Business Translation with Interpreting MA

This programme allows you to develop professional competence in translation and interpreting and prepares you for a rewarding career, enabling you to enjoy the flexibility that this joint competence readily affords.

Why Surrey?

The expansion of international travel and trade and the growing complexity of international communication, involving written, spoken as well as technically mediated commu­ni­­­cation, have increased the demand for translation and interpreting services. Recognising this need, this programme is one of the few in the UK that combines translation and interpreting to provide you with the skills and flexibility to perform both tasks professionally.

Programme overview

Learning from professionals and academics in a supportive environment, this programme combines the study of the major principles of, and scholarly approaches to, translation and interpreting with opportunities for application and practice, thus preparing you for private and public sector employment (including corporate business, public services and NGOs) or for research in the two fields. Professional translators and interpreters bring their real-world experience and standards into the classroom as tutors. Experienced academic staff with excellent research records will help you to develop a broad understanding of the challenges of translation and interpreting.

Programme structure

The programme comprises a combination of compulsory and optional components, covering a range of relevant study areas, and a research-based or practice-based dissertation. The practice-based components on this programme are offered in English paired with Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, according to demand.

Components of the programme

The components covered by this programme are led by up-to-date insights from translation/interpreting research and respond to the contemporary concerns of the language and translation/interpreting industry.

Translation and Interpreting Studies

This component provides you with a systematic framework for understanding the major principles of translation and interpreting. The Translation Studies component offers a critical overview of the main theoretical premises that underpin various approaches to Translation Studies. It enables you to apply relevant conceptual tools when tackling specific translation tasks and to develop a framework for analysing, discussing and justifying translation decisions. The Interpreting Studies component explores in depth the different modes of interpreting, the factors contributing to different interpreting situations, the nature of comprehension, decision-making and production processes involved in interpreting and the role of the interpreter. The aim is to enable you to identify common interpreting challenges and develop relevant strategies and solutions.

Specialist Translation

As a key element, the programme offers a range of language-pair-specific components taught by professional translators. They provide students who have no previous experience of specialist translation with the opportunity to reach an acceptable professional level of translation competence in areas such as business, finance, science, technology and law. Practical introductory sessions on translation methodology are followed by regular language-pair-specific translation practice and background lectures to support each topic.

Interpreting Practice

The aim of the language-pair-specific interpreting practice component is to provide you with the practical knowledge and skills required to perform interpreting tasks in consecutive (traditional and short) and dialogue (face-to-face) interpreting professionally and effectively in a wide variety of relevant communicative situations (from institutional/diplomatic to business to public service encounters). Practical introductory sessions aimed at developing the skills and strategies required for all modes (e.g. active listening, anticipation, segmentation) are followed by regular interpreting practice in smaller groups. This is complemented by a generic component mainly focused on the use of new technologies in interpreting (e.g. video-mediated interpreting). Simultaneous interpreting is offered according to demand.

Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes

Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes provides you with the chance to study a new language for translation purposes. It is particularly useful for students with only one foreign language who wish to expand their portfolio of translation languages. In the past we have been able to offer Ab initio Norwegian, Portuguese and Russian. This component will provide you with the basis for independent professional development in the chosen language.

Translation and Interpreting Technologies

This component offers students an opportunity to become acquainted with different types of translation and interpreting technologies. Within the broader field of translation technologies, students will become acquainted with translation-memory systems, terminology-management systems, machine translation, corpora for translation and interpreting practice and research, terminology extraction and subtitling. With regard to interpreting technologies, the focus is on videoconference-based and telephone-based interpreting, and the use of portable equipment for interpreting. Classes are mostly hands-on, and take place in interpreting or computer labs as appropriate.

Cultural Aspects of Translation

The focus in this component is the role culture plays in translation. More specifically it focuses on the linguistic and cultural resources employed by translators in their attempt to serve as mediators of messages, thus helping in the construction of identities as well as in changing recipients' behaviour and worldviews. Relevant areas under examination include advertising (audiovisual, printed), literature (comic books, fiction, poetry, drama), tourism, politics and journalism. This component is suitable for students with different language backgrounds.

Specific Aspects of Interpreting

This component introduces you to the professional dimension of different interpreting scenarios. This is done by focusing on the issues emerging from the professional contexts in which interpreters work (e.g. ethical requirements, codes of conduct, working conditions and legislation associated with interpreting, current trends such as remote interpreting via telephone and videoconference links) and through observation and research-led analysis of professional interpreting practice from linguistic, social and cultural perspectives through authentic case-studies. This component is designed to further your understanding of the interpreting process and the interpreter’s role and conduct in a variety of communicative situations. It will help you to identify issues that may arise in interpreter-mediated interaction, develop critical and reflective skills and the ability to make informed decisions when confronted with complex scenarios.

Research Methods

This component 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.


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 translation/interpreting or a translation/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.

Study workload

Teaching: 10-12 hours per week

Private study: 28-30 hours per week

Dissertation: approximately 600 hours over three months

Study mode

This MA programme is offered in full-time mode and is studied over one year. On successful completion of the programme, you can be awarded a PG Diploma (120 credits) or Master’s degree (180 credits), and can then enter the professional market. You can also become full members of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and/or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. The PG Diploma usually takes nine months if studied full time. The Postgraduate Certificate can be taken over one year and requires students to achieve 60 credits in the practice-oriented modules designated in the programme.

No components of the programme are contracted out to another educational institution or involve the exchange of students for a period of study.

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

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General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

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Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 24 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

Native English speakers: a minimum of a UK 2.2 honours degree, or equivalent, in the relevant language or another relevant subject. Speakers of other languages: an equivalent to a minimum of a UK 2.2 honours degree in English or another relevant subject. In exceptional cases, alternative qualifications and professional experience may be considered. Non-native speakers of English will also be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent), with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in all other components. A subsequent condition for all applicants meeting these requirements is the successful completion of an interpreting aptitude test.

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English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5

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 £13,500
Part-time Sep 2016 £3,500 £6,800

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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