Why choose this course
The growing complexity of international communication, involving written, spoken and technology-mediated communication, requires professionals with skills in both translation and interpreting. This course is one of the few in the UK to give you the skills needed to perform both tasks professionally.
The course 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. Our European Masters of Translation membership gives you priority access to traineeships at the EU Directorate-General for Translation.
What you will study
Our internationally recognised MA in Translation and Interpreting combines translation and interpreting studies with a strong focus on technology 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 will 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 will benefit from free access to SDL Trados Studio, SDL Multiterm, and Sketch Engine, as well as open-access software such as SmartCat, Matecat, Memsource and Lilt. You will 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 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 also gain further insights into the industry from the external guest speakers we invite to our Centre for Translation Studies seminars, 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.
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 will be able to take advantage of global employment opportunities.
Technological innovation is also rapidly reshaping the interpreting industry, opening up new research opportunities. Your MA dissertation project is one of many ways of getting involved in ongoing research in the Centre for Translation Studies. We also regularly have MA 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.
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.
Academic year structure
MA Translation and Interpreting modules are taught across two semesters. Full-time students normally take four modules in semester one, and four in semester two. Part-time students can plan their work load 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.
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).
Please note that as our practice-based classes are normally taught by professional translators or interpreters, we may sometimes have to reschedule classes to accommodate professional commitments. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
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.
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.
- 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 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 student finance.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
Asylum Seeker Bursary
Application Deadline: 30.06.20
Find out more
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.