MA Translation

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • Modern Languages
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


Our MA Translation at Exeter not only provides an industry-recognised qualification and excellent professional training for careers in the translation industry, but also offers the opportunity to study at a first class research intensive university with a stimulating research culture in Translation Studies.

Language areas


Key features

  • Programme takes into account EU standards for qualified translators
  • Degree certificate reflects your area of specialism
  • Taught by specialists: published literary translators; practitioners with experience of agency contracts and international organisations; and specialists in the use of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. Academic staff have a wealth of experience of the source cultures in which translation texts are produced
  • Excellent resources including specialist translation holdings and industry-standard translation memory systems
  • First rate IT and postgraduate facilities including dedicated computers with translation memory software and CAT tools, fully-equipped work stations, dedicated IT rooms and a common room
  • Encouragement to publish your own work
  • Guest lecture series including visits from translation professionals

Who is the MA Translation suitable for?

  • Professional translators wishing to gain a recognised qualification.
  • Linguists and language graduates seeking professional training for a career in the translation industry.
  • Graduates needing specialist language skills for industries such as teaching, business, management and the media.

Programme structure

Students follow modules totalling 180 credits (90 ECTS credits). Modules, with Exeter credit values, are given below. Students must take at least 30 credits from optional taught modules specific to the MA in Translation, as well as the dissertation module in an area relevant to the course.

Compulsory modules

Modules that are "non-condonable", if failed, the failed assessment (s) must be retaken, for the maximum possible mark of 50%. The consequences of failing more than 30 credits in the programme, or of failing a module at the second attempt, are set out in the Taught Postgraduate Degrees and Awards Assessment Procedures. The Procedures also explain how condonement works in condonable modules.

SMLM140Translation Methodology 30
SMLM141Practical Translation 30
SMLM145Translation Dissertation 60

Optional modules

Literary options: students must take both of these modules for the literary pathway

SMLM146 Literary Translation: Method and Practice

SMLM147 Revisiting Literature as (Re)Creation

Professional and Specialist options: students must take both for of these modules for the Professional and Specialist pathway

SMLM142 Specialist Translation

SMLM143 The Translation Profession 

Research options: students must take the following module for the Research pathway, plus one further option from the list above/below

SMLM144 Research in Translation Studies

Options not specific to the MA Translation:

One 30 credit M-Level module from another Humanities programme for which the student is appropriately qualified.

SMLM142Specialist Translation 30
SMLM143The Translation Profession 30
SMLM144Research in Translation Studies 30
SMLM146Literary Translation: Method and Practice 30
SMLM147Revisiting Literature: Translation as (Re)Creation 30

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

Teaching takes place over the first two terms, leaving the third for your dissertation. Research-centred teaching is at the heart of the programme. Teaching is done in small seminar groups to allow students the best possible interaction with academic staff, through individual presentations and round table discussions of common readings.

Students have the opportunity to engage in a serious piece of research into a topic of their choosing through the dissertation module. You will be assessed through coursework which will vary depending on the modules you choose and the completion of a dissertation of up to 25,000 words.

Learning resources

Students have access to excellent historical resources. The University Library is especially strong in the fields of national and local English history. It also possesses the extensive archive of the Nazi Party Chancellery on microfiche, as well as archives of the Comintern and both archival and printed collections for British history on microfilm. Resources in the South West such as the Cathedral Archives dating back to Saxon times, and major library and archive collections in London are within easy reach. All postgraduates are entitled to a free place at the Institute of Historical Research in London.

The Centre for Maritime Historical Studies also has a small specialist library, and students taking modules in maritime or naval history can benefit from access to the full collection of publications of the Navy Records Society and of the Hakluyt Society, and to an ever growing number of electronic resources dedicated to Maritime and Naval History.

Research centres

Our research centres regularly hold seminars and other research events which MA students are welcome to attend. Visit our research centres web page to find out more.


The MA Translation will give you the tools and skills you need to work in the translation industry, progress to a related PhD or pursue and variety of other careers.

The degree provides an industry-recognised qualification and skills specified in the EU standard for translation, which will help you succeed in your chosen career path, whether working for a multi-national organisation, as a freelance translator, or within the publishing and culture industry.

You will learn from professionals who are experienced in working in the translation industry and will receive advice on how to present yourself to employers in your chosen field.

To succeed in the translation industry, translation graduates not only need excellent language skills but also a range of other competencies: the ability to communicate with clients, agencies, and employers; confidence in competing for new work and in negotiating terms and conditions; and a willingness to follow company-specific guidelines for workflow and text presentation. Those graduates who go on to manage other translators will also need project management and people management skills. These career skills are practiced through our modules and discussed in tutorials. Visiting speakers impart valuable experience of their own career paths.

Recent jobs secured

Students who have undertaken postgraduate study in Translation at Exeter since 2007/08 have gone on to a variety of careers including:

  • Project Manager, ISO Translations
  • European Summary Translator, Precise Media
  • University Lecturer, China
  • PhD Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Exeter

Several students have secured funding for PhD study in Translation and related areas. Others have secured a sustainable level of freelance work. You can see details of a translation business set up by one of our MA Translation graduates.

Transferable skills

Apart from the specialist instruction you will receive during the course of the degree, you will also develop generic skills valued by employers such as written and oral communication, presentation, organisational, IT, analytical and research skills.

Careers and employment support

While studying at Exeter you can also access a range of activities, advice and practical help to give you the best chance of following your chosen career path. For more information visit our Careers pages.

Thanks to Linguaset, our graduates benefit from a free website domain name, a free custom-built website and free hosting following their studies. This gives them a helping hand at the start of their career.


We are housed in the Queen's building which offers relaxed study spaces, a dedicated Postgraduate Common Room with computer facilities, a modern cafeacute; and fully-equipped workstations.

Specific IT facilities of interest to translation students include dedicated computers with translation memory software. This software includes the latest version of TRADOS, the market leader, as well as Star Transit and Omega-T, in addition to Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools.

We have invested in a number of new licenses meaning there are plenty of workstations offering translation memory software compared to the number of translation students.

Our recently refurbished main library offers access to specialist holdings from St Jerome and John Benjamins' Translation Studies Library amongst others.

Entry requirements 2016

Chinese language

A first degree, equivalent to a UK 2.1 Honours degree, in English, Linguistics, Translation, or a similar subject. Exceptions may be made if you are already working within the translation industry. Chinese must be your mother tongue, or you must be able to demonstrate a native-equivalent knowledge of Chinese, in addition to a clear interest in translation theory and practice. Our English language requirements pages for details the level of English we require.

European languages

Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or international equivalent, from a recognised institution in a field related to translation, such as language, literature, linguistics or philology. In addition, you will need to demonstrate a clear interest in translation theory and practice.

You should have native or near-native knowledge of the language you wish to translate into, otherwise known as your target language. If you wish to study the Literary Translation pathway, you must have a native or equivalent knowledge of English, as this is the only target language offered.

If your target language is not English for the Specialist or Research pathways, you will need to satisfy our English language requirements. Our English language requirements pages for details the level of English we require.

Applications from students who do not meet the standard requirements will be considered on their merits.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency

Overall score 185 with a minimum score of 176 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 169.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2016/17

  • UK/EU: £6,900 full-time; £3,450 part-time
  • International: £15,950 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Current available funding

Contact us

MA Translation Programme Leader

Dr Richard Mansell
Tel: +44 (0)1392 723199

College of Humanities Postgraduate taught enquiries

Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306

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Studying an MA in Translation

Find out more about the MA Translation in our video with students and staff. View full size. Applicants from mainland China can watch this video on