Training for the viva examination: A translation studies student perspective

Sue Ann Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myth and mystery often surround the doctoral examination process, not just for students but also for supervisors and examiners. Yet it need not be so. Recent publications informed by current empirical research and addressed primarily to doctoral students but also relevant to both supervisors and examiners discuss the nature and purposes of the viva and offer detailed strategies for viva preparation. For one Translation Studies doctoral student in her final year, the idea that mystery could be exchanged for sound and informed preparation has proved empowering. This paper, in a reflection on that empowering experience, discusses a selection of resources on viva culture and preparation; the integral connection between written thesis and oral examination; the opportunities for training and practice in the oral communication of ideas, arguments and conclusions; the opportunities for acculturation and induction into the academic community or 'tribe' during doctoral study, which culminate in the viva; and the complex nature of the oral examination, which requires complex, imaginative, proactive preparation rather than a search for simplistic solutions. The paper includes a number of concrete examples and useful suggestions for viva preparation, relevant to both staff and students, and applicable throughout the doctoral programme. © St. Jerome Publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages13
JournalInterpreter and Translator Trainer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Doctoral examination
  • Doctoral training
  • Student perspective
  • Viva examination


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