Professor Tom Cheesman

Tom Cheesman is a Reader in German. His teaching includes German language, modern history, literature, song cultures; international film; general and literary translation; history and theory of translation.

Tom is founding Co-Director of the Centre on Digital Arts and Humanities (est. 2014): He is Principal Investigator on the collaborative, multi-disciplinary ‘Version Variation Visualisation’ project, a.k.a. TransVis. This project (AHRC-funded) applies Digital Humanities methods to multiple comparable translations. Interactive outputs are at: See also:

Other recent projects include edited books on Feridun Zaimoglu (2012, co-ed Karin Yesilada) and German Text Crimes (2013). Ongoing work on the history of translations of Shakespeare’s Othello --including on the neglected mid-20th-century translator, feminist, socialist 'inner emigrant' Hedwig Schwarz.

Tom has published in areas as various as German popular ballads, hip hop, late Goethe, Werner Herzog, and the trans-editing of international broadcasters’ web outputs. Tom was PI on the Axial Writing Project (1998-2002), a comparative study of diasporic writing cultures (ESRC-funded).

Tom is a founder member of Wales PEN Cymru (2014). His translations from French and German include poetry, fiction and essays by Jörg Bernig, Volker Braun, Esther Dischereit, Ulrike Draesner, Herbert Grönemeyer, Soleïman Adel Guémar, and Zafer Şenocak. With Eric Ngalle Charles and Sylvie Hoffmann, in 2003 Tom established non-profit Hafan Books, to publish writing by refugees in Wales, alongside work by other writers of Wales. Tom is Treasurer of Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group.

Dr Cheesman offers PhD supervision in the following areas: German-language modern and contemporary literature; literary translation (practice, history, theory) with English, French, and/or German; re-translation corpora; comparative literature; refugee literature; popular song from the 18th century to the present.


  1. & Multi-Retranslation Corpora: Visibility, Variation, Value and Virtue. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
  2. & Five Maps of Translations of Shakespeare. In Catriona MacLeod and Bethany Wiggin (Ed.), Un/Translatables: New Maps for Germanic Literatures. (pp. 253-278). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
  3. Reading Originals by the Light of Translations. In Shakespeare Survey 68. (pp. 87-98).
  4. 'Die Zerreißprobe des Fremden': Zafer Şenocaks Köşk - Der Pavillon - The Residence und Antoine Bermans Übersetzungskritik. In It's not published in a journal, it's a chapter in a book!. Tübingen: Konkursbuch.
  5. Othello 1.3: "Far More Fair Than Black". In Bruce Smith (Ed.), The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare, Volume 2: The World's Shakespeare. (pp. 1156-1161). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

See more...


  • ML-321 Modern Languages Dissertation

    This module provides students with the opportunity to research one aspect of French, German, Italian or Hispanic culture in detail, and to present the findings of their research in a dissertation of 8000 words. The module will be taught by means of four practical seminars on research and writing skills, and through three formal supervision sessions with a dissertation supervisor. Your supervisor will help you to find a topic, suggest research strategies, agree a suitable title, discuss the structure of your dissertation, and will read closely and comment on one draft chapter. The topic may relate to a module you are doing at Level 3, provided that this does not involve a duplication of material and is agreed with the module coordinator in advance. The dissertations may be written in English, in your target language, or in Welsh (where Welsh-medium provision is available).

  • MLG100B Introduction to German Culture (B) - Since 1945

    This module provides all students of German with an insight into the main historical and cultural developments in Germany from the end of the Second World War to the present. It also examines examples of German literature and film against the historical background in which they were produced. The module provides students with the skills and foundation knowledge which they need to pursue other academic modules in German in more detail.

  • MLG160B German Language 1B

    This module is the foundation of advanced level study of German which will equip students with the skills needed to use German in day-to-day life and professional environments. The module aims to consolidate and extend the language skills developed by students at A level (or equivalent) and to facilitate their progress in linguistic competence. It concentrates on further developing fluency and accuracy in written and spoken German, establishing a firm grammatical understanding of the language, and extending students¿ vocabulary to read, write, interpret and speak about issues related to contemporary German society and culture appropriate to levels B1/B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The module also aims to enhance students¿ employability by providing a grounding in the vocabulary and use of German in contexts relating to the world of work. It is typically taken in conjunction with MLG160A. Classes will be conducted mainly in German. This module is also available through the medium of Welsh.

  • MLG210 German Translation Workshop 2

    The aim of this module is to develop your practical skills in translating from German into English. Seminars will discuss a series of four simulated translation projects dealing with different types of text, from the point of view of the participants (e.g. commissioning agency, client), and comparative analysis of relevant areas of German and English language and culture. You will write up for assessment the second project (after discussion in class) and the fourth project (independently, after receiving feedback on the second).

  • MLG301B German General Language 3B

    This module offers practice and development of skills in translation from English into German at an advanced level, as well as German oral and communication skills. Writing and oral classes will give you practice in the exercises covered by the module. Following an integrated teaching approach you will also be able to reinforce and expand your existing grammatical knowledge in a series of grammar workshops. One hour per week is dedicated to oral practice, further increasing your speaking and listening skills. You are expected to take part in class discussions with a native speaker of German based on written texts, audio and video materials. All classes are conducted mainly through the medium of the target language. In addition to class work, students are expected to undertake extensive private study.

  • MLGM01 Advanced Translation (German - English)

    In 17 weekly two hour small-group seminars running through Semester 1 and into Semester 2, students will translate, discuss and annotate both non-technical and technical texts. Practice assignments will grow progressively longer to reflect real-world conditions and students will on occasion be expected to work together, critiquing and editing each other's work to produce a collaborative finished version. Techniques for discovering domain-specific knowledge and translating technical terminology will be explored and developed. Assessment will be by three test translations in different domains done through the year under exam conditions (2 hours with dictionaries and/or electronic resources), each counting for 25% of the marks of the module, plus one Terminology Project or Wikipedia Project counting for the final 25%.

  • MLGM60 Advanced English-German Translation for MA Exchange Students

    This module is only available to students coming to Swansea on an approved, single-semester M-level exchange from a translation and/or interpreting school in Europe (e.g. from the METS consortium). Teaching and assessment are identical to either the first or the second semester of the existing 20 credit, 2-semester Advanced Translation modules MLgM01 (Germanto English) OR MLGM30 (English to German), OR an approved mixture between them. Students taking MLGM60 will attend the same classes and submit the same two written assessments as those taking the corresponding semester of the longer module(s).

  • MLTM04 Translating Sacred Texts

    In 10 weekly two-hour interactive lectures taught in Semester 2, this module explores key issues in the history of the theory and practice of translation. After studying some of the most important contemporary positions, we move on to explore the changes in the cultural status of translation from ancient times to the present, analysing the ways in which translations have contributed to he reception of texts, and focusing on some of the political, theological and philosophical debates which translations have provoked. The module concludes with three sessions devoted to individual genres and the specific questions associated with translating different text-types. Assessment is by one essay and one 2-hour exam.

  • MSS106 Hollywood: A History of American Film

    Hollywood: A History of American Cinema is a contextual and chronological study of the history of Hollywood, its effect on American society and its attempts to reflect the changes of that society. Key films are studied in depth and in relation to each other and to social and political developments in the USA.


  • Italian Translations of the Works of P.G. Wodehouse: an Epistemic Approach (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Roberta Magnani
  • Hybridity in Merchant-Ivory's Indian Films: From the Householder to Heat and Dust (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Julian Preece
  • A Study of Xiao Qian’s Self-translation (1939-1946) (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Sabrina Wang
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Lloyd Davies
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Sophie Smith

Key Grants and Projects

Research Groups