and culture. Topic areas include nationhood, division and reunification, the German political system and Germany’s place in Europe and the world.

Methods of assessment: Group presentation and written exam.
The module concentrates on specific topic areas in German society, culture, politics, and economy since 1990 (‘Berlin Republic’). These include, for example, reunification problems, elections, and multiculturalism. The topic areas chosen in a given year are related to current affairs. Students are given the opportunity to apply the tools and knowledge-base acquired in Teaching Period 1 (Post war Germany) to critically engage with, and keep informed about, German current affairs.

Methods of assessment: essay, group-discussion.
This module defines and introduces the students to significant developments in contemporary German cinema. The overarching theme is regularly adapted to new trends and has recently focused on the issue of migration in German cinema. Students are introduced to central aspects in cinema studies as well as key theoretical concepts in migration studies such as discussions of nationhood and Heimat, postcolonialism and basic principles of spatial theory. Seminars are complemented by independent watching of selected films.

Assessment: 2-hour written, video based examination at the end of the Teaching Period (50%), 5 written tasks to be completed during teaching time, in weeks without seminars (10% each).

This seminar opens up perspectives on the second German-speaking country, with special reference to the similarities and dissimilarities between Austria and Germany. It thus develops the knowledge acquired in German History and Society (Level One) and Post war Germany (Level Two), and increases students’ awareness of the role of regional differences. Topics covered include Austrian political history, Austrian language and culture, and contemporary Austrian society.

Methods of assessment: 2000-word essay in German, class presentation with handout.
This module has a dual aim: to introduce students to the techniques and applications of discourse analysis as a way of studying language in use, and to improve their understanding of authentic spoken German. In seminar work, the methods of linguistic fieldwork – collecting and transcribing spoken language data – are introduced and students are helped to find ways of analysing and evaluating the results. Each student creates and carries out a fieldwork project consisting of a transcription of authentic data and its analysis.

Method of assessment: 2000-word project in German.
Year 3 - Year Abroad
Final Year
This module will further consolidate students’ understanding of translation as a complex activity within a wider context. They will acquire knowledge of contemporary translation theories and cover topics such as children’s literature in translation, gender and translation, and the translation process. The seminars are based on discussion exercises, presentations, and a variety of practical case studies.

Method of assessment: 3000-word essay in English.

This module develops your skills in consecutive interpreting, especially liaison interpreting. You will learn how  to mediate between native speakers of German and English who do not speak the language of their communicative partner. We will practise role-play interpreting on a variety of topics and contexts of situation (e.g. interviews, negotiations, official and semi-official talks). You will be familiarised with memorising and note-taking techniques, mechanisms of language switch, interpersonal skills and interpreting strategies.

Assessment: interpreting a speech (30%) and a role-play dialogue (70%)
This module aims to consolidate awareness of contemporary translation theories and to apply these to practical work, with a focus on features of specialised translation including the role of corpora. After being introduced to basic concepts and techniques of LSP Translation, each student chooses a domain for study and collects a corpus of texts in English and German/French/Spanish (depending on language combination). This corpus will provide the basis researching he text conventions, lexical and grammatical features, content and intercultural issues that must be considered when translating a text from that domain.

Method of assessment: A research report (50%) and a translation (50%)

In this module, students work on aspects of written and spoken German at an advanced level. The module has four components: a) translation from German into English; b) debates; c) genre-specific writing with a focus on accuracy and style; abstracting from German into English with a focus on accurate reading and the skills of linguistic mediation; d) independent learning using a structured set of advanced grammar exercises to improve accuracy in German.

Method of assessment: translation into English, group debate, written report in German, three-hour examination and a portfolio of grammar work.
This module runs through the whole of the final year and draws together the skills students have acquired throughout the programme. It involves choosing a research topic from the areas of German history, politics, economics, language or culture; researching this; and writing it up in an extended essay in academic German. The written project is complemented by an oral defence of the project in German. Students attend weekly seminars on research skills and individual supervision tutorials.

Method of assessment: research project (5,000-6,000 words) and viva.
This module develops students’ ability to analyse film in a socio-historical context. It aims to deepen understanding and appreciation of film as an art form and as a medium to express and reflect discourses on German history as well as current social developments in Germany. Currently, the module focuses on the cinematic portrayal of German division and unification. It touches on questions of memory politics and introduces students to relevant theoretical concepts in that area.

Assessment: 2-hour written, video based examination at the end of the Teaching Period (50%), 5 written tasks to be completed during teaching time, in weeks without seminars (10% each).

This module builds on the level 2 Post war Germany module as well as first-hand experience acquired during the Year Abroad. Students enhance their familiarity with the popular culture of Germany and Austria from a variety of perspectives: art, literature, music, media, society, politics, and philosophy.

Method of assessment: essay.
This module follows on the themes introduced in ‘German Popular Culture’. Topic areas include the culture of the German Democratic Republic, film, the relationship of art and morality, tensions between art and politics, and the history of literature and poetry in the Federal Republic. Students will gain a deep understanding of the role of culture as a mediator between society and politics.

Assessment: essay.
The module addresses the main areas of German-Jewish history, including the emergence of a distinct Jewish-German culture since the late Middle Ages, the Jewish struggle for civil rights in the German-speaking countries during the nineteenth century and developments in the twentieth century. By focusing on biographies of Jewish women and men who helped to shape German and Austrian societies the module will also analyse the way the German-Jewish community saw and sees itself.

Assessment: 3000-word essay in German and an oral presentation.



Aston is 6th for Languages Graduate Level Destinations sixth months after Graduation - Guardian 2013


Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value their understanding of different cultures and societies, their communication skills and motivation for team work. Recent destinations for Language and Translation Studies graduates include:   


  • English Teacher, Business Language Skills
  • PR Graduate Scheme, LIDL
  • French Customer Service Co-ordinator, CRP
  • Bilingual Sales Coordinator, Narrow Aisle Ltd
  • Language Assistant, British Council
  • Translator/Analytical Support, B&Q
  • Immigration Assistant, Australian Embassy UK
  • Marketing Analyst, Deutsche Bank
  • Graduate Trainee Managers for British Airways, Aldi Stores, John Lewis and Selfridges
  • Journalist, Tatler Magazine
  • Account Manager Interpreting, Smoby (French Toy Company)
  • Senior AdministratorMichelin
  • Public Relations Officers for a number of companies
  • European Union/European Parliament Officers/Assistants
  • PGCE Secondary Teaching Qualification at universities including King’s College London, Warwick University and Exeter
  • Marketing Assistant at Beiersdorf 



You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. We teach our courses in German and English, which means that our students are at a real advantage when it comes to gaining maximum benefit and experience from the year abroad. 

You will be allocated a Personal Tutor when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

For further information, please see the Translation Studies - German programme specification.

Dr Stefan Manz - Senior Lecturer and Head of German 

Stefan Manz

 “At Aston, research is not an ‘ivory tower’ activity but a way of engaging with the world around us. We aim to make a real impact through our research – and that begins in the classroom. My own teaching is always informed by the latest thinking in my areas of specialism, which include migration studies, German history and society, and European Studies. A recent example is my volume on EU-enlargement. The material is perfect to be used in my seminar on German Politics and Society. Should Turkey join the European Union? Should Greece leave? Why does Croatia join and not Serbia? And what about the UK? After I chart Germany’s position on these questions, students engage in lively and sometimes controversial small-group discussion about the nature of the European Union. This is just one example of how my research feeds into and enlivens my teaching. We aim to equip our students with an in-depth and relevant understanding of the modern world. Our research helps us to achieve this aim.''

Professor Christina Schäffner - Professor of Translation Studies

Christina Schaffner

“My main research interests are directly related to translation and interpreting studies, in particular text analysis and translation, translation and politics, news translation, and translation competence development. In 2010, we held the 6th international conference ‘Critical Link’ at Aston, devoted to public service interpreting. This conference and the subsequent volume of selected papers, which I have co-edited, are of particular importance for the Interpreting module we offer to Final Year students since the latest developments in interpreting practice and research can feed into our teaching. My research into translation competence development has always been inspired by and fed into classroom activities. In various publications I have been able to illustrate how competence in practical translation can be enhanced if each task is approached on the basis of a solid theoretical and methodological framework.''


Campus accommodation guaranteed for first year and final year students returning from year abroad

The Third Year of your course is spent abroad in a German speaking country - increasing your fluency, enhancing your cultural awareness and adding value to your degree. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston University, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree. A distinctive feature of our year abroad is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, working as a teaching assistant in a school or studying at one of our partner universities - you might even choose to combine two of these options. We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away. Find out more about the Year Abroad.

Student Profile

Student Profile

Maija Ivanova

BSc Translation Studies - German

When applying to studying for an undergraduate degree, the balance of theory and practice was really important to me. At Aston the balance is perfect. After completing my undergraduate studies I knew I wanted to stay on to do a Masters here as well.


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Fees and funding

Fees and funding



Outstanding graduate career prospects


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