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 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

Focusing mainly on the practical complexities of translation as a profession, the programme allows you to choose your own pathways leading to variable areas of specialisation by selecting two of the following practice-based strands:

  • Economic/Business Translation I & II
  • Scientific/Technical Translation I & II
  • Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes I & II
  • Computer-Assisted Translation & Corpora in Translation/Interpreting Practice and Research

The first two of the above are offered in English paired with Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, according to demand. The ab initio languages currently on offer are Norwegian, Portuguese and Russian. In computer-assisted translation and corpora, the practical work will involve English and any other language(s) of your choice.

In addition to the programme’s compulsory modules, you must select three optional modules according to your specific interests, preferably one option in semester 1, and the other two in semester 2. Semester 1 options marked (I) must be paired up with equally-named semester 2 options marked (II). Note, however, that Translation Issues I is compulsory in semester 1, whereas Translation Issues II is an option in semester 2.  

The taught part of the programme is divided into eight modules. Taught modules are worth 15 credits, which is indicative of 150 hours of learning, comprised of classroom time, private study and assessment.

  Module Compulsory/Optional Credits
Semester 1 Translation Issues I C 15
  Economic/Business Translation I C or O 15
  Scientific/Technical Translation I C or O 15
  Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes I C or O 15
  Computer-Assisted Translation C or O 15
  Translation of Persuasive Texts O 15
  Translating Cultures O 15
  Monolingual Subtitling for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing I O 15
  Interlingual Subtitling I* O 15
Semester 2 Economic/Business Translation II C or O 15
  Scientific/Technical Translation II C or O 15
  Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes II C or O 15
  Corpora in Translation/Interpreting Practice and Research C or O 15
  Translation Issues II O 15
  Research Methods in Translation O 15
  Issues in Literary Translation O 15
  Monolingual Subtitling for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing II O 15
  Interlingual Subtitling II* O 15
Summer Dissertation C 60

* Module available according to demand

Overview of modules

The modules are led by research and have been designed to respond to the contemporary concerns of the industry. You may, for example, broaden your view on different types of translation in various institutional settings, or extend your translation language portfolio, or learn more about translation technologies.

Translation Issues I

This module provides you with a framework for understanding important aspects of translation and translating, drawing on key concepts from text linguistics, semiotics and text processing, as well as terminology studies.

Economic/Business Translation I & II

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, which carries on into semester 2. Alongside this there are weekly lectures on the underlying principles of economics and applied economics.

Scientific/Technical Translation I & II

These language-pair-specific modules are taught by professional translators and provide students who have no previous experience of specialist translation in science/technology 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, which carries on into semester 2. Alongside this there are weekly background lectures on the underlying principles of science and technology.

Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes I & II

Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes provides you with the chance to study Norwegian, Portuguese or Russian for translation purposes. It is particularly useful for students with only one foreign language who wish to expand their portfolio of translation languages. By the end of semester 2, you will have the basis for independent professional development in the chosen language.

Computer-Assisted Translation

This module provides an introduction to computer-assisted tools for translators, from machine translation to terminology-management and translation-memory systems. It is mostly a hands-on module taught in a computer lab with individual workstations for each student, but the module also raises awareness to the implications, advantages and disadvantages of computer-assisted translation tools.

Translation of Persuasive Texts

In this module you will learn how persuasive texts are structured with an aim to changing a recipient’s behaviour. The main focus is advertising discourse in various forms. You will learn how audiovisual, printed and online adverts function and how they can be effectively translated. The module is suitable for students with different language backgrounds.

Translating Cultures

This module focuses on the role culture plays in translation. The module will focus on the linguistic and cultural resources employed by translators in their attempt to serve as mediators of messages, thus helping in the construction of global, national and institutional identities. Examples are offered from the areas of literature, tourism, politics and journalism. The module is suitable for students with different language backgrounds.

Monolingual Subtitling for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing I & II

In these modules you will learn how to produce intralingual subtitles in order to meet the needs of SDH viewers. The focus will be on acquiring advanced skills for analysing the various components of audiovisual materials (speech, sound, text) and developing strategies for translating film dialogue into written-language subtitles using professional subtitle software.

Interlingual Subtitling I & II

In these modules, students will learn how to produce subtitles approaching a professional standard for a range of genres including feature films, documentaries, news broadcasts, popular TV dramas and shows. The focus will be on acquiring advanced skills for analysing the various components of audiovisual materials (speech, sound, text) and developing strategies for translating film dialogue into written-language subtitles using professional subtitle software.

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.

Translation Issues II

This module offers a critical overview of the main theoretical premises that underpin various approaches to Translation Studies. It offers you the opportunity to use relevant conceptual tools when tackling specific translation tasks as well as develop a framework of analysing and discussing translation activity in general. The issues discussed in class are organised chronologically, examining the most recent trends in TS and thematically, offering a problem-focused strand (equivalence, translation shifts, register, power struggles and so on).

Research Methods in Translation

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.

Issues in Literary Translation

In this module you will be introduced to key critical considerations and creative and technical decisions faced by translators of literary works. Examples are offered from the areas of poetry, fiction, comic books and film. The module is suitable for students with different language backgrounds.

Dissertation

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 director

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

Find out more

General Enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions Enquiries:

+44-(0)1483-682-222

admissions@surrey.ac.uk

Programme facts

Type of programme:

MA

Programme length:

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

Start date:

Sep 2015

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.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2015 £6,600 £13,300
Part-time Sep 2015 £3,300 £6,700

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2015/16 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes

Funding

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumni of Surrey you could be eligible for a 10% discount on our Taught Masters programme fees.

For more details

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