Translation Policy

The University acknowledges the importance of being able to exercise effectively its responsibility for academic standards when the delivery and/or assessment of programmes are conducted in a language other than English. This policy makes explicit the University’s expectations for language and translation and should be read in conjunction with the Language Policy.

1 Agreements and Contracts

1.1 Agreements and contracts with overseas partner organisations should include provisions relating to translation and be included in the Operational Manual:

(i) The languages of assessment and delivery;

(ii) Responsibilities and management for the independent translation of documents into the appropriate languages including the quality assurance of these translations;

(iii) The financial implications for translation services, taking into account the volume of work to be translated and the cost of quality assurance of the translations;

(iv) The capacity to provide independent translation facilities of an appropriate standard;

(v) Translations to be undertaken at the expense of the partner and within approved independent quality assurance arrangements as out in the operational manual;

(vi) The approval and recording of the names of all translation organisations which must be approved by the University before they are employed and engaged in translation duties;

(vii) The arrangements for independent translations which should be confirmed at the collaborative approval event and recorded in the operational manual.

3 Awards, Certificates and Transcripts

Certificates and/or transcripts must record the name of the Partner Organisation and the languages of delivery/instruction and assessment. Where the language of assessment is not the same as the language of delivery this must be made clear on the certificate and/or transcripts.

4 Assessment Boards

Assessment Boards will at all times be conducted in English and be managed by the University of Derby, in line with the University’s Regulations.

5 Translation Requirements

5.1 A collaborative partnership that is operating primarily in a language other than English will require the necessary translation of institutional documentation (including all materials relating to assessment) into English, as well as translation into the partner’s primary language of delivery /instruction and business where appropriate, so that the University will be able to maintain continued oversight of all relevant aspects of the partnership for operational and quality assurance purposes.

5.2 It is the translation of student work which is most important and requires careful quality management. Because student work is both subject-specialist and sometimes hand-written, the use of high quality independent translation services is essential.

Where assessment takes place in a language other than English, the policy of the University will be that work is marked and moderated in the original language whenever possible. This is seen to provide the fairest and most economical approach to assessment/moderation in another language.

Therefore the appointment of External Examiners/Moderators, and staff of the University to carry out internal moderation, who have both appropriate subject expertise and a professional working knowledge of the language of submitted assessment. Where this is not possible there is a clear requirement for independent translation.

5.3 Where translation is necessary the translation must be undertaken by:

(i) A nominated person who is independent of the collaborative centre and is a suitably qualified translator or bilingual member of staff with subject knowledge who is approved by the University.

(ii) Translators should be provided with information about the context of the work they are required to translate (e.g. institutional documents, or scripts that are completed under formal examination conditions, translation of face-to-face meetings and presentations etc.) and a schedule for translation activity from the relevant Partnership Lead well in advance of the commencement of any activity that relates to translation.

(iii) It is recommended that student coursework is submitted in word-processed form, in order to minimise the amount of hand-written material to be translated.

6. Control and Verification of Translations

Control translations should be conducted on an annual basis by an independent and suitably qualified translator who has not taken part in any translations that are to be verified by the control translation process. The translator should be independent from the collaborative partner and approved by the University and the British Council. (See 5 above)

Control translations are translated documents that are checked for accuracy in translation from the original language of delivery / instruction to the English language. Such control translations are carried out to verify translations and assure the University of the standard and quality of the translation(s) undertaken [accuracy, register, meaning of the translations] by comparing them with the original in the first language. The activity does not produce a further translation but instead a report on each piece of work for consideration by the University.

Documents to be verified by the control translations would normally include student coursework and/or examination papers from specific modules, regulatory documents and operational documents. A representative1 sample of translated documents should be selected by the University on an annual basis for control translations.

Where the control translation report or other feedback indicates that the translation is not of the necessary standard for staff in the University to fulfil their responsibilities (such as internal moderation) then the University is responsible for investigating the particular translator/agency and make further checks on the work. Alternatively, the University may take immediate action to require that another agency be employed.

7 External Examiners

Approval of External Examiners of appointments should take into account their language expertise. External Examiners and External Moderators should normally have a good working knowledge of the language of assessment.

However, within a team of examiners it may be appropriate to have an external without language expertise if, for example, they are to compare the work of students on the same programme submitting in different languages from different partnerships. In such circumstances, care should be taken regarding the sample of work that is moderated and to ensure parity.

As well as moderating student work, the External Examiners should also be responsible for checking assignment briefs and examination papers in both original and translated versions, to ensure that they have carried out their responsibilities regarding the approval of assessment design and the context has not been lost in translation.

The existence and continuity of supply of external examiners with appropriate language, subject expertise and experience of UK Higher Education should be a key factor in any decision to approve a new collaborative arrangement using a language other than English.

8 Internal Moderation

The Internal Moderation policy of the University requires that all work on all modules and at all locations is sampled and internally moderated by University of Derby staff adhering to the University’s Regulations. The implications of this are that an appropriate sample of student work (as prescribed in the policy) is translated for the purposes of internal moderation, even where the language expertise of External Examiners/Moderators means that no translations are required for External moderation. The moderation sample for translation will normally be approved by relevant University of Derby staff.

9 Management and Review of Translation Requirements

As part of the annual monitoring process a review of translations should be carried out by the Partnership Leads using control translation reports and other relevant feedback. Where risk is deemed as low (eg growing maturity of the partnership and/or confidence in partner quality standards and assurance following confirmation of effective assessment practice following a period of second marking by University staff) translations will not be required for certain documents identified in the table below (fig. 1). The table should be updated on an annual basis by the Partnership Lead to indicate which documents require continued translation for the forthcoming academic year which should also be included in the operational manual.

10. Documentation

Documentation and materials that should normally be translated into both languages and where partner staff do not deliver in English are:

i. Publicity/marketing materials (on a sampling basis only and in line with the published marketing protocol)

ii. Claims for RPL

iii. Programme handbooks and other key information provided to students that relate to the University of Derby Award;

iv. The University of Derby 3Rs, programme specifications, module specifications, operational manual, the collaborative handbook and other documentation for staff and students designed by the University;

v. Minutes of programme committees, assessment boards and any other key committees and meetings;

vi. Materials required for monitoring e.g. analyses of student feedback, external examiner reports / responses, annual monitoring reports, statistics, visit reports. Annual monitoring reports and external examiner reports should be submitted in English and these should be translated into the main language of delivery and circulated to all staff and students.

All materials relating to assessment and moderation, e.g. all draft examination questions (and model/example answers etc.) should be translated into English where it is not possible to employ UoD internal moderation staff and external examiners who are bi-lingual.

vii. Where necessary all digitally stored translations and sensitive data should be encrypted

11 Translation Table

Fig. 1

Document Translation into English Translation into Partner’s language of instruction Translation no longer required (to be completed by the Partnership Lead as part of the annual review)
University 3Rs  Yes
Operational Manual  Yes 
Collaborative Handbook  Yes 
Programme Specifications  Yes 
Module Specifications  Yes 

Partner Programme Handbook (or equivalent)


Module Handbooks (or equivalent)


Examination Scripts and solutions

Examination Papers  Yes 
Internal Moderation  Yes  Yes 

External Examiner Report(s)


External Examiner Response(s)

Yes  Yes 

Programme Committee minutes

Yes  Yes 
Annual Monitoring data  Yes  Yes 

Annual Monitoring Reports

Yes  Yes 
Visit Reports  Yes 
Student Feedback Yes Yes -

Assessment Board minutes

- Yes -

College Quality Enhancement Committee Minutes

- Yes -
Publicity materials Yes Yes -
Marketing materials Yes Yes -
Other, please state - - -

12 Control Translation Flow Chart

Control Translation Flow Chart transcript

1. Documents identified for translation by Project Manager

2. Schedule for translation published to all relevant parties

3. Translators identified and approved using criteria published in this policy


a. Original document generated in English to be translated into partner language of instruction


b. Original document generates in partner's language of instruction to be translated into English

If b:

5. Sample agreed for control translation and sample provided in English and partner language of instruction to the control

6. Control Translation report generated and considered programme committee/College Quality Enhancement Committee


a. No issues identified


b. Issues identified

If a, skip to 9.

If b, continue to 8.

8. Corrective action taken in-line with the policy

Continue to 9 OR return to 4b.

9. Annual Translation Control Report and Annual Monitoring provide data for the review of the translation table in section 8, and which documents should continue to be translated.