MRes in Translation Studies

University of Stirling

Program Description

MRes in Translation Studies

University of Stirling

MRes in Translation Studies

Available across six in-demand language pairings: English and one of French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Russian and Polish

A postgraduate degree in Translation Studies is of the highest value. Not only will it equip you with professional level translation skills in international dialogues, enabling you to play your part in developing a global community, it will also give you an opportunity to fine-tune your communication skills and awareness of the wide range of challenges and opportunities that arise every time intercultural dialogue occurs.

Recent research has shown that the fall in the number of language learners over the past decade has come at a big cost to the UK economy. While we may be able to continue to trade and to develop partnerships with countries, regions and companies whose first language is English, we’ve been cutting ourselves off from large swathes of the new markets emerging in East Asia, in Latin America, and in West Africa, to name but three regions. This trend has had an impact even at EU level, according to a recent CFA Skills report. The reasons for this recent decline in language learning are varied, but the tide is turning as Scottish and UK business and industry recognises the benefits of speaking the languages of truly global trade.

Course objectives

The Master’s in Translation Studies has a strong focus on practical translation and on specific situations in which people communicate with one another across different cultures. We offer the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Polish, Russian and Spanish (available subject to demand and availability).

The course provides extensive practical translation work on a theme or topic of your choice. It is structured so that you can have considerable flexibility in choosing what areas of translation you wish to specialise in, as you build up a portfolio of translations with your tutor. You may also choose to undertake an extended translation as part of your final dissertation and will be given an opportunity to examine some of the key topics in contemporary Translation Studies.

Students on the course also examine some major debates surrounding the opportunities and problems that arise when people from different cultures communicate and translate, through seminars led by experts in the field of intercultural communication. There will also be some opportunity for work-based study and exercises, as well as a chance to develop your skills using translation software packages.

If you wish to study for a PhD subsequently, you have the opportunity to demonstrate you have attained a level that prepares you for a higher research degree. For candidates of a suitable level, there is an opportunity to continue in Stirling with a practice-led doctorate involving translation.

Structure and content

Stirling’s MRes in Translation Studies has all the taught elements of an MSc course, while still retaining the flexibility of research-led learning and teaching. This established course has a number of features which will enhance your learning experience.

The teaching year follows the two semesters, which run from mid-September to late December, and from January to the end of May.

Portfolio of Translation: This module develops critical ability and autonomy in applying theories and approaches to different types of translation texts. It will also introduce students to the core translation theories, research methods and approaches in Translation Studies. After that, the students will develop, with their tutor, their own portfolio of practical translation exercises, relating to their own interests. The portfolio will consist of four pieces of translation, each approx. 500 words in length. Students will also discuss and comment on the issues arising in translating your portfolio in a commentary of around 1,250 words.

Terminology and Translation Project Management: This module focuses on introducing students to the theoretical framework of the disciplines of terminology and project management, familiarising them with the practice of terminological research and glossary compilation - both essential adjuncts to the work of a professional translator - and developing the students’ career awareness and enterprise skills.

Cultural Translation and Transfer: You will engage in seminar discussions with experts in the area of cultural translation and transfer, analysing the opportunities and problems that arise when information is communicated across cultures. You will be assessed by means of essays reflecting on a major topic of debate, as well as reports based on site visits to our partner institutions engaged in cultural translation.

Research Skills: Our innovative Arts Graduate Training modules enable students to build up a portfolio of skills that prepare them for academic and professional life. All graduate students will work with their supervisors to select what’s right for them from a menu of activities. For many of our students a key part of these modules involves participating in work placements and work experience with local businesses, museums and film festivals.

Translation with Computer Technology (option module) (subject to demand): This module trains students to apply their theoretical and conceptual background to a practical approach to translation and to address the significant and growing demand for basic skills in translation studies. The module will include translation corpora, terminology bank, machine translation (MT) and computer-aided translation (CAT) tools in the fields of translation memory (TM) management, translation project management, translation of documentation, and software localisation, to exploiting translation resources available on the internet and legacy translation data.

Specialised Translation (option module) (subject to demand): The module addresses the significant and growing demand for specialised translation within human situations and professional contexts, across different degrees of specialisation in a range of subject matters, including business, legal, medical, audiovisual, academic, journalistic, political, religious and cultural texts either from two languages into English or one language into and out of English, at a professional level.

Dissertation: Subject to successful completion of all elements of the assessment in both Semesters, you will choose one of the following as your dissertation project:

  • an extended piece of translation and related research and commentary based on it
  • a ‘traditional’ dissertation on a topic drawn from Translation Theories
  • a ‘traditional’ dissertation focusing on a topic drawn from the field of Cultural Translation

You are expected to begin collating materials during the Spring. The main writing period will follow on from the end of teaching in May, and all dissertations are submitted at the end of August.

Delivery and assessment

You will attend seminars and workshop sessions which will focus on translation theories, cultural translation and transfer, but also on the practical activity of translation. Each semester will also include a site visit to one of our partner institutions which engages in cultural translation, broadly construed. Assessment will include essays, reports (which may take the form of written documents, websites or PowerPoint presentations), and the portfolio of translation.

Career opportunities

Our taught MRes in Translation Studies is, first and foremost, a fantastic gateway into a career in Translation, whether you want to work freelance or in-house, and there’s much more that you could end up doing with a qualification in Translation.

In a world of globalisation, criss-crossing travel and trade routes, and multi-lingual, multi-platform media, your translation skills will set you apart from the crowd. Whether you’re interested in developing a career in Europe, or working for one of the many international companies with offices in Scotland and the UK, or playing your part in the ever-expanding, diversifying tourist industry, this is the course for you.

Scotland’s exports increased by £1.6 billion over the course of 2010 according to the latest Global Connections Survey (2013) and the upward trend looks set to continue. For organisations such as Scottish Enterprise, up and coming translators who can expand Scotland’s business partners and look towards new horizons are extremely highly valued. And our course's five, in-demand languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, Polish and Russian) are indicators of some of these new horizons towards which the country is turning with an increase of more than 14% in exports to the EU, strong growth in emerging Asian markets, and a marked interest in new, innovative areas such as renewables. And wherever Scottish businesses seek to expand their marketplace, they call on translators to help smooth the path.


  • 2016/17 Overseas £12,450
  • 2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
  • 2015/16 Overseas £11,900
  • 2015/16 Home/EU £6,000

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Language competence requirement; a native speaker of or holding a degree in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian or Polish.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 26, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
12 - 27 months
Part time
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 12 - 27 months
Price Request Info