Why choose this course
Designed in collaboration with Dr Kevin Lin OBE, this unique course will train you to be ready for your first conference interpreter job upon graduation. Our MA has a strong practical component that responds to the needs of the interpreting market. It’ll give you advanced interpreting skills in all interpreting modes, including consecutive/simultaneous interpreting, chuchotage, sight translation, dialogue and distance interpreting. It also provides exceptional opportunities for simulated and industry-relevant interpreting experience.
We support ‘virtual internships’ which enable you to collaborate with language service providers and build a professional engagement portfolio that you can present to future employers.
The Centre for Translation Studies is currently developing an ambitious new research programme which will place us and our students at the very heart of future developments and will inform our teaching with a strong focus on the responsible integration of human and machine translation.
What you will study
Our Interpreting (Chinese Pathway) MA course is taught in collaboration with KL Communications Ltd, whose Managing Director, Dr Kevin Lin OBE, is the Lead Interpreter (Chinese) for the UK government’s Foreign Office. Our course covers the main principles, techniques and professional requirements of interpreting between Chinese and English, preparing you to work as an interpreter in conference, business and political settings.
You'll develop skills in all interpreting modes (consecutive, dialogue and simultaneous interpreting, and sight translation), through onsite and remote interpreting via audio/video link, note-taking and public speaking. The Interpreting and Technology module focuses on practical knowledge and professional requirements for integrating different technologies in interpreting workflows, for example, to support the interpreter’s preparation and performance (electronic glossaries, digital note-taking) and delivery of interpreting services (audio/video-mediated distance/remote interpreting), providing you with the necessary digital skills to develop a successful interpreting career in a fast-changing world.
The Professional Translation Practice module engages students in practical workshops for translating specialised texts, whilst our optional modules allow you to customise your learning experience.
Please be aware: the course content and modules listed for this course are subject to change for the 2023/24 academic year, whilst we undertake a curriculum design review. Please contact the programme leader if you have any queries about the course.
The practice-based interpreting modules are taught by Dr Kevin Lin and his team, who will bring their interpreting expertise, workplace experience, high-end interpreting standards and up-to-date knowledge of the interpreting market into the classroom.
You'll be taught by experienced academic staff with excellent research records, who will help you to develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of interpreting. For example, Professor Sabine Braun is a leading expert in the field of remote/videoconference interpreting. Other academic staff specialise in public service interpreting, interpreter-mediated interaction, and corpus-assisted translation and interpreting studies.
Our facilities will allow you to practise each interpreting mode in the most realistic environment. You'll have access to:
- Two conference interpreting suites equipped with ISO-approved double interpreting booths, as used by international institutions, to practise simultaneous interpreting
- A portable interpreting system for training in mobile interpreting (used for museum or factory tours)
- A two-way and multipoint videoconferencing system to simulate remote or distance interpreting in consecutive/dialogue interpreting mode, with delegates and interpreters interacting over video link
- A cloud-based remote simultaneous interpreting platform.
To test and develop your skills and strategies in an authentic work environment, you'll be provided opportunities for practical interpreting traineeships, including an opportunity to attend booth practice at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations. During the study visit, you'll practise simultaneous interpreting in a realistic UN-standard conference booth and will be instructed by experienced interpreters working at IMO. In addition, our students have provided interpreting services for many multilingual events held at the University of Surrey, including graduation ceremonies and a three-day medical conference.
As a student, you'll benefit from free access to the following software to help you learn about translation technology:
- SDL Trados Studio
- SDL MultiTerm
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
- Sketch Engine.
You'll also gain further insights into the industry from the speakers we invite to our Centre for Translation Studies seminars. Speakers include:
- Professional translators and interpreters
- Subtitlers and audio describers
- Professionals working in public services, companies and international organisations
- Representatives of professional translator and interpreter associations
- Translation and interpreting researchers.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.
Local and international companies from the language industry who have an active interest in Surrey graduates come to our Centre for Translation Studies careers fair. They explain what current and future opportunities they have, providing a chance for you to engage with them directly and kick-start your career in an informal, friendly atmosphere.
Our emphasis on professional development, which includes participating in simulated classroom activities for remote interpreting and attending booth practice at IMO, means that you'll be well-equipped to begin work as an executive interpreter or Chinese communication expert at international organisations, government bodies and private companies. There’s strong international demand for excellent interpreters in Chinese and English.
The Chinese interpreting market has experienced exceptional growth despite a challenging international economic climate. Globalisation creates new opportunities and creates demand for interpreting services to enable knowledge exchange, migration, trade and diplomatic relations, and communication between business clients. As an MA Interpreting graduate, you'll be able to take advantage of global employment opportunities. Technological innovation is also rapidly reshaping the interpreting industry, presenting new research opportunities.
Your dissertation will enable you to consolidate the knowledge and skills acquired during the taught components of the course and guide you along the identification and selection of an appropriate research topic or a translation/interpreting project or work placement. It’s also one of the many ways of getting involved in ongoing research in the Centre for Translation Studies. We regularly have students who decide to stay on for a PhD and pursue an academic career in translation and interpreting studies. For further information, see our PhD course.
Academic year structure
Our course modules are taught across two academic semesters. You can find out more details by contacting our programme leader.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday – Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. The part-time timetable is based on the full-time one, so classes will run on any teaching day. View our Code of practice for the scheduling of teaching and assessment (PDF).
Translation studies seminars take place on Wednesday afternoons – attendance is optional, but strongly encouraged.
Please note that as our practice-based classes are normally provided by professional translators or interpreters and we may sometimes have to reschedule classes to accommodate professional commitments.
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
A minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in English or a related subject.
You must be a native Chinese speaker to apply. We may be able to take relevant work experience into consideration if you don't meet these requirements. If you have at least one year of relevant experience in a full-time graduate-level role (or a minimum of two years’ experience in a relevant graduate-level part-time role) please provide full details of your role and responsibilities in your personal statement and CV when you submit your application.
International entry requirements by country
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall with 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in each other element.
Alternatively, if you have successfully been awarded the Certificate of Excellence offered by our partner, KL Communications, and had an IELTS of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each category before you took this course, and this IELTS will still be valid for the start of the MA, then you will not need to take another IELTS.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Suitable applicants will be invited to take a written test and participate in an interview via Skype or Zoom. Alternatively, applicants who have successfully obtained a Certificate of Excellence will not be required to undertake a written test or interview. The Certificate of Excellence is awarded by our collaborator - KL Communications.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If your experience exceeds the typical requirements for entry to the programme, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. If you can demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for specific modules through your previous learning, it may be possible to exempt you from those modules, and for you to be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
In some cases, prior knowledge and skills may allow applicants to join the start of a course without meeting the formal entry requirements.
Please see our code transfer and recognition of prior learning guide (PDF) and recognition of prior learning and prior credit web page for further information. Please email Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any queries.
Start date: September 2023
Full-time - 1 year
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2023-24 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually
- If you are on a two-year full-time MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme
- Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
Brunei GREAT Scholarship
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Policies, Regulations and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: the offer terms and conditions and registration terms and conditions which you will be asked to agree to may be different from those detailed in the examples. Our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will be available at the start of each academic year and will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing but changes (for example, to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.