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Interpreting & Translating (MA)

Course Description

Qualifications and durations
- Full-time MA 1 year (includes 3 months to submit dissertation)

Languages offered:
- Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish


Students may follow one of two possible paths:

- Path 1: allows students with English as their ‘A’ language to offer two other languages - from Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish - working only into English.

- Path 2: allows students to work in both directions between Chinese/English or Russian/English.


This programme is designed to prepare linguists for careers as professional interpreters and/or translators. It has done this most successfully over more than four decades, and graduates are to be found working in language services throughout the world.

All students follow a core programme involving professional translation and simultaneous, consecutive and public and commercial service interpreting or liaison/public service interpreting. A number of options are available in the second semester to allow students to further focus on their translation or interpreting skills.

The MA is awarded for a 15,000-word dissertation/project submitted after successful completion of the taught programme.

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/programmes/ma-in-inte-and-tran/

Why study with us?

- Team of highly experienced professional staff
- State of the art digital interpreting suites provide excellent teaching and practice space.
- Small class sizes provide high levels of student and teacher contact.
- Work placements in interpreting and translating are often an option during the programme and provide invaluable practical experience.
- Motivated and multi-national student cohort offers a diverse and stimulating learning environment.
- Students are exposed to realistic training from experienced translation and interpreting trainers which prepares them for work after graduation.
- The University and city of Bath offer ample exposure for non-native students to the English language and culture of the UK.
- A number of funding opportunities are available and students with EU languages are eligible to apply for EU bursaries.

Programme structure

European Stream (French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish):

- Consecutive interpreting (all year core unit)
- Simultaneous interpreting (all year core unit)
- Public speaking (Semester 1 option)
- Professional translation I (Semester 1 core unit)
- Professional translation II (Semester 2 core unit)
- Public service interpreting (Semester 2 option)
- Using technology in the T & I Industry (Semester 2 option)
- Dissertation: 15,000 word thesis: annotated translation or a project type

Chinese Stream

- Consecutive interpreting (all year core unit)
- Simultaneous interpreting (all year core unit)
- Liaison/Public service interpreting (all year core unit)
- Public speaking (Semester 1 option)
- Professional translation I (Semester 1 core unit)
- Professional translation II (Semester 2 option)
- Using technology in the T & I Industry (Semester 2 option)
- Dissertation: 15,000 word thesis: annotated translation or a project type

View programme catalogue (http://www.bath.ac.uk/catalogues/2015-2016/pl/pl-proglist-pg.html#G) for further information.

Through our extensive network of contacts, we aim to organise placements for all students with the language services of international organisations, government departments or translation companies.

These placements provide an invaluable insight into the work of professional linguists and are valued highly by employers. They are not however compulsory and are not always guaranteed.

Our students have previously undertaken placements/internships in:
- United Nations (New York, Geneva, and Vienna)
- European Commission and European Parliament
- Council of Europe

Learning and teaching

Our programmes are modular, consisting of self-contained units, taught and assessed on a semester basis. As you progress through each semester and successfully pass the examinations, you will receive credit for the units, thus providing you with a clear indication of your academic progress.

Teaching takes the form of lectures and intensive translation and interpreting. Lectures are quite formal, whereas classes involve closer interaction between the lecturer and a small number of students for intensive training in the Translating & Interpreting discipline with plenty of time for informative discussion.

We also use the software MemoQ for the delivery of the unit, Using Technology in the Translation & Interpreting Industry; this is one of the leading tools in the industry.


The MA Interpreting & Translating is a highly vocational programme with a worldwide reputation for training professional translators and conference interpreters.

Our graduates have excellent employment prospects. While some have found rewarding jobs in smaller companies and institutions, or chosen to remain as a freelancer, many have gone on to pursue stimulating careers as professional translators and interpreters with major international organisations.

Graduates have worked for the following organisations:

- Institutional markets:

United Nations (Geneva, Vienna and New York)
European Commission (Brussels and Luxembourg)
European Parliament (Brussels and Luxembourg)
Council of Europe (Strasbourg)
International Court of Justice (The Hague)
NATO (Brussels)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (London)
European Bank (Frankfurt)
BBC World Service (London)

- Private markets:

Talk Finance
Power Network

Some of our graduates have shared their experiences on our alumni blog (http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/on-parade/category/ma-interpreting-translating/).

About the department

The Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies (PoLIS) is one of the largest departments in the University.

Many staff are leading scholars in their field and are involved in a wide range of research activities, including collaborative projects at both national and international levels.

International and industrial links:

- Our department has links with 22 Erasmus partner institutions, as well as universities in Russia and Mexico.
- Research students regularly engage in fieldwork abroad, especially in the countries of the European Union, but also in Russia, Latin America and the United States.
- Students on the Euromasters programme study at two or three different sites in either Europe or the USA.
- In the case of the MA Interpreting & Translating and the MA Translation & Professional Language Skills, a number of work placements in Western Europe are made available to students in the language services of international organisations, government departments and commercial enterprises.

Our research

Experts from our department are publishing regularly in the most highly ranked international journals.

Our academic expertise and research activities are organised into three broad Research Clusters:

- Conflict, Security & International Order
- Governance, Citizenship & Policy
- Memory, History & Identity

International collaboration:
Many staff are internationally leading scholars in their field. We are involved in a wide range of research activities, including collaborative projects at both national and international levels.

Projects are funded by a variety of bodies such as:

- Economics & Social Research Council (ESRC)
- European Commission Framework Programme
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Stimulating cutting edge research:
Our diversity and the disciplinary mix of political science, political theory, policy analysis, social anthropology, political sociology and others make for a very stimulating environment for students to develop their own research projects.

The integration of our research community is further enhanced through the International Relations & European Politics (IREP) postgraduate group.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/hss/graduate-school/taught-programmes/how-to-apply/

Visit the Interpreting & Translating (MA) page on the University of Bath website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Neil Cumming

2787.jpg “I knew embarrassingly little about the practicalities of interpreting when I applied to study at Bath, but was attracted by the programme’s reputation and the enthusiasm of the teaching staff. I was immediately certain I had made the right choice. The programme was tough and required a big time commitment, but it gave me a solid grounding in the core modes of conference interpreting, consecutive and simultaneous.

The material covered at Bath was not only varied and interesting, but also, as I soon discovered upon starting work, directly relevant to the often highly specialised subjects dealt with at the UN. Many of the tutors had extensive experience as conference interpreters in their own right, and were clearly willing us to succeed. Aside from practical instruction, both staff and alumni provided an impressive array of connections with interpreting markets around the world. During the programme I had the opportunity of a placement in Geneva, which allowed me to meet future employers and practice interpreting the meetings and subjects that have become my bread and butter. Interpreting for international organisations is a competitive field, but MAIT gave me everything I needed to succeed.”

Neil Cumming
MA Interpreting and Translating graduate (European stream)
French and Russian

(Student Profile)

Katie Nield

2789.png “I applied for the MA Interpreting and Translating at Bath primarily because of its excellent reputation, but also because one of my languages is Russian which is not offered by all programmes. I enjoyed the translation units taken during my undergraduate degree, and wanted to continue with the study of translation in more depth and from a more professional angle. Furthermore, all of the teaching staff on the programme are or have been professional interpreters or translators. They therefore have a practical approach to teaching, are able to share their experiences and offer a valuable insight into the job market.

All students on the programme are offered a placement during the academic year at a wide variety of organisations across Europe. I was lucky enough to go on both an interpreting and a translation placement, spending 2 weeks at the UN in Geneva, and 4 weeks at the International Maritime Organization in London. On both placements I met many Bath alumni, who were happy to answer any questions I had and gave me a lot of useful advice! I would wholeheartedly recommend the programme to anyone looking to work with languages in the future.”

Katie Nield
MA Interpreting and Translating (European stream)
French and Russian, 2014

Katie then went on pass the challenging and highly competitive United Nations interpreter examinations just two months after graduating. Typically it takes 10-12 years after completing an interpreting course to get into the UN system as an interpreter, making her achievement even more impressive.

(Student Profile)

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

3612.jpg Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp completed the MA Interpreting and Translating course with German and Russian at the University of Bath in 2004. Soon after graduating, Ruth was employed as a linguist and researcher in the UK civil service where she added Arabic to the languages she translates from. She is the co-translator (from Arabic) of The Crossing: My journey to the shattered heart of Syria, an account of the ongoing war in Syria by exiled Syrian writer Samar Yazbek, 2012 winner of the International PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage prize.

The Crossing has been described as ‘one of the first political classics of the 21st century’ by The Observer. Ruth commented, “It was a very difficult book to work on: because of the time-sensitive topic - the worsening Syrian crisis - there was a very tight deadline, which was tough with such a complex, lyrical text. But above all, it was emotionally challenging: it is a book laden with heart-breaking scenes, with shocking brutality but also much poetic beauty.”

“It has been a privilege to contribute to British readers’ understanding of what is going on in Syria, and I am glad that Syrians are finally being given a voice internationally. The book has led to other opportunities to translate Samar’s writing, including a comment on the refugee crisis for the Guardian.”

Ruth has run a successful freelance business as a translator and editor since 2009, working mainly with commercial, government and NGO clients, but increasingly in publishing. She is also the translator (from Arabic) of The Bride of Amman, a novel by Fadi Zaghmout and a book she is promoting this autumn. Ruth has a number of possible books in the pipeline for the future, and she is currently translating an academic text (linguistics).

She explains, “One thing I love about translating is that I never know where the next contract might take me. I’d be very happy if the next book is non-fiction, particularly history or politics. I love not knowing what’s round the corner, but it’s reassuring to know that with three languages (Russian, German and Arabic) covering so many countries, and particularly as a translator of German, there is always plenty of well-paid commercial work to fall back on.”

(Student Profile)

Daniel Lane

3847.jpg Graduate Daniel Lane is a self-employed Interpreter and Translator in the football industry. Working with an agency, Daniel has contact with a variety of clubs and football institutions in Europe and around the World.

Daniel graduated from BA Modern Languages and European Studies in 2012 from Bath and went on to complete the Masters in Interpreting and Translating with Spanish and Italian.

“The main body of my work is written translation for football clubs in Italy. This can include translating content for their website into English, press releases, match reports and minute-by-minute commentary for their Twitter and Facebook.

I also provide interpreting services for the same agency in England with football clubs in London. This can involve going to the training ground to assist a player who may have an internal media interview, or an interview with a newspaper, or Match of the Day or Sky Sports who want an on screen interview. I am there to help players who don’t speak the languages.

Alternatively I go to the stadium on match day, or to the charities and partners of these football clubs with players to help those who don’t speak English.”

“I was aware that there was a market for language professionals with my combination in the industry. Coupled with the fact that I was unable to apply to any of the institutions due to my lack of French or German, it seemed the most logical, and interesting, route for me to pursue. I was already knowledgeable about football so it was a ready-made specialisation for my translation work”

“My masters helped me to turn my existing language skills into professional language skills. It has taught me how my skills can be useful. The weight of the name has opened doors for me, almost like a stamp of authority, that I’ve had good training from the University of Bath. It’s definitely been invaluable.”

“If you want to be an interpreter or translator the course is definitely worth doing. Although perhaps more tailored towards a career in the European Union and the United Nations, a postgraduate degree gives you credibility. The training is second to none in terms of giving you expertise. I would whole heartily recommend it.”


University of Bath International Scholarships Scheme - 20+ Awards

There are 75 scholarships worth £3,000 each in the University of Bath International Scholarships Scheme (UoBISS). See the website

Value of Scholarship(s)



These are for international fee-paying full-time taught master's applicants from any country and for any subject area.

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



Graduate School Scholarships - 20+ Awards

There are 20 Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences scholarships each worth £2,000. See the website.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- for international fee-paying full-time taught master's applicants from any country for MA/MSc programmes in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



PGT Bath Bursaries (Home UK full time) - 20+ Awards

For the academic year 2016/17 we have 30 bursaries of £6,000 each available for new UK Masters students.We anticipate opening for applications around late April/early May. We will email eligible offer holders with further details on how to apply once we are ready to open applications.In addition, the selection panel may take into account the following widening participation criteria and information in your supporting statement when making awards, if:- the highest education level of both of your parents is below degree level or equivalent
- the occupation level of both of your parents is between SEC 4-7 (Social Economic Class)
- you are a care leaver
- you were aged 21 or over when you commenced your undergraduate studies
- you were in receipt of free school meals, Education Maintenance Allowance or 16-19 Bursary Fund
- you attended a state school and/or a low performing school
- your gender is underrepresented in your academic department
- your ethnicity is underrepresented in your academic faculty.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- be a Home (UK) student, and
- apply for and subsequently register on an eligible Masters course.An eligible Masters course leads to an MSc, MBA, MA or stand-alone MRes with a maximum duration of two years for a full time course or four years for a part time course. Part time courses must be studied at a minimum of 50% intensity (e.g. a course which would take one year if studied full time may take up to two years if studied part time). Courses studied by distance learrning are not eligible for this scheme.

Application Procedure

The application process will be online, accessible through Bath Application Tracker, which you will have access to once you apply for a course. You will be required to answer questions relating to the widening participation eligibility criteria and provide a supporting statement of around 350 words.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university. Applicants for Path 1 need to offer English as their ‘A’ language and demonstrate degree-level competence in two foreign languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish). Applicants for Path 2 with Chinese or Russian as their ‘A’ language need to demonstrate a degree or equivalent qualification in English. Applicants whose ‘A’ language is English should demonstrate degree level attainment or similar in either Chinese or Russian.

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