Interpreting MA

This is a highly specialised programme that will help you acquire advanced interpreting skills and enable you to work confidently in all modes of interpreting (including consecutive, simultaneous, dialogue and video-mediated interpreting), and in a wide variety of contexts (including conference, business, legal and healthcare interpreting) and settings (including traditional face-to-face or on-site interpreting and novel settings of remote interpreting).

Why Surrey?

The need for interpreting is growing and evolving due to globalisation and migration trends. Thus the long-standing demand for qualified conference interpreters is complemented by a growing demand for professionals who are qualified to work in the business, legal and healthcare sectors. Moreover, new technologies are reshaping and redefining the professional interpreting landscape.

Today, a growing proportion of interpreting assignments is delivered remotely, using telephone and videoconference links. The MA Interpreting fills a gap in academic interpreter training throughout the UK by preparing you to work in both established and emerging settings and enabling you to launch an exciting career as a well-rounded and flexible interpreting professional.

Programme overview

Learning from professionals and academics in a supportive environment, you will join a programme which covers the main principles, specific techniques and professional requirements of interpreting through a combination of background lectures and regular language pair-specific practice, using our state-of-the art interpreting labs with interpreting booths, portable interpreting equipment and professional videoconferencing facilities.

Firstly, the MA Interpreting offers training in all modes of interpreting required by the private market and different types of institutions, thus maximising your flexibility and career opportunities after graduation. The programme combines research-led teaching with hands-on professional practice to equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in interpreting. It provides you with insights into the state of the industry and helps you develop the critical and self-reflective skills that you need to work autonomously and to transfer the acquired knowledge and expertise to novel and unpredictable situations of interpreting.

Secondly, state-of-the-art facilities are in place to enable you to practice each interpreting mode in the most realistic environment possible. You will have access to three conference suites equipped with double interpreting booths to practice simultaneous interpreting. A portable interpreting system allows for training in mobile interpreting, for instance simulating the tour of a museum, factory or plant. Our facilities also include a two-way and multipoint video-conferencing system that makes it possible to simulate remote interpreting, with delegates and interpreters interacting via video-link. The programme pays particular attention to these emerging forms of interpreting, which are an increasingly important feature in the professional landscape. We are the first university to teach remote and mobile interpreting based on research findings in this area.

Thirdly, in addition to language-pair specific practice, the MA Interpreting gives you the unique opportunity to practice regularly in multilingual simulations of professional interpreting practice, with input from professionals from a variety of fields who will participate as live guest speakers on a case-by-case basis. This provides invaluable experience of real working conditions and opportunities for experiential learning and reflective analysis.

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, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, according to demand.

If you would like to apply for Chinese (Mandarin), please choose the MA Business Interpreting in Chinese and English.

Components of the programme

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

Interpreting Studies

This component 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 component will offer a critical overview of the main theoretical underpinnings of Interpreting Studies, helping you to identify common interpreting challenges and develop relevant strategies and solutions.

Interpreting Practice

The aim of this language-pair specific component is to provide you with the practical knowledge and skills required to perform interpreting tasks in consecutive (traditional and short), dialogue (face-to-face) and simultaneous (in the booth and whispered) 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) and by a ‘polyglot’ practice-based component which integrates students from all language combinations and includes bi- and multilingual simulations of professional interpreting practice with input from professionals (e.g. lawyers, police officers, nurses, doctors, business people) who will participate as live guest speakers in mock conferences and role-plays, organised both on site and remotely.

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.

Interpreting and Translation Technologies

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

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 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.

Study workload

Teaching: 10–12 hours per week

Private study: 28–30 hours per week

Dissertation: approximately 600 hours over three months

Study mode

The 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 in Interpreting (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 9 months if studied full time. The Postgraduate Certificate is an exit award only and requires students to achieve 60 credits in the practice-oriented components 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

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 (e.g. translation, law, criminology, forensic linguistics, healthcare, business studies, international or area studies.

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 normally 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.

View entry requirements by country

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 £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


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