Why choose this course
Originally launched in 1986, our recently updated Translation MA is one of the longest-running in the world. Incorporating more than 30 years of experience in translator education, we attract students from all over the world.
Our teaching combines professional translation experience with expertise in the discipline of translation studies. We are guided by an ambitious research programme, which focuses on the responsible integration of tried-and-tested translation practices with fast-evolving technology-enhanced workflows. The course has a strong practical component that includes translation practice in the following languages paired with English:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
Plus, other languages upon request.
The programme is designed to meet the needs of the market, enabling you to develop a professional CV as you study.
What you will study
You will develop professional translation skills under the co-ordinated guidance of professional translators and experienced academics. You will simulate real-life translation scenarios and cover a variety of specialisms, as you develop a solid grounding in the linguistic, quality, social, ethical and technological dimensions of the profession. You’ll confront a wide range of translation challenges, use cutting-edge software (for example, computer-assisted translation, machine translation and corpora), and gain a critical understanding of how technologies impact the profession.
Optional modules focusing on the creative, business, technological and research dimensions of translation enable you to customise your learning, according to your own strengths, personal tastes and career ambitions.
You will gain experience of language services provision through work placements and/or other tasks and collaborations.
To conclude your MA, you can choose between a topic-based dissertation, an extended translation and analytical commentary, or a work placement plus a critical report.
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.
An international community
The Translation MA attracts students from all over the world, forming a truly multilingual international community. Our MA cohorts tend to be a mix of students who have just completed their undergraduate degrees and more mature students, with different backgrounds of experience.
A future-proof education
The course helps you develop not just core translation skills, but also competencies in terminology, transcreation, localisation, multimodal communication and other specialized and multilingual language services. The MA is taught by professional translators and research-active academics working closely together, offering you a combination of practical experience and research-led teaching.
The programme is industry-facing and provides a future-proof education that is guided by Surrey’s research and expertise in translating creative and specialized texts, interacting with translation-memory systems and machine translation, performing post-editing tasks and collaborating through digital platforms. It addresses machine-translation quality and usability, the translation of audio-visual content for diverse audiences, text mining, the basics of natural language processing, and corpus linguistics approaches to terminology extraction and enhancing quality in translation.
Surrey’s Centre for Translation Studies is located on the top floor of the new University Library building. You will have classes in a dedicated language-software computer lab. You will work hands-on with state-of-the-art software for translation, including computer-assisted translation, subtitling, terminology extraction and corpus linguistics tools. As a registered student, you can access this software not only from the University’s dedicated language computer labs, but also from your own devices outside classes.
Our course is designed to help you develop the linguistic, translation, technological, business, interpersonal and soft skills needed for a successful career in the language services industry.
Surrey’s expertise and the hands-on training it provides in translation technologies means our graduates are well prepared for the increasing demand for computer-assisted translation, post-editing, remote collaborative assignments, and new, emerging modes of language services provision.
You will practise translation between your language pair(s) in small groups under the guidance of professional translators, who simulate authentic translation scenarios and cover a variety of specialisms.
Surrey’s Centre for Translation Studies also hosts regular seminars to provide you with further insights about the profession. Guest speakers include successful translators, experts in various fields of translation, and representatives of professional associations with whom we regularly collaborate, such as:
- Chartered Institute of Linguists
- Institute of Translation and Interpreting
- Translation Automation User Society
- Globalization and Localization Association
- European Language Industry Association.
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 work placements and other 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. For example, our students have recently worked with the University International Office, the Watts Gallery and the Guildford Walking Tours.
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.
There is a growing demand for the novel modes of translation and multilingual language services that our MA Translation students are trained for.
The course’s work placement option enables you to gain professional experience and nurture a close relationship with a prospective employer, as you work towards your dissertation. We are regularly contacted by stakeholders from the language services industry wishing to recruit Surrey students and recent graduates.
Job opportunities include:
- Working as in-house and freelance translators
- Multilingual content writers
- Language-services managers
- Localisation specialists
- Terminology specialists
- Transcreation specialists
- Language and translation tutors.
Recent Surrey graduates have pursued careers at international organisations, government bodies and the private sector, as well as developing successful freelance ventures. A few of our MA students carry on studying for a PhD to develop language and translation research and embrace an academic career.
To further help our students with work opportunities in the language services industry, we host an annual careers fair where local and international companies from with an active interest in Surrey graduates meet our students in an informal, friendly atmosphere.
Academic year structure
The MA Translation course is studied over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).
The taught part of the programme is divided into eight 15-credit modules. A 15-credit module is indicative of 150 hours of learning. The hours of learning comprise of contact hours, guided learning and private study.
The MA Translation course has four compulsory modules, and you must select another four optional modules. The compulsory modules are:
- Professional Translation Practice I (English paired with another language)
- Professional Translation Practice II (English paired with another language)
- Principles and Challenges of Translation and Interpreting
- Translation as Human-Computer Interaction.
Our varied offer of optional modules will enable you to tailor the programme to your personal strengths and preferences. If you are a full-time student, you will take the compulsory modules Professional Translation Practice I, Principles and Challenges of Translation and Interpreting, and Translation as Human-Computer Interaction in Semester 1, and Professional Translation Practice II in Semester 2. You will normally take one of your optional modules in Semester 1, and three in Semester 2.
If you choose to study part-time, you will take the compulsory modules Professional Translation Practice I and II, and Principles and Challenges of Translation and Interpreting in your first year. You can distribute the five remaining modules (Translation as Human-Computer interaction and four options) flexibly over two years.
You will complete your degree with a Translation and Interpreting Studies Dissertation (60 credits), to be submitted at the beginning of September. You can choose between three types of dissertation:
- A topic-based dissertation
- An extended translation and analytical commentary
- A work placement (minimum 150 hours) plus critical report.
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 one of the languages listed below or in a related subject taught in one of these languages.
Native speakers of a relevant language (from the list below) require a degree in an arts, humanities or social science (e.g. economics, management, tourism and hospitality management) subject.
Alternative subjects will be considered by the Faculty on a case-by-case basis.
Relevant work experience to be considered by the Faculty on a case-by-case basis.
The languages available in the programme (subject to demand) are:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
Other languages may be available upon request.
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 7.0 in writing 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.
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 (email@example.com) with any queries.
Start date: September 2023
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- 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.
Additional costs may be incurred within the Dissertation module if the work placement is opted for. This may include expenses, such as travel to and from the workplace, any required accommodation and related subsidiary costs. However, please note that in the language services industry it is often possible to carry out work placements or parts of it remotely/virtually.
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
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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.