MA Interpreting


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Why choose this course

This is the only course in the UK that will give you advanced interpreting skills in all interpreting modes, including consecutive, simultaneous, chuchotage, sight translation, dialogue and distance interpreting. We are the first university to teach video-mediated and telephone interpreting based on research in distance interpreting, giving you excellent and flexible career opportunities.

The course has a strong practical component designed to suit the needs of the interpreting market today. We support ‘virtual internships’ which enable you to collaborate with language service providers and build a professional engagement portfolio that you can present to potential future employers.

What you will study

Our MA Interpreting course has a multilingual and a Chinese pathway.

On this pathway, we offer Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish paired with English (languages are subject to availability and/or demand).

You will receive advanced training in all interpreting modes and technologies and develop a deep knowledge of the interpreting industry. Practical modules are taught by experienced professional interpreters and you’ll benefit from cutting-edge facilities and participate in simulated industry-relevant scenarios.

The background lecture provides a conceptual framework for understanding, discussing and justifying interpreting-related decisions. Optional modules such as an additional language paired with English at ab initio level of audio-visual translation will allow you to customise your learning experience.

Teaching staff

During the course, you will learn through a combination of regular language pair-specific practice, simulations of multilingual events (mock conferences, guided campus tours, distance interpreting), modules highlighting different aspects of the profession, and a background lecture. Our experienced academic staff will help you develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of interpreting, while well-established, professional interpreters bring their workplace experience, standards and up-to-date knowledge of the market into the classroom.

Professional development

You will be able to enjoy regular contact with professional interpreters in your practice-based modules and gain advanced knowledge of how technologies are shaping the interpreting profession, making you fit for the current market. You will benefit from course components that emphasise the business and industry aspects of interpreting.

You will have access to two conference interpreting suites equipped with ISO-approved double interpreting booths, as used by international institutions, to practise simultaneous interpreting; a portable interpreting system for training in mobile interpreting (used for museum or factory tours); and a two-way and multipoint videoconferencing system to simulate remote or distance interpreting, with delegates and interpreters interacting over video link.

You will have invaluable opportunities to apply and further hone your interpreting skills and strategies in real-life working environments. For instance, our students have provided interpreting services for a variety of multilingual events held at the University, ranging from graduation ceremonies to a three-day medical conference and other workshops. Our students have also had the opportunity to further refine their skills by participating in a remote interpreting Summer School, as well as shadowing professional interpreters working at a number of international conferences held in London, thanks to our well-established contacts with some major interpreting service providers.

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 offer professionally relevant courses and have forged close links with the main professional bodies. For example, after graduating from our MA Interpreting course you will be able to apply for membership of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters. We have also been invited to take part in prestigious schemes such as the 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 then become a full member after you graduate.

We are 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 closely 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

Career prospects

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 freelancer, in-house interpreter, interpreting services manager or as an interpreting technology co-ordinator at international organisations, government bodies, universities and private companies.

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 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.

Entry requirements

  • 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.
Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

The University of Surrey was established on 9 September 1966 with the grant of its Royal Charter, but its roots go back to a late 19th-century concern to provide greater access to further and higher e ... Read More

The University of Surrey was established on 9 September 1966 with the grant of its Royal Charter, but its roots go back to a late 19th-century concern to provide greater access to further and higher education for the poorer inhabitants of London. Read less