Translation for the Cultural and Heritage Sectors

Please ensure that you carefully read and follow the submission instructions, including how to name the file.


Choose from ONE of the options below:

Choose a cultural heritage collection with a contentious history or around a historically sensitive subject and consider how you would translate the associated descriptions, catalogue entries and/or labels into another language. The collection may be from any country and in any language that you know well. You may select a collection of any size, though if it is particularly substantial you should limit your discussion in parts 2 and 3 below to a portion of it.
Write a 3000-word essay on your chosen case study. The word count excludes bibliography, footnotes, back translations, and appendices. Please note that 3000 words is the absolute maximum length. Essays that exceed this length will be subject to the usual penalties as laid out in the SELCS- CMII MA/MSc Handbook.

Your essay should follow the structure below and include each of the parts listed below:
Part 1 Introduction to the Collection (approximately 500 words)
Provide a short overview of the collection, explaining why you consider the collection to be contentious or historically sensitive. You should make use of terminology and concepts discussed on the module CMII0162.
Part 2 Analysis of the Collection in the Original Language (approximately 1000 words)
Analyze the language used to describe the collection in the host institution’s description/catalogue entries/labels. You should discuss a minimum of four specific examples (e.g. of words, expressions, grammatical choices, metaphors etc.). There is no maximum number of examples, but you should ensure that each example is analyzed critically. When analyzing the language, you should refer to concepts and debates covered on the module CMII0162. If the collection is in a language other than English, you must provide back translations of each example in a table or footnote. These back translations are not included in the word count.

Part 3 Translation of the Collection into Another Language (approximately 1000 words)
Outline how you would translate the host institution’s description/catalogue entries/labels into either English (if the collection is in another language) or into your first language (if the collection is in English) using a ‘conscientious’ translation approach (as defined on the module CMII0162). Use examples to illustrate your approach and justify your decisions, referring to concepts and debates covered on the module CMII0162. If your translations are into a language other than English, you must provide back translations of each example in a table or footnote. These back translations are not included in the word count.
Part 4 Conclusion and Connection with Similar Case Studies (approximately 500 words)
Write a short reflection on the key insights that emerge from your case study, particularly as they relate to translation in the cultural and/or heritage sector. How do these insights compare with observations made in relation to other collections, whether in academic studies, the media, or reports by those working in cultural or heritage institutions?
Part 5 Bibliography (not included in word count)
Your bibliography should list all primary and secondary sources which you have cited or to which you have referred in the essay. We recommend that you use the referencing system outlined in the CenTraS Dissertation Guide, but you may use any recognised referencing system (e.g. Chicago, Harvard, APA).
Part 6 Appendices (not included in word count)
You should provide your examiners with access to the collection material that you have analysed. If the collection is online, this may simply be in the form of a statement in which you provide relevant URL links. If the collection is a physical one, you should paste photographs or copies of the relevant material into your appendix OR provide a link to a file sharing site. If you opt for the latter, you must ensure that the files are available to anyone with the link and that the link does not expire before 1 August 2024, so that all markers, including external examiners, can access them.

Write a 3000-word essay on a question of your own devising. The question must be on a topic from the module CMII0162, and must be approved by the convenor before you begin work on it.

Mark Scheme
The assignment will be marked using the CenTraS Marking Criteria (applicable section: Marking criteria for essays/commentaries and write-ups). The Criteria are available on the CMII0162 Moodle (assessment tab).

Use of AI in this assessment
The use of AI tools is generally not recommended for this assessment, which requires close engagement with the content of the module (including peer-reviewed articles and books written by specialists in their field). The assessment also requires you to carry out detailed original critical analysis of very specific material, another task in which AI has weak competence. However, should you wish to use AI, AI is permitted in an assistive role (Category 2 in the UCL guidance), as follows:
• checking academic writing, such as fluency, presentation, grammar, spelling, punctuation. AI can only be used to check your original work, not to generate an assessment.
• checking and refining your analyses of collection material in the original language. For example, you may use AI to check your understanding of the connotations of a word or its history of use. However, you should note that specialist dictionaries and academic studies will often be more helpful in this regard.
• producing draft translations, checking or refining your own translations. Remember that however you choose to use AI (or machine translation) in this regard, you are responsible for the quality of the final translations that you present. It may be interesting to see what
automated translation tools produce, as they are likely to have little ‘awareness’ of e.g. conscientious translation or decolonized approaches. If you wish, you may incorporate discussion of these machine-generated alternatives into your discussion of your own translations, and you should identify the tool or site used to generate them.
• supporting your research skills, for example in conducting a preliminary literature search. However, you must check all resources for accuracy, authority and currency. All academic work that you cite should be from peer-reviewed sources and of contemporary relevance. If you are citing non-academic material, you must evaluate the quality and authority of the source. Please see the Library guidelines for detailed advice on using AI tools and how to acknowledge AI in your work.
Important note: When considering the use of AI tools to support your work, please remember that the marking criteria award the highest marks to independent critical thinking, clear individual voice, and original research and analysis. The focus is thus on original and independent work.

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