Interpreting - Chinese Pathway 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?

On this pathway of the MA Interpreting, we have a unique collaboration agreement 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. 

Programme overview

What makes the programme special

This highly specialised programme prepares you to work successfully as an interpreter in conference, business and political settings at the highest levels. 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 the UK Prime Minister David Cameron

3. The programme offers 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

Learning from experienced interpreters and academics in a supportive environment, you will join a programme which covers the main principles, specific techniques and professional requirements of interpreting between Chinese and English through a combination of regular language pair-specific practice, multilingual simulations of real-life interpreting scenarios and background lectures.

In the consecutive and simultaneous interpreting modules you will gain invaluable experience of real working conditions and have opportunities for experiential learning and reflective analysis.

Our simulations are joined by professionals from a variety of fields who participate as live guest speakers on a case-by-case basis.

The practice-based components of the programme are complemented by background lectures which will help you to understand the major principles of interpreting and translation, and provide you with a conceptual and methodological framework for analysing, discussing and justifying interpreting-related decisions.

State-of-the-art facilities are in place to enable you to practise each interpreting mode in the most realistic environment possible. You will have access to three conference suites equipped with ISO-approved double interpreting booths to practise simultaneous interpreting according to professional standards.

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 clients and interpreters interacting via video link.

The programme pays particular attention to the emerging forms of distance 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.

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 have chosen the University of Surrey in particular. For example, what is it that our programme offers you that others do not?

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 before the deadline.

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

The MA Interpreting is studied over one year (full-time mode) only. On successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded a Master’s degree in Interpreting.

The taught part of the programme consists of six compulsory modules and a range of options allowing you to customise your course according to your interests. You should choose two options from the list below. Please note all optional modules are subject to demand. Each module provides 15 credits, totalling 120 credits in all.

In the summer, from mid-June to early September, you will have an opportunity to write a topic-based dissertation related to an aspect of interpreting or translation of your choice (60 credits) or an interpreting project with commentary (60 credits) under the guidance of an appointed supervisor.

If you choose not to write a dissertation, you will be awarded a Postgraduate (PG) Diploma, with which you can also enter the professional interpreting market.

Compulsory modules  – 6 modules (90 credits):

Semester 1

Semester 2


Translation and Interpreting Studies


Consecutive Interpreting I – Chinese

Consecutive Interpreting II – Chinese

Simultaneous Interpreting I – Chinese

Simultaneous Interpreting II – Chinese

Specialist Translation I – Chinese




Optional modules – 2 modules (30 credits) from the following:


Interpreting  and Technologies


Specialist Translation II – Chinese


Public Service Interpreting Trends and Issues


Research Methods in Translation Studies

Summer dissertation work
Topic-based dissertation or Interpreting Project with Analytical Commentary


Teaching staff

Experienced academic staff with excellent research records will help you to develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of interpreting, while Dr Lin and his team will bring their real-world experience and standards, and their up-to-date with of the interpreting market into the classroom.

Professional development

You will benefit from one week at KL Communications Ltd in London with a certificate upon completion. In addition to enjoying regular contact with professional interpreters in your practice-based modules, you will benefit from course components that address the business and industry aspects of the profession.

For example, insights into the industry will be provided by the external guest speakers we invite to our Translation Studies seminars.

These include professional translators, interpreters, subtitlers and audio describers; professionals working in public services, companies and international organisations; representatives of professional translator/interpreter associations as well as translation/interpreting researcher.

You can also become a student member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and/or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL), and become a full member after graduation.

Career prospects

Thanks to our emphasis on professional development, you will be well-equipped to begin work as freelancer or in-house interpreter at international organisations, government bodies, universities and private companies. We also regularly have students who decide to stay on for a PhD and pursue an academic career in Translation and Interpreting Studies.   

Professional recognition

Students may join the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) as student members, and become a full member after graduation. 

This programme is also a member of TAUS - the Translation Automation User Society.

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

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

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.

For more details

Admissions Information

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Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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