Why choose this course
The growing complexity of international communication requires professionals with skills in both translation and interpreting. This course is one of the few in the UK to give you the expertise needed to perform both tasks professionally.
Our programme has a strong practical component to suit the needs of the translation and interpreting market today. We support ‘virtual internships’, which enable you to collaborate with language service providers and build a professional engagement portfolio for future employers.
The Centre for Translation Studies (CTS) 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 internationally recognised MA combines translation and interpreting studies with a strong focus on technology. This allows graduates to meet the demands of the global market and current challenges for the language industry.
We offer Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish paired with English (languages subject to availability and/or demand).
Practical modules are taught by experienced professional interpreters and translators, simulating realistic scenarios and covering different topics (business, legal, scientific, technical translation).
The background lecture enables you to understand, discuss and justify translation and interpreting-related decisions. Our range of optional modules will also allow you to customise your learning experience.
During the course, you will learn through a combination of regular language pair-specific practice modules, highlighting different aspects of the translation and interpreting profession, simulations of multilingual events (mock conferences, guided campus tours, distance interpreting), industry-relevant work in a translation agency, and a background lecture. Our experienced academic staff will help you develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges in the field, while our professional translators and interpreters bring their workplace experience, standards and up-to-date knowledge of the market, into the classroom.
You will enjoy regular contact with professional translators and interpreters in your practice-based modules and gain advanced knowledge of how technologies are shaping up the translation and interpreting industry. You’ll benefit from course components that emphasise the business aspects of the translation and interpreting profession.
You will practise with the latest computer-assisted translation software, corpus tools and resources, and gain advanced corpus-compilation and terminology extraction skills that make you stand out.
As a student, you’ll benefit from free access to the following software to help you learn about translation technology:
You’ll also have access to a cutting-edge two-way and multipoint videoconferencing system that simulates remote or distance interpreting, with delegates and interpreters interacting over video link.
You will have invaluable opportunities to further hone your interpreting skills and strategies in real-life working environments. For example, our students have recently provided interpreting services for various multilingual events held at the University of Surrey, such as workshops and graduation ceremonies. They have also refined their skills by participating in a remote interpreting Summer School and have developed projects with the local community, such as the Watts Gallery or the Guildford Walking Tours. 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 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.
We have forged close links with the main professional bodies. For example, we have been invited to join the prestigious Chartered Institute of Linguists’ Higher Education Language Partnership and we are corporate members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. You can join these bodies as a student member during the course and become a full member after you graduate. We are also 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 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 will be well-equipped to begin work as a freelance or in-house translator or interpreter, or as a project manager for business, international organisations and public bodies.
The language services industry continues to grow despite a challenging international economic climate. Globalisation and technological innovation open up new markets and create novel demands for multilingual interpreting services to exchange knowledge and communicate with clients. As an MA Translation and 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, opening up new research opportunities. The Translation and Interpreting Studies dissertation enables you to consolidate the knowledge and skills acquired during the taught components of the programme and guides you along the identification and selection of an appropriate research topic or a translation/interpreting project or work placement. It is 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 and study for a PhD and pursue an academic career in translation and interpreting studies For further information, see our PhD course.
Academic year structure
MA Translation and Interpreting modules are taught across two semesters. Full-time students normally take four modules in Semester 1, and four in Semester 2. Part-time students can plan their workload flexibly under the guidance of the programme leader, as long as they take eight modules across two years. 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.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic the University has revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.
We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2022/23 This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available.
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:
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). 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.
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 either Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, 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: 6.5 overall with 6.5 in Writing and Speaking and 6.0 in each other element.
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 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.
Start date: October 2022
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2022-23 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year or three-year part-time structured masters course, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.
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.
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 an example of 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 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 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 more.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2022/23. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2022/23. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.