Translation MA

This programme offers intensive training in the various types of translation activity and related translation technologies required by the growing professional translation market.

Why Surrey?

  • This internationally recognised programme – a member of the European Masters in Translation (EMT) network since its inception in 2009 – has, for nearly 30 years, been preparing students to work as translators and in other related professions, specialising in the translation of economics/business and scientific/technical texts.
  • Drawing on the expertise of professional translators and experienced academics, the programme caters for a wide range of interests within the domain of translation.
  • Recognizing the growth of the information society and the rapid advances of information technology, the MA Translation gives you the opportunity to learn how to work hands-on with computer-assisted translation software and state-of-the-art corpus tools for terminology extraction, as well as billion-word corpora in various languages.
  • With the quality label of the European Masters of Translation, we promote the EMT standards of excellence, and our students get priority for (unpaid) traineeships in DG Translation.

Programme overview

You will study translation practice in small language-specific groups, with a focus on professional standards. Learning from professionals and academics in a supportive environment, you will be entering a highly specialised programme, preparing you for a growing professional market as well as for the exciting research opportunities in this expanding field. Professional translators 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 current and future challenges of translation. Regular seminars in our Translation Studies series, held throughout the year, provide additional insights from a range of experienced professionals.

Programme structure

The programme comprises a combination of compulsory modules and options, covering a range of relevant study areas, and a research-based or practice-based dissertation. The practice-based modules 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

Translation Issues
This component provides you with a framework for understanding important aspects of translation and translating, drawing on key concepts from text linguistics, discourse analysis, semiotics and terminology studies. It also 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.

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.

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 Technologies
This component offers students an opportunity to become acquainted with different types of translation technologies. Classes are mostly hands-on, and take place in a computer lab with individual workstations for each student. 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.

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.

Research Methods in Translation
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 or a translation 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 in Translation (180 credits), and can then enter the professional interpreting 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 Translation is an exit award only 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 Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


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 a relevant language, translation or other 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 have to meet the English language requirements specified for this programme.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5

IELTS minimum by component:

Reading: 6.0
Writing: 7.0
Speaking: 6.0
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.

For more details

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