Why choose this course
Originally launched in 1986, our recently updated MA Translation programme is one of the longest running in the world. Incorporating over 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:
- 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 will confront a wide range of translation challenges, use cutting-edge software (e.g. 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.
An international community
The MA Translation programme 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 competences in terminology, transcreation, localization, multimodal communication and other specialized and multilingual language services. The MA is taught by professional translators and research-active academics working closely together, to offer 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. The programme 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:
- The Chartered Institute of Linguists
- The Institute of Translation and Interpreting
- The Translation Automation User Society
- The Globalization and Localization Association
- The 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.
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
- 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.
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 2021/22. 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 or 60, 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 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 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 2021
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2021-22 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.
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
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 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. 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.