Translation and Interpreting PhD
Why choose this programme
The School of Literature and Languages is home to the Centre for Translation Studies, an internationally leading centre for research and teaching in translation and interpreting studies.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 ranked the School of Literature and Languages 10th in the UK for research impact, with 75% of our case studies rated as having outstanding impacts, in terms of reach and significance (4*). Our submission to REF included contributions from the Guildford School of Acting (GSA).
Our research reflects the evolving nature of the discipline, encompassing a critical understanding of technology-enabled language mediation as well as quality, ethical and social dimensions of a fast-evolving language services industry.
Since our formation in 1982, we have been awarded prestigious research funding that has allowed us to contribute to the theoretical advancement of translation and interpreting studies, whilst achieving real-world applicability by studying the responsible integration of human and technology-enhanced approaches, novel modalities of audiovisual translation and innovative practices in interpreting.
We combine our knowledge of translation and interpreting as human practices with our expertise in computational linguistics, natural language processing, machine learning/AI, distance communication and human-computer interaction. In addition, our research into social perspectives on translation/interpreting workflows allows us to achieve a responsible integration of human and machine in translation and interpreting.
We are part of several externally funded doctoral training partnerships, and you might be able to benefit from a studentship from us if you are suitably qualified.
We belong to TECHNE, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded doctoral training partnership, which provides access to comprehensive academic and professional training programmes, as well as the possibility of funding for your studies.
What you will study
At a time when increasing automation is reshaping language services into one of the fastest growing industries nationally and globally, the ‘technological turn’ in translation/interpreting has created a wealth of opportunities. However, to understand the dimensions of technology’s impact, to mitigate drawbacks and to derive innovative solutions it requires fresh approaches to research.
We are therefore particularly interested in PhD projects investigating how:
- Professional translators/interpreters interact with, and adapt to, emerging technological ecosystems
- This is changing professional practice and the products of this practice
- Human knowledge combined with natural language processing and machine-learning approaches can help design sustainable technology-enhanced solutions in translation/interpreting.
It normally takes three years of full-time study or six years of part-time study to complete our PhD in Translation and Interpreting. You will take a confirmation viva at 12-15 months (or 24-30 months part-time) and will then be assessed by a thesis and viva examination.
You will be assigned two supervisors, who will guide you through your PhD, meet with you monthly to discuss your progress, and give you feedback and advice on your work. You will also have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with other researchers from the Centre and across the University who work on topics relevant to your research.
As a doctoral student in the School of Literature and Languages, you’ll receive a structured training programme covering the practical aspects of being a researcher, including grant-writing, publishing in journals, and applying for academic jobs.
Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate careers and employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc) studentship
Studentships are awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal.This competition-funded studentship is available to UK and International students and includes full UK or International fee waiver and stipend at UKRI rates.
Techne studentship 2024
This competition funded studentship is available to UK and International students. Studentships are awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal.Full UK or International fee waiver and stipend at UKRI rates (currently £18,622).
- Translation technologies, including computer-assisted translation, translation memories, machine translation and post-editing
- Interpreting technologies, especially video-mediated interpreting, distance/remote interpreting
- Audio-visual translation including subtitling, audio-description, re-speaking and other modalities
- Collaborative translation
- Translation and natural language processing
- Bilingual lexicography, corpora and translation
- Translation process research
- Translation and interpreting as multimodal activities
- Translation and interpreting in the context of migration
- Dialogue interpreting
- Legal interpreting
- Multilingual healthcare communication
- Multilingual copyrighting
- Sociological approaches to translation
- Humour in translation.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the Centre for Translation Studies.
You will benefit from excellent facilities, including specialist software and hardware for research, for example: software to support computer-assisted translation, linguistic/corpus-based analysis, subtitling, re-speaking and audio-description; software for qualitative and quantitative analysis, eye-tracking facilities and dedicated server space.
We are also home to state-of-the-art interpreting laboratories with ISO-compliant professional interpreting booths, video-conferencing tools, mobile interpreting equipment and access to a remote simultaneous interpreting platform.
You will be allocated desk space within the Centre, and you will also be able to take advantage of our common rooms for socialising and networking with other students and staff.
Applicants are expected to hold a good bachelors degree and/or masters degree (2:1 or equivalent) in translation studies (translation, audiovisual translation, interpreting.
For other topics, a good bachelors degree and an MA in a relevant topic is required.
International entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category and at least 7.0 in the writing component.
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.
Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.
Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
Selection is based on applicants:
- Meeting the expected entry requirements
- Being shortlisted through the application screening process
- Completing a successful interview
- Providing suitable references.
Start date: April 2024
Start date: July 2024
Start date: October 2024
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
Start date: January 2025
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
For fees payable in 2023/24, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than September will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).
Overseas students applying for 2023 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4 per cent rounded up to the nearest £100.
View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.
If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, you should enter the details of the specific project that you wish to apply for rather than your own research proposal.
Read our application guidance for further information on the application process.
Code of practice for research degrees
Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.
Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).
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 procedures, 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 2023/24 academic year, 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 our full disclaimer.