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 will 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.
CTS is currently developing an ambitious new research programme which will place us and our students at the very heart of future developments, namely, the convergence of human and automated approaches to different types of translation, audiovisual translation and interpreting. This research programme, which will inform our teaching, will have a strong focus on the responsible integration of human and machine translation.
What you will study
Our Interpreting (Chinese Pathway) MA 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 will develop skills in all interpreting modes, note-taking and public speaking. Classes relating to the interpreting profession will give you the practical knowledge and organisational skills needed to perform interpreting tasks effectively.
The Specialist Translation module offers a conceptual and methodological framework for translating specialised texts and our optional modules will allow you to customise your learning experience.
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 will also 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 will 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); and a two-way and multipoint videoconferencing system to simulate remote or distance interpreting, with delegates and interpreters interacting over video link.
To test and develop your skills and strategies in an authentic work environment, you will be provided opportunities for practical interpreting traineeships, including an opportunity to attend booth practice at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. During the study visit, you will 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 will benefit from free access to SDL Trados Studio, SDL MultiTerm, Matecat, Smartcat, WinCaps, KantanMT, Dragon Speaking and Sketch Engine software to help you learn about translation technology.
You will 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.
We have forged close links with the main professional bodies. For example, after graduation, you will be able to apply for membership of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters. We have also been invited to take part in the prestigious schemes such as Chartered Institute of Linguists Higher Education Language Partnership and we are a corporate member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. You can join these bodies as a student member during the course and then become a full member after you graduate.
We are a member of the Translation Automation User Society and the European Language Industry Association (ELIA), which gives you the possibility to apply for a work placement with various translation and interpreting companies that are members of ELIA. We collaborate closely with language services providers, and have an extensive network of visiting professionals, so you will benefit from excellent connections and be taught to industry standards.
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.
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 will be well-equipped to begin work as an executive interpreter or Chinese communication expert at international organisations, government bodies, and private companies.
There is 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 opens up 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 will be able to take advantage of global employment opportunities.
Technological innovation is also rapidly reshaping the interpreting industry, presenting new research opportunities. Your MA dissertation project is one of the many ways of getting involved in ongoing research in the Centre for Translation Studies. We also 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 course administrators.
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 or 60 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:
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. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
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.
A minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in English or a related subject. You must be a native Chinese speaker to apply.
View entry requirements by country
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 this applies to you, 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, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and 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.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2020-21 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year full-time Euromasters or 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 student finance.
Scholarships and bursaries
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Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and 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 generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will 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 vary to take into account specifics of your course.
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 more.