Set your languages to work in translation
Why take this course?
This well-established programme is a practical, accredited course designed for language graduates and practicing translators, which offers a formal qualification in translating between English and any of a range of languages. It has a strong practical orientation, embracing technology and research skills that are highly relevant to translation as a career.
You can study this as a campus-based or distance learning course.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Specialise in translation between English and your choice of language from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian or Spanish
- Balance your study between translation skills, technological competence and the acquisition of theoretical methodologies
- Follow a programme accredited by the European Masters in Translation network
What opportunities might it lead to?
The MA Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth is an accredited member of the European Masters in Translation Network, and the University is also a member of the OPTIMALE translator training network funded by the Erasmus lifelong learning scheme of the European Commission.
The course includes a strong practical element, as well as a careers element, which enables those who wish to become professionals to understand the basics of staff, agency and freelance translation work. Translation graduates are in demand for translation project management as well as editing, copywriting and related posts.
This course is accredited by European Masters in Translation. The EMT is a partnership project between the European Commission and higher-education institutions offering master's level translation programmes. The project has established a quality label for university translation programmes that meet agreed professional standards and market demands.
Deadlines for the DL course are 31 July for September entry and 1 December for January entry.
I chose Portsmouth because the course provided a good insight into translation studies, and the opportunity to develop in a wide range of areas including audio visual translation. It has given me an insight on how translators work, what to expect, and a great push to enter the professional world.
Agustina Giorgi Games, MA Translation Studies
- 1 year full time (campus-based), 2 years part time (campus-based), 3 years part time (distance learning with September or January start date)
- A good honours degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. Applicants whose main language is English require advanced knowledge of at least one other language (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian or Spanish). English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £5,200, part time: £2,600 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £5,200, part time: £2,600 p/a*
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000, part time: £6,000 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600, part time: £6,300 p/a*
2016/17 entry: £1,730 p/a*
2017/18 entry: £1,730 p/a*
Distance leaning course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
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- School of Languages and Area Studies
- Programme specification
- Programme specification (PT)
- Programme specification (PT, DL)
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
Our campus programme combines the opportunity for traditional classroom-based teaching, with the flexibility of distance learning. A student can complete the programme (excluding the dissertation) through classroom delivery. Alternatively, they can widen their option choices by selecting one or more units from the distance learning and supervised unit ranges.
A full time student will do one core unit and one option in each teaching block, plus their dissertation. A part time student will do a core unit in each teaching block of year one and an option unit in each teaching block of year two (plus their dissertation).
Critical Approaches to Specialised Translation
For the theoretical strand of this unit, students will be introduced to a series of concepts and theoretical frameworks in linguistics and translation studies. This unit makes substantial use of task-based learning in order to help the students to learn to apply these concepts and frameworks to the analysis of translations by other people and to their own translation practice. For the practical strand of this unit, students will work in language specific groups. They will practice translation and the preparation of commentaries as well as other translation related activities on four different specialised translation domains.
Students have the choice to complete a 15,000 word dissertation on a translation related topic or an extended translation and commentary. (Taken once core unit and options have been passed)
Options: 2 of the following:
Translation Technologies and Subtitling
This unit is designed to provide students with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with software tools which are relevant and in use in the professional world of translation. It will cover both the theory and the practice of glossary development, translation memory/machine translation usage and subtitling.
This unit is designed to develop students’ ability to communicate technical information effectively to specific audiences. It will examine a range of factors that can influence the effectiveness of communication and provide strategies to overcome communication problems
The Translation Project provides an opportunity for students to produce an extended translation in a domain of their choice. Students will be required to address a range of practical and professional issues, including market demand, time and resource management and billing, and reflect critically on them.
The Professional Portfolio is designed as a unit which allows students to profile their studies in a way which is academically or professionally important to them on the basis of previous professional experience, a work placement or internship, or any specific interests they may have in translation. This unit may be used to perform a deeper exploration of elements relating to the translation and interpreting sector not covered in other units on the MA, with the final artefact presented in the form of a small research project, report or essay.
Professional Aspects of Translation
This course will provide students with tools to maximise their employability in the sector and to enhance their professional business skills. The unit show cases current professional issues and trends.
Please note: Specialised Translation workshops will run on campus depending on student numbers. Students will join the Distance Learning workshop variant of this unit if numbers for a specific language pathway are low on campus.
The credit system creates a flexible framework in which you can graduate with one of the following awards, depending on the number of credits gained:
- MA in Translation Studies (one core unit, two optional and the dissertation): 180 credits
- Postgraduate Diploma in Translation Studies: 120 credits
- Postgraduate Certificate in Translation Studies: 60 credits
Teaching and Assessment
Full time study is one full academic year, consisting of a taught programme from October to June and a research programme, in which the dissertation is written from June to September. Part time students study for a period of two years. Their dissertation is written in the summer period of the second year of study.
Distance learning students
The distance learning programme will provide you with online learning materials for the units. These will be supported by asynchronous online discussion with the tutors responsible for the various course units and with other students on the course. You will also be able to communicate with your tutors on a one-to-one basis (e.g. by email, Skype or telephone).
You will be allocated a dissertation supervisor, who will oversee your work throughout the process and you will be encouraged to start thinking about your dissertation from the start of the course and submit a series of interim documents.
How are you assessed?
Assessments include translations, essays and projects. All translation-related assessments provide the opportunity to practise your translation skills and simultaneously to reflect on this practice. Other assignments will evaluate your technical expertise, research skills, ability to read critically and grasp of the principal theoretical concepts relating to translation.
MA Translation Studies
We put a great deal of emphasis on combining practice and theory and we strive to provide students with the key employability skills needed in the translation industry. Our very well established and successful distance learning pathway allows you to study in a flexible way from anywhere in the world.
Facilities & Features
Distance and Campus-Based Learning
The programme brings all students together, whether on campus or online, through our virtual learning environment, Moodle, supported by email and telephone contact for a disciplined, flexible Master's experience.
On your Master's, you will be studying with members of CEISR, one of the UK's largest research centres of its kind. These active researchers in the field of linguistics and the teaching of English as a foreign language will ensure that your study is connected to the latest developments in the area.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online e-journals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
There may be travel costs for internships/placements. These will vary depending on the nature of internship/placement and can range from £50 - £1000.
Careers & Opportunities
Graduates of the MA Translation Studies work in a variety of translation-related roles, in the UK and abroad. The course can enhance a specialism that students already have, or can help develop the relevant knowledge and skills for the profession. It is quite common to begin one's in-house career as a project manager, co-ordinating translation commissions before moving on to work as a translator. Quite a few of our graduates also go into freelance translation. A number of our graduates go on to pursue further research in translation.
Relevant work placements may be accredited on this course through the Professional Portfolio option. Where possible, we facilitate students in obtaining placements with translation companies, which may be in the UK or abroad. If you are willing to travel you will find that more options are open to you. Students with eligible language combinations are encouraged to try for internships and competitions with the European institutions.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Upon completing my MA, I have begun to build a profession in Translation Project Management. Put simply, without the skill set that I developed in my Master's from the University of Portsmouth, my current career prospects would not have been possible.
James Letts, MA Translation Studies graduate 2014
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.
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If you are unable to visit us, why not contact the admissions team for your course of interest via our course pages.
If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan for 2016 entry plus scholarships and bursaries available visit our postgraduate pages.
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Fees and Funding
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