MA Translation


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

The MA programme in Translation combines training of practical translation skills and/or cultural mediation with the teaching of translation theories and methods. It is unique in terms of the range of Asian/African language and cultural specializations. The practical translation modules are optional, students who prefer to concentrate on cultural translation, cultural mediation, or translation theory are also welcome. The aim of the programme is to enhance students' methodological and practical skills in translation, preparing them for the professional market as (freelance) translators, other language professionals, or cultural mediators, while providing an intellectual perspective on the discipline of translation studies, which could be the foundation for further MPhil/PhD research. Students have access to a wealth of resources for the study and practice of translation available in the SOAS Library and nearby institutions such as the University of London Library, the UCL Library, the British Library, as well as the BBC World Service and many others.

Student experience at SOAS is enriched by a range of research seminars at SOAS’ Centre for Translation Studies as well as Student Enterprise activities such as translation work.


Drawing on the expertise of highly qualified teachers and researchers at SOAS, the programme offers a range of languages to work with, including:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Swahili
  • Turkish


Our graduates find employment both in the United Kingdom and around the world. They will work with:

  • Translation agencies
  • Multinational companies
  • International organizations
  • Education institutions

They can also pursue further MPhil/PhD research in translation studies at SOAS or other academic institutions.


Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. Students should follow the programme structure set out below.


  • Dissertation in Linguistics (Translation Theory)

Taught Component

Core Module

All students will take the following two core modules:

  • Translation Studies and Methodology
  • Translation Theory

Guided Options

All students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from List A below.


All students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from List B below.

List of modules (subject to availability)

List A

  • Practical Translation Arabic into English
  • Practical Translation English into Arabic
  • Practical Translation: Chinese to English
  • Practical Translation: English to Chinese
  • Practical Translation: Japanese into English
  • Practical Translation: English into Japanese
  • Practical Translation: English into Korean
  • Practical Translation Persian into English
  • Practical Translation English into Persian
  • Practical Translation Swahili into English
  • Translating Cultures 1
  • Translating Cultures 2
  • Translation Technology
  • Concepts and Practice of Subtitling
  • Advanced Translation (Turkish)
  • Translating Korean Literature (PG)
  • Critical Thinking in Translation

List B

  • Literatures in African languages
  • Directed Readings in an African Language
  • Issues in Anthropology of Media
  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World
  • Culture and Society of China
  • Culture and Society of Japan
  • Culture and Society of South Asia
  • Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation
  • Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature
  • Postcolonial Theory and Practice
  • Readings in Korean Literature (PG)
  • Introduction to the Study of Language
  • Language, Society and Communication (Masters)
  • Topics in the Structure of Chinese (Masters)
  • Historical Linguistics (Masters)
  • Applied Language Documentation and Description
  • Language Planning and Policy
  • Theoretical and Contemporary Issues in Media and Cultural Studies
  • The Qur'an: Language, Style and Translation in English
  • Islamic Texts

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Upper second class or above honours degree (or equivalent); fluency in the specified African or Asian language at least to the level of that imparted by the first degree in that language.

Interview Policy:

Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications are usually invited to interview.

English Language Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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