MA Translation


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Why choose this course

This is one of the longest-running MA Translation courses in the world.

Incorporating over 30 years of experience in translator education, our internationally recognised course focuses on professional translation, preparing you for a career in the language services industry.

The course has a strong practical component designed to suit the needs of the translation market today. We support ‘virtual internships’, which enable you to collaborate with language services providers and build a professional engagement portfolio to present to future employers. Our European Masters of Translation membership gives you priority access to traineeships at the EU Directorate-General for Translation.

What you will study

You will learn what you need in addition to language skills to become a professional translator, and receive advanced training in translation methodology, terminology research, proofreading and editing, translation technologies and the business of translation.

You will practise specialised translation taught by professional translators, simulating real-life scenarios and covering different topics (for example, business, legal, scientific and technical translation). We offer Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish paired with English at specialist level (languages subject to teaching availability and/or student demand).

Optional modules such as an additional language paired with English at ab initio level, literary or audio-visual translation, or corpora for translation will allow you to customise your learning experience.

Teaching staff

Our experienced academics will help you develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of translation, while our professional translation tutors bring their workplace experience, standards and up-to-date knowledge of the translation market into the classroom.

Professional development

Practice-based modules enable you to learn from professional translators, use translation technologies, and appreciate the business and industry aspects of the profession. You can also gain advanced corpus-compilation and terminology extraction skills.

As a student, you will benefit from access to SDL Trados Studio, SDL MultiTerm and Sketch Engine, and can also use software like SmartCat, Matecat, Memsource and Lilt. You will be given opportunities to develop projects with the local community. For example, our students have recently collaborated with the University International Office, the Watts Gallery, the Guildford Walking Tours and local language services providers.

You will gain further insights into the industry from guest speakers at 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 key stakeholders in the translation industry. In addition to the respected European Masters of Translation network, we are corporate members of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. You can join these bodies as a student and then become a full member after you graduate. We are a member of the European Language Industry Association, which gives you the possibility to apply for work placements with its various affiliated companies. We are also a member of the Translation Automation User Society, collaborate closely with language services 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 careers fair, 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 or as a language services provider at an international organisation, government body, or at a university or private company.

The translation 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 translation services. As an MA Translation graduate and qualified language professional, you will be able to take advantage of global employment opportunities.

Technological innovation is also rapidly reshaping the translation industry, presenting new research opportunities. Your MA dissertation is one of the many ways of getting involved in ongoing research at the Centre for Translation Studies. We also regularly have MA students who decide to stay on to study for a PhD in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

Academic year structure

Our MA Translation modules are taught across two semesters. Full-time students normally take four modules in semester one and four in semester two. Part-time students can plan their workload flexibly under the guidance of the programme leader, as long as they take eight modules across two years. The dissertation is completed in the summer and submitted in early September.


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 or 60 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

Year 1 (full-time)

Module Title Status Semester
Dissertation (MA Translation and Interpreting Studies) Compulsory Year-long
Ab Inito Language for Translation Purposes I Optional 1
Audiovisual Translation I Optional 1
Issues in Literary Translation Optional 1
Language and Translation Compulsory 1
Specialist Translation (Additional Language) I Optional 1
Specialist Translation I Optional 1
Translation Technologies Compulsory 1
Ab Inito Language for Translation Purposes II Optional 2
Audiovisual Translation II Optional 2
Business and Industry Aspects of the Translation Profession Compulsory 2
Corpora and Translation Optional 2
Research Methods in Translation Studies Optional 2
Specialist Translation (Additional Language) II Optional 2
Specialist Translation II Optional 2
Translating Cultures Optional 2
Translation of Persuasive Texts Optional 2

Optional modules for Year 1 (full-time) - FHEQ Level 7

Students must choose five optional modules (ideally two in Semester 1 and three in Semester 2).

Specialist Translation language options include Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish paired with English. They require native or near-native competency in English and one of the above languages. Ab Initio Language for Translation Purposes includes Norwegian, Portuguese and Russian paired with English. Semester 2 options in the Specialist Translation and the Ab Initio list must be taken in conjunction with their corresponding Semester 1 options.

Entry requirements

Native speakers of a relevant language (from the list below) require a degree in art, 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. Programmes available in the following languages (subject to demand):

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
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