Professor
Modern Languages
Telephone: (01792) 604030
Room: Academic Office - 433
Fourth Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus

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): codah.swansea.ac.uk 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: www.delightedbeauty.org/vvv See also: www.tinyurl.com/vvvex

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.

Publications

  1. & Non-professional Interpreters in Counselling for Asylum Seeking and Refugee Women. Torture Journal 28(2), 85-98.
  2. & Multi-Retranslation Corpora: Visibility, Variation, Value and Virtue. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 32(4), 739-760.
  3. & 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.
  4. Reading Originals by the Light of Translations. In Shakespeare Survey 68. (pp. 87-98).
  5. '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.

See more...

Teaching

  • ML-227 War and Conflict in European Film (Modern Languages route)

    War and Conflict in European Film provides a detailed overview of the history of war and conflict in Europe from the early twentieth century to the present day as it is represented and expressed on film. Beginning with the origins of film-art fused with political expression, the module proceeds through the analysis of film movements and representative films to engage with and analyse the development of war and conflict in Europe as it is represented and expressed in relation to film narrative, aesthetics and genre. Encompassing both World Wars, the rise and fall of Communism, the often violent end of European colonialism, and the `oil wars¿ of recent decades, this module is of vital interest to all those with an interest in the history of Europe, the nature of war and conflict, and the response of film, the art form of the twentieth century, to these events and themes.

  • ML-320 Modern Languages Dissertation Preparation

    This module introduces you to the practice of research and dissertation writing in the field of Modern Languages and will guide you in the first part of your dissertation preparation. Areas covered include: selecting a relevant topic, asking relevant research questions, preparing and writing up a literature review, preparing and writing up a research proposal, research methods and library research tools, making use of foreign-language sources, structuring your dissertation, analysis and argumentation, compiling a bibliography. In addition to lectures and seminars, you will have three meetings with your supervisor. By the end of the module you will have developed your dissertation topic, know what methodology you will use and have acquired knowledge of how to organise and lay out your dissertation. Assessment for the module consists of a literature review, a research proposal and a presentation.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • MLG207 German Song Cultures

    From `Stille Nacht¿ to `Mackie Messer¿, from `Erlkönig¿ to `99 Luftballons¿, from Lili Marlene to MIA, from Luther¿s hymns to the `Deutschlandlied¿ ¿ there are songs from every phase of German culture which reflect popular feelings and standpoints on political and social questions. Many have become part of popular memory; some have had international impact. Germany's turbulent political history has been accompanied by songs both of official propaganda and of popular resistance. Song culture is now fragmented, with subcultures including Schlager, Liedermacher, Rock, Pop, Rap, Techno to name but a few. The market is dominated by US, UK and other imports. But German national history still has a song-based memory sound-track, and songs can still be controversial. The German state routinely bans songs deemed 'dangerous to young people'. You will research how songs reflect events, or topics such as national identity, gender roles, nature and ecology, deviance and violence, economic and political injustice, migration and cultural diversity.

  • 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).

  • MLG270B Intermediate German Language 2B

    This module is the foundation of advanced level study of German which will equip students who have previously taken MLG108 and MLG109 Beginner German with the skills needed to use German in general and professional environments. The module 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. 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 MLG270A. Classes will be conducted mainly in German.

  • 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.

  • MLG306 German Song Cultures

    From `Stille Nacht¿ to `Mackie Messer¿, from `Erlkönig¿ to `99 Luftballons¿, from Lili Marlene to MIA, from Luther¿s hymns to the `Deutschlandlied¿ ¿ there are songs from every phase of German culture which reflect popular feelings and standpoints on political and social questions. Many have become part of popular memory; some have had international impact. Germany's turbulent political history has been accompanied by songs both of official propaganda and of popular resistance. Song culture is now fragmented, with subcultures including Schlager, Liedermacher, Rock, Pop, Rap, Techno to name but a few. The market is dominated by US, UK and other imports. But German national history still has a song-based memory sound-track, and songs can still be controversial. The German state routinely bans songs deemed 'dangerous to young people'. You will research how songs reflect events, or topics such as national identity, gender roles, nature and ecology, deviance and violence, economic and political injustice, migration and cultural diversity.

  • MLG310C Translation Workshop (German/English)

    The aim of this module is to develop your practical skills in translating from German into English to a high level. The module is based on a dossier of textual materials illustrating distinct text types, and distinct aspects of German and British cultures and societies. Each text will be introduced by a brief, which will direct students towards different types of translation (documentary, instrumental and various degrees of abbreviation). As well as the translation of the text, classes and assessments will also deal with the analysis of genre-specific linguistic usage and of translation strategies, decisions and shifts; notes will also be made on specific difficulties encountered during translation. In assessed pieces this ASN (analysis, strategy, notes) will be worth 50% of the overall mark.

  • 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).

  • MLT328 Translation Theory and Ethics Through the Ages

    Throughout history and all over the world, translation has played a vital role in mediating between languages and cultures. The translator's role has often been a delicate one, at the point of intersection between conflicting religious, political, cultural and social value-systems, and translators up to the present day have always had to negotiate, more or less successfully, the resultant ethical dilemmas. This module combines historical and theoretical perspectives on Translation Studies, focusing them on the ethical issues raised, in many different contexts, by the practice of translation. Such issues include the mediation of religiously-sensitive content, the strengthening of vernacular cultures, and the transmission of scientific and cultural knowledge, as well as the translator's position in relation to gender bias, post-colonial values, or the claimed 'dehumanizing' effects of contemporary computerized translation tools. The module aims to explore the continuing relevance of such historical and theoretical issues to translators working today.

  • MLTM28 Translation Theory and Ethics Through the Ages

    Throughout history and all over the world, translation has played a vital role in mediating between languages and cultures. The translator's role has often been a delicate one, at the point of intersection between conflicting religious, political, cultural and social value-systems, and translators up to the present day have always had to negotiate, more or less successfully, the resultant ethical dilemmas. This module combines historical and theoretical perspectives on Translation Studies, focusing them on the ethical issues raised, in many different contexts, by the practice of translation. Such issues include the mediation of religiously-sensitive content, the strengthening of vernacular cultures, and the transmission of scientific and cultural knowledge, as well as the translator's position in relation to gender bias, post-colonial values, or the claimed 'dehumanizing' effects of contemporary computerized translation tools. The module aims to explore the continuing relevance of such historical and theoretical issues to translators working today.

Supervision

  • Gunter Grass and Narrative: Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke, Der Butt, Unkenrufe and Ein Weites Feld (current)

    Student name:
    MA
    Other supervisor: Prof Julian Preece
  • A Study of Xiao Qian as a Translation Theorist and Translator (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Sabrina Wang
  • Design, compilation and applications of an English-Polish-Belarusian Parallel Literary Corpus (current)

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

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Julian Preece
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Salwa El-Awa
  • 'Italian Translations of the Works of P.G. Wodehouse: an Epistemic Approach' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Roberta Magnani

Key Grants and Projects

Research Groups