Interpreting (Chinese Pathway) MA

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Why Surrey?

Designed in collaboration with Dr Kevin Lin OBE, this programme will train you to be ready to perform your first conference interpreting job upon graduation.

It offers more simulated interpreting, internship, traineeship and real interpreting opportunities than any other programme in the UK.

Programme overview

The MA Interpreting is offered in two pathways: a multilingual and a Chinese pathway. The Chinese pathway is delivered in collaboration with KL Communications Ltd, whose Managing Director Dr Kevin Lin OBE is the Lead Interpreter (Chinese) of the Foreign Office of the UK Government.

The pathway covers the specific techniques and professional requirements of interpreting between Chinese and English, and prepares you to work successfully as an interpreter in conference, business and political settings at the highest levels.

Learning takes place through a combination of regular language-specific practice, simulations of real-life interpreting scenarios and background lectures. Our state-of-the-art facilities enable you to practise each interpreting mode in the most realistic environment possible.

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 offers more simulated interpreting than any other programme in the UK
  3. 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: 1 July 2017
  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. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

The following modules 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.

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 knowledge 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.   

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2017 £7,000 £16,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

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Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

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Programme leader

Dr Elena Davitti

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General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
MA Full-time 12 months Sep 2017

Entry Requirements

This programme is designed for native speakers of Chinese (Mandarin) with English as a second language.

A BA degree equivalent to a minimum of a UK 2.2 honours degree in English or another relevant subject is required. In exceptional cases, alternative qualifications and professional experience may be considered.

As non-native speakers of English, applicants will also normally be required to have IELTS 7.0 or above (or equivalent), with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in all other components.

In order to proceed to the aptitude test, candidates must submit a CV and a suitable personal statement explaining why they have chosen to apply for this programme at Surrey.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, 6.5 in Speaking, 6.5 in Writing, 6.0 in each other component (or equivalent)

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.


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There are many streams of funding for postgraduate students including awards, scholarships and loans. Learn more.


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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.

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Further information for applicants

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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