Why choose this course
This is the only course in the UK that will give you advanced interpreting skills in all interpreting modes, including consecutive, simultaneous, dialogue and distance interpreting. We’re the first university to teach video-mediated and telephone interpreting based on research in distance interpreting, giving you excellent and flexible career opportunities.
The course has a strong practical component designed to suit the needs of the interpreting market today. We support ‘virtual internships’ which enable you to collaborate with language service providers and build a professional engagement portfolio that you can present to potential future employers.
The Centre for Translation Studies is currently developing an ambitious new research programme on the responsible integration of human and automated approaches to translation and interpreting, which will inform our teaching and future-proof your career in this evolving industry.
What you will study
Our MA Interpreting course has a multilingual and a Chinese pathway.
On this pathway we offer Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish paired with English (languages subject to availability and/or demand). Other languages may be available upon request.
You'll develop skills in all interpreting modes (consecutive, dialogue and simultaneous interpreting, and sight translation), delivered on-site and remotely via audio/video link. The Interpreting and Technologies module focuses on the integration of different technologies in interpreting workflows, for example, to support the interpreter preparation and performance (electronic glossaries, digital note-taking) and delivery of distance/remote interpreting, providing you with the necessary digital skills to develop a successful interpreting career in a fast-changing world.
Practical modules are taught by experienced professional interpreters and you’ll benefit from cutting-edge facilities and participate in simulated industry-relevant scenarios.
The background lecture provides a conceptual framework for understanding, discussing and justifying interpreting-related decisions. Optional modules will 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.
During the course, you'll learn through a combination of regular language pair-specific practice, simulations of multilingual events (mock conferences, guided campus tours and distance interpreting), modules highlighting different aspects of the profession, and a background lecture. Our experienced academic staff will help you develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of interpreting, while well-established, professional interpreters bring their workplace experience, standards and up-to-date knowledge of the market into the classroom.
You'll have regular contact with professional interpreters in your practice-based modules and you’ll gain advanced knowledge of how technologies are shaping the interpreting profession, making you fit for the current market. You'll benefit from course components that emphasise the business and industry aspects of interpreting. 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, with delegates and interpreters interacting over video link
- A cloud-based Remote Simultaneous Interpreting platform.
You'll have invaluable opportunities to apply and further hone your interpreting skills and strategies in real-life working environments. For instance, our students have provided interpreting services for a variety of multilingual events held at the University, ranging from graduation ceremonies to a three-day medical conference and other workshops. You’ll also have the opportunity to further refine your skills by participating in a remote interpreting summer school, as well as shadowing professional interpreters working at several international conferences held in London, thanks to our well-established contacts with some major interpreting service providers.
You'll benefit from free access to a wide range of specialised software, including:
You'll also gain further insights into the industry from the external guest speakers we invite to our Centre for Translation Studies seminars and workshops, such as:
- 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.
These opportunities will prepare you to begin work as a freelancer or as a language service provider at an international organisation, government body, university or private company. You will receive guidance on the development of a professional engagement portfolio to help you build a professional CV as you study. This involves documenting collaborations with language services providers, and extra-curricular activities, such as joining a professional body, attending professional development workshops and webinars, and participating in projects with the local community.
We offer professionally relevant courses and have forged close links with the main professional bodies. For example, after graduating from our MA Interpreting course you will be able to apply for membership of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters. We've also been invited to take part in prestigious schemes such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists Higher Education Language Partnership and we're corporate members 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're a member of the Translation Automation User Society and the European Language Industry Association, which gives you the possibility to apply for a work placement with various translation and interpreting partner companies. We collaborate closely with language service 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. 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. 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 means that you'll be well equipped to begin work as a freelancer, in-house interpreter, interpreting services manager or as an interpreting technology co-ordinator at international organisations, government bodies, universities and private companies.
The language services industry continues to grow despite a challenging international economic climate. Globalisation and technological innovation open new markets and create novel demands for multilingual interpreting services to exchange knowledge and communicate with clients. As an MA Interpreting graduate and qualified language professional, you'll be able to take advantage of global employment opportunities.
Technological innovation is also rapidly reshaping the interpreting industry, creating 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 to study for a PhD and pursue an academic career in translation and interpreting studies. For further information, see our PhD course.
To further help our students with work opportunities in the language services industry, we host an annual careers fair where local and international companies with an active interest in Surrey graduates meet our students in an informal, friendly atmosphere.
Academic year structure
MA Interpreting (multilingual pathway) modules are taught across two semesters. The programme can only be taken on a full-time basis. Students normally take four modules in semester one and four in semester two. The dissertation is completed in the summer and submitted in early September.
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.
If you are a native English speaker, we require a minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, or Turkish, or a related subject taught in one of these languages.
If you are a native speaker of another language, we require a minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree taught in English or a related subject. We can also consider relevant work experience if you don’t meet these requirements.
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 (or equivalent): 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and speaking, and 6.0 in each other category.
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.
Offers are made subject to a successful aptitude test.
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.
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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 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.