Translation MA

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Why Surrey?

This internationally recognised programme has been preparing students to work in the Language Service Industry for nearly 30 years.

Our commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the profession is reflected in our accreditation and membership of the European Masters in Translation (EMT) network.

Programme overview

This programme is designed to suit current market demands. You will practise specialised translation in language-specific groups and have opportunities to simulate real-life translation scenarios.

The domains covered include economic, business, legal, scientific and technical translation. Our strong emphasis on translation technologies will allow you to work with computer-assisted translation software and state-of-the-art corpus tools and resources.

Equally important, the programme highlights the business requirements of the industry so that you acquire the necessary project management and entrepreneurial skills to work as a professional language service provider.

Furthermore, our EMT membership gives you priority access to traineeships at the EU Directorate-General for Translation. 

Programme structure

The MA Translation is studied over one year (full-time mode) or two years (part-time mode). On successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded a Master’s degree in Translation accredited by the European Masters of Translation.

Language-specific options are paired with English. If you are a native speaker of English, you can take up to two Specialist Translation options. If you are not a native speaker of English, you will normally take one Specialist Translation option (your mother tongue paired with English).

You can also choose one ab initio language if you wish to expand your portfolio of translation languages. Options ending in ‘I’ in semester 1 must be taken in conjunction with modules ending in ‘II’ in semester 2.

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 – 3 modules (45 credits):

Semester 1

Semester 2

Language and Translation

Technology, Business and Industry Aspects of the Translation Profession

Translation Technologies


Optional modules – 5 modules (75 credits) from the following:

Semester 1

Semester 2

Issues in Literary Translation



Corpora and Translation


Research Methods in Translation Studies


Translating Cultures


Translation of Persuasive Texts

Audiovisual Translation I

Audiovisual Translation II

Specialist Translation I

(Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish or Turkish)

Specialist Translation II*

(Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish or Turkish)


Ab Initio language for Translation Purposes I

(Norwegian, Portuguese or Russian)

Ab Initio language for Translation Purposes II

(Norwegian, Portuguese or Russian)


Summer dissertation work
Topic-based dissertation or Translation Project with Analytical Commentary


*If taking Specialist Translation I for more than one language, you are only required to follow up Specialist Translation II for one of the languages chosen.

Teaching staff

Experienced academic staff with excellent research records will help you to develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of translation, while professional native-speaker translators bring their real-world experience and standards, and an up-to-date view of the translation market into the classroom.

Professional development

In addition to enjoying regular contact with professional translators in your practice-based modules, you will benefit from course components that specifically address the business and wider industry aspects of the profession.

Further insights into the industry will be provided by the speakers we invite to our Translation Studies seminars series.

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 researchers.

In line with our aim to offer professionally relevant programmes, we have forged close links with the main professional bodies, i.e. the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and the Chartered Institute of Linguists, as well as with many professional language service providers, and we have an extensive network of visiting professionals.

In addition The Centre for Translation Studies has been granted free access to Memsource software, KantanMT and Lilt software to help further student's education in the area of translation technology.

Career prospects

Thanks to our emphasis on professional development, our students are well-equipped to begin work as freelancers or as language service providers at international organisations, government bodies, universities and private companies.

We also regularly have students who decide to stay on to study for a PhD and pursue an academic career in Translation Studies.   

Languages on offer

The practice-based translation modules on this programme are offered in English paired with Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, according to demand.

What makes the programme special?

The MA programme is tailored to suit current market demands. You will practise specialised translation in language-specific groups, with a focus on professional standards and opportunities to simulate real-life translation scenarios.

The domains covered include economic, business, legal, scientific and technical translation. Our strong emphasis on the use of translation technologies will allow you to work hands-on with computer-assisted translation software and state-of- the-art corpus tools and resources.

The programme also emphasises the business requirements of the industry, providing you with an opportunity to acquire necessary project management and entrepreneurial skills, and knowledge to work as a professional language service provider.

Educational aims of the programme

The programme combines the study of the major principles of, and scholarly approaches to, translation with opportunities for application and practice – with the aim of enabling students to:

  • Perform relevant translation tasks in different contexts
  • Reflect on their own practice, using scholarly and professional writing on relevant aspects of translation, transfer the acquired skills and knowledge to novel and unpredictable situations of translation
  • Develop a broad understanding of current and future challenges of translation in different contexts
  • Apply scholarly approaches to critically evaluate professional practice in the light of current and future requirements
  • Have the capacity for carrying out independent research in an area of translation

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • A thorough understanding of issues relevant to translation as a discipline and as a practice/industry
  • A thorough understanding of different aspects of translation as a profession, in particular with respect to principles of good practice, efficiency and professional standards, translation quality and resourcing
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the strategies involved in good translation practice, i.e. audience identification, translating for a specific purpose
  • A thorough understanding of overarching issues in the translation industry, such as the impact of technology and the need for adaptability in the context of different markets
  • A thorough understanding of translation in the context of various settings (such as translating in a company compared to translating for a company), and their changing external/social environment

Intellectual/cognitive skills

  • Identify theories of translation and be able to show insight into own practice
  • Reflect upon the knowledge gained and incorporate this into independent learning and professional development strategies
  • Critically appreciate the different frames for analysing text types, genres and other translation-related requirements and apply this to the research work required for the writing of the MA dissertation
  • Formulate and address research questions relating to the field of study
  • Conduct conceptual and topic-based research related to specific tasks

Professional practical skills

  • Apply good principles of practice in the translation, complying with instructions and deadlines, mastering techniques and strategies for proofreading and revision, and knowing how to establish and monitor quality standards
  • Gauge and acquire an appropriate understanding of specialised and non-specialised translation, knowing how to search for appropriate information to gain a better grasp of the thematic aspects of a document and develop knowledge in specialist fields
  • Create translations appropriate to clients’ requests, knowing how to justify translation choices and decisions
  • Produce a register appropriate to a given situation for a particular document, recognising function and meaning in social, geographical, historical, stylistic variants
  • Identify issues in computer-assisted translation and terminology and have practical skills in these, including how to use translation technologies effectively to assist in correction, translation, terminology, layout and documentary research
  • Work independently on extended pieces of work in a sustained way, with or without guidance, and have further improved research skills
  • Apply evaluation skills for translation purposes

Key/transferable skills

  • Display competence in a range of skills at postgraduate level, including advanced analysis and synthesis of arguments, presentation, conducting independent research, and the speedy and efficient processing of complex information
  • Work both independently and with others in order to achieve common goals, knowing how to comply with instructions, deadlines, commitments, interpersonal competences, and teamwork
  • Manage learning self-critically, knowing how to self-evaluate (questioning one's habits and being open to innovations)
  • Organise and manage a research project of significant complexity, knowing how to plan and manage one's time and stress

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 £14,500
Part-time Sep 2017 £3,500 £7,300

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.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

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General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

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Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
MA Full-time 12 months Sep 2017
MA Part-time 24 months Sep 2017

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 6.5 overall, 7.0 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.


Loans, scholarships and financial support

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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Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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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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