Translation Studies

Set your languages to work in translation

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

This 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.

Also available:
MA Translation Studies (Distance learning)

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, Portuguese, 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.

James Letts, MA Translation Studies graduate 2014

I chose to study an MA in Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth because of the dedication, professionalism and experience of the staff. This MA also opened the door to the job market, as I now work as project manager at a translation company.

James Letts, MA Translation Studies graduate 2014

Key Facts

1 year full time, 2 years part time
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, Portuguese, 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 full-time students: £5,100, part-time students: £2,550 p/a* (2 years)
International full-time students: £11,500, part-time students: £5,750 p/a* (2 years)
* Fees are for 2015/16 entry and are subject to annual increase.

For details see terms and conditions

+44 (0)23 9284 8299
School of Languages and Area Studies
Programme specification

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

The MA Translation Studies has a strong practical element and features units that have a high degree of professional relevance and training, enabling you to learn the basics of in-house and freelance translation work.

The course is structured on the basis of core units and optional units which combine translation practice with applied theory. Optional units allow for further exploration of current advances in translation technology, and offer opportunities for students to design their own study and choose their own areas of specialisation. The Independent Learning unit can be used to gain credit for a work placement.

  • Theory and Practice of Translation
  • Specialised Translation
  • Dissertation

Two options from:

  • Professional Aspects of Translation
  • Translation Technologies
  • Second Specialised Translation
  • Translation Project
  • Independent Learning
  • Technical Writing for Translators

Please note that our optional units are available subject to a number of constraints such as student demand (options cannot run with very small numbers) and staff availability (some options may only be available in certain languages). If you have a strong need to follow a specific option, seek clarification from the course leader regarding its availability.

Exit levels

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 (two core units, 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.

The research management unit will prepare you for your dissertation, which often takes the form of a substantial translation and commentary, but other forms of dissertation are also possible and encouraged. 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?

Assessment is undertaken through coursework assignments or dossiers, presentations and/or in-class work. There are no formal end of year examinations.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Language Laboratories

We have four state-of-the-art Sony Virtuoso Language Laboratories, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources in a rich, multimedia language-learning environment. Our staff are at the forefront in exploiting the potential afforded by this technology to create their own packages of materials.



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.

University Library

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.

Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Graduates of the MA Translation Studies work in a variety of translation-related roles, in the UK and abroad. 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.

Work Experience

Relevant work placements may be accredited on this course through the Independent Learning 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.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – 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.

James Letts, MA Translation Studies graduate 2014

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

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.

Applying via an education agent, representative or partner institution? Apply to our International Office.

Visiting opportunities

Postgraduate Information Days are held twice a year and give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with subject tutors. The next events are:

  • Wednesday 29 April 2015

Book your place now

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

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