French into English: translation in practice

Course Dates: 05/10/20 - 02/11/20
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Online

Do you enjoy translating, reading in French and writing in English? Come and join this interactive translation course.

Classes every other week: 7/10-21/10-4/11-18/11-02/12.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

Enhance your understanding of French language and culture and develop your English writing style by doing and discussing translations.

This is a live online face-to-face course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

This is primarily a practical translation course with a focus on literature, although there will be opportunities to work with other forms of writing, depending on student interest. You will translate a range of short passages and discuss your work in class. We will also look at short extracts from published English translations alongside their French originals.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- acquired practical experience of translating from and into a range of different writing styles.
- enhanced your knowledge and understanding of the French language and French-speaking cultures.
- developed your own skills as a writer of English, particularly your ability to write in different “voices”.
- acquired a better understanding of the work of the professional literary translator.
There may be other outcomes, depending on the needs and interests of the group of students.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Students should have a good knowledge of French language and culture and be comfortable with reading literature in French. They should also be able to write in fluent, idiomatic English (at least English level C1 if not a native Englih speaker)s. It is also essential that you have knowledge of more complex grammar terminology such as: the subjunctive, the conditional, pronouns, direct and indirect speech.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This is a practical, participative course in which students will be required to prepare translations for discussion in class. Homework will be set every week, which students should be willing and able to do in order to benefit fully from the course.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Based on tutor's material. The tutor will discussed material as appropriate.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

To be discussed with your tutor for a continuation of this course. You could also do another course related to French, creative writing, journalism, etc.


Customer Reviews 10 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Excellent introduction to doing translation which develops week on week.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 23/11/2019)
This is an excellent course, I would thoroughly recommend it. The tutor is a very experienced translator who is an excellent teacher and really committed to supporting students. I'm looking forward to further courses.
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Review by Andrew / (Posted on 18/11/2019)
Enjoyable and educational
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Review by A. / (Posted on 30/10/2019)
I would have no hesitation in recommending this course - it is very well thought through.
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Review by Jason / (Posted on 30/10/2019)
This course has given me confidence and has fed my enthusiasm for translating from French to English. The tutor is sensitive and encouraging, and she introduced us to a wide range of French literature. The group discussions were lively and stimulating, and I was very sorry when it came to an end.
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Review by AS / (Posted on 14/04/2017)
This is a great course which thoroughly exceeded my expectations. We worked on a range of mostly literary texts which all offered different translation challenges. The format of the course worked really well and the tutor had bags of professional experience. She was also very warm and welcoming, and took the time to review and provide written comments, suggestions and encouragement on each piece of translation work we submitted. I was really sorry when the course ended. If there had been another course this term I'd have certainly signed up for it.
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Review by Viv / (Posted on 25/04/2016)
This twelve week course was excellent in many ways: translation, like creative writing, tends to be a solitary occupation and so any chance to share and discuss the different solutions with other people working on the same text are invaluable. Right from the start, the tutor set the tone by establishing that translation is subjective so that we could then begin to explore the subtleties of nuance and consistency freely and openly. And this exploration was helped by a very good choice of texts - from contemporary literature to dialogue in a theatre script to magazine journalism. The format of the class varied from presentations to small group working and over time the confidence of the group increased so that discussions were both respectful and supportive. I was also impressed by the work the tutor had done to prepare for the course and also her commitment during the course to comment in detail on all our work. She was very inspiring and helpful throughout. We all would be very keen to have this course repeated on a regular basis so we hope City Lit will consider this, please! Thank you.
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Review by Hannah / (Posted on 25/03/2016)
Thoroughly enjoyable course- a good range of texts and overall extremely well facilitated by a professional translator, who provided constructive feedback and created a supportive interactive learning environment for the whole group.
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Review by vladivostock / (Posted on 25/03/2016)
Great atmosphere in class. The tutor was very generous with her time, and gave each of us detailed and constructive feedback on our translations. Very much enjoyed the carefully selected texts, including a wide range of fiction, plus ads and an advertorial. A hugely satisfying and stimulating course which made me long for more. I want to build on the skills the tutor helped me develop. I'd want the same tutor again. I also liked the way the tutor provided translations of the passages we'd worked on, at the end of the class. There were some excellent exercises too.
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Review by My name's Vera. I don't know what people call me behind my back. / (Posted on 24/03/2016)
This course exceeded my expectations. The teacher was an expert professional teacher and translator. We translated a wide variety of enjoyable and challenging texts. The pace was quite intensive, but the ambiance informal. Feedback was detailed, useful and supportive.
Course Rating
Review by Jean / (Posted on 25/03/2015)
Tutor Biographies
Trista Selous

Trista studied French at UCL and, in 1988 published a book on the French writer Marguerite Duras, based on her PhD thesis: “The Other Woman” (Yale UP). Since then she has led a double professional life as a freelance translator and teacher. As a translator she works mainly in literary non-fiction, fiction and academic writing. Her translation of Gwenaëlle’s autofiction “Personne” was shortlisted for the French-American Foundation Translation Prize in 2013. For 30 years she also worked for the British Film Institute as a translator, performer and subtitles of film soundtracks and as an interpreter for actors, directors and producers from the French-speaking world. In parallel to translation she has always been a teacher, on courses in French language, literature, cinema and translation at various universities in London and, since 2005, also at City Lit. She greatly enjoys sharing her French-related interests with students and learning from the ideas and experiences that they bring.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: LF541

Mon, day, 05 Oct - 02 Nov '20

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Full fee: £99.00
Senior fee: £99.00
Concession: £60.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2644

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.