Business Interpreting in Chinese and English MA

This programme will train you to be ready to perform your first conference interpreting job upon graduation. We are the only programme in the UK that makes this commitment.

Why Surrey?

This programme prepares you to work successfully as an interpreter in conference, business and political settings at the highest levels.

It is delivered in co-operation with KL Communications Ltd, an established communications company with many years experience in providing interpreting services between Chinese and English at the top levels of business and government.

The programme’s main strengths are:

1. Surrey is ranked as the fourth best university in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2016

2. The programme's main tutor is Dr Kevin Lin OBE (林超伦博士), interpreter for Prime Minister David Cameron

3. Our students do more simulated interpreting than any other programme in the UK

4. We offer more internship, traineeship and real interpreting opportunities than any other programme in the UK

Programme overview

Consecutive Interpreting I and II

Semester 1 - weekly skills training

Semester 2 - weekly simulated interpreting jobs

Simultaneous Interpreting I and II

Semester 1 - weekly skills training

Semester 2 - weekly simulated interpreting jobs

Economics/Business Translation I
Semester 1 - skills training with weekly assignments
Interpreting Studies Semester 1 - overview of main principles of interpreting
Dissertation 10,000 words
Internship One week at KL Communications Ltd in London with a certificate upon completion. The company is the UK’s leading Chinese interpreting service provider.
Optional Modules
  • Public Service Interpreting (PSI) Trends and Issues
  • Interpreting and Society
  • Economics/Business Translation II
  • Corpora in Translation/Interpreting Practice and Research
  • Research Methods in Translation Studies


How to apply

  1. Online application with a personal statement, CV plus IELTS certificate
  2. A four-hour written test via email
  3. Interview via Skype with Dr Kevin Lin OBE (林超伦博士)
  4. Deadline for application 15 June 2016
  5. Deadline for accepting our offer – four weeks from the date of the offer

Application notes

Personal statement

Please state why you’ve chosen the University of Surrey in particular. For example, what is it that our programme offers that others don’t?

IELTS results

We will not test you until we have received your IELTS results. Please note: it is essential that you take your IELTS test early, apply early, and accept our offer early. Although the deadline for application is in June, it is very likely that all places on the programme will have been filled in April.

Aptitude test: written part

The test will consist mainly of translation between English/Chinese both ways. We will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient day and time for the test. We will email the test paper just before the agreed time - you must email it back within 4 hours.

Aptitude test: spoken part

If you succeed in the written test, we will inform you of the date and time of the interview, which will be conducted by Dr Kevin Lin OBE (林超伦博士) himself.  Dr Lin will inform you of the outcome within two days.

Programme structure

Overview of modules

These modules are led by research and have been designed to respond to the contemporary concerns of the interpreting and translation industry. You may, for example, broaden your view on public service interpreting or complement your interpreting skills with specialist translation skills.

Consecutive Interpreting I and II

The first part of the module (Semester 1) focuses on core skills such as the use of notes, delivery and projecting the speaker. The second part (Semester 2) will focus on applying the training you have received to practical tasks, including simulated assignments.

Simultaneous Interpreting I and II

The first part of the module (Semester 1) focuses on the key skills of a Chinese simultaneous interpreter: research, preparation, sight interpreting, specialist bilingual skills and multitasking. The second part (Semester 2) provides extensive simultaneous interpreting practice, using the interpreting lab and integrating simulations of interpreting practice.

Economic/Business Translation I (and II as optional)

These language-pair-specific modules are taught by professional translators and provide students who have no previous experience of specialist translation in economics/business with the opportunity to reach an acceptable professional level of translation competence. Semester 1 begins with practical introductory sessions on translation methodology, then progresses to regular translation practice in smaller groups. Alongside this there are weekly lectures on the underlying principles of economics and applied economics. In semester 2, practice in small groups continues with Economic/Business Translation II, which can be taken as an optional module.

Interpreting Studies

This module provides you with a systematic framework for understanding the major principles of interpreting, the role of the interpreter and the nature of comprehension, decision-making and production processes involved in interpreting. Building on analysis of different interpreting situations, the module offers a critical overview of the main theoretical underpinnings of Interpreting Studies, which help you to identify common interpreting challenges and develop relevant strategies and solutions.

Public Service Interpreting (PSI) Trends and Issues

This module introduces you to the professional dimension of the different fields of PSI by covering the professional contexts in which interpreters work, issues such as ethical requirements, codes of conduct, working conditions and legislation associated with PSI, as well as current trends such as remote interpreting (via telephone and videoconference links) and their repercussions on the PSI landscape.

Interpreting and Society

This module focuses on observation and research-led analysis of professional interpreting practice from linguistic, social and cultural perspectives through authentic case-studies. It is designed to create an understanding of the interpreting process and the interpreter’s role and conduct in a variety of communicative situations, thus identifying challenges and issues that may arise in interpreter-mediated interaction, developing critical and reflective skills as well as a the ability to make informed decisions when confronted with complex scenarios.

Corpora in Translation/Interpreting Practice and Research

This module provides an introduction to corpora in translation and interpreting practice and research. It is mostly a hands-on module taught in a computer lab with individual workstations for each student. The module shows you how to use corpora in English and your other working languages to help you with your translation decisions, teaches you how to compile your own corpus in order to extract terminology and phraseology from a specialist area of your choice, and introduces you to corpus-based approaches to translation and interpreting research.

Research Methods in Translation Studies

This module provides you with the means to initiate and carry out own research projects in Translation Studies. It will help you to understand of how to link research questions with methods and data, and will enable you to present the outcomes of your research in an effective way. You will also develop critical reading and evaluation skills.

Background lectures

You will also attend a selection of background lectures (e.g. Applied Economics; Principles of Science and Technology), following the pattern that we use in other CTS MA Translation programmes, where practice-based translation modules are currently supplemented by background lectures.


For the MA, the dissertation (60 credits) allows you to specialise in an aspect of the programme of particular interest by writing a topic-based dissertation related to an aspect of interpreting or an interpreting project with commentary. Successful completion of the dissertation requires close collaboration with a supervisor and good planning and organisation skills.

CTS Translation Seminar series

You will also have access to the MA Translation Seminars, a series of guest talks given by external guest speakers and open to all CTS Masters and PhD students. The talks provide students with insights into the profession from the perspective of practitioners and scholars. The guest speakers include translators, interpreters, subtitles, audio describers; professionals working in public services, companies and international organisations; representatives of professional translator/interpreter associations as well as translation/interpreting researchers.

Teaching hours

Teaching: 14–16 hours per week

Private study: 24–26 hours per week

Dissertation: Approximately 600 hours over three months

If you succeed in the written test, we will inform you of the date and time of the interview.

Professional recognition

Students may join the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) as student members.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Elena Davitti

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

This programme is designed for native speakers of Chinese (Mandarin) with English as a second language.

A BA degree equivalent to a minimum of a UK 2.2 honours degree in English or another relevant subject is required. In exceptional cases, alternative qualifications and professional experience may be considered.

As non-native speakers of English, applicants will also normally be required to have IELTS 7.0 or above (or equivalent), with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in all other components. 

In order to proceed to the aptitude test, candidates must submit a CV and a suitable personal statement explaining why they have chosen to apply for this programme at Surrey.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 7.0

IELTS minimum by component:

Reading: 6.0
Writing: 6.5
Speaking: 6.5
Listening: 6.0

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £7,000 £15,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

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