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Course content

Programme overview

The MA in Interpreting programme is offered in two pathways: a multilingual and a Chinese pathway. Experienced interpreters and academics will guide you through the main principles, specific techniques and professional requirements of interpreting.

Learning is conducted via a combination of regular language pair-specific practice, multilingual simulations of real-life interpreting scenarios and background lectures.

Our state-of-the-art facilities enable you to practise each interpreting mode in the most realistic environment possible.

You will have access to three conference suites equipped with ISO approved double interpreting booths, a portable interpreting system for training in mobile interpreting (used for museum or factory tours) and a two-way and multipoint videoconferencing system to simulate remote interpreting.

Programme structure

The MA Interpreting is studied over one year (full-time mode) only. 

Language-specific options are paired with English. If you are a native speaker of English, you can take up to two Consecutive and Dialogue Interpreting options (in another language). If you are not a native speaker of English, you will normally take one Consecutive and Dialogue Interpreting option (your mother tongue paired with English).

You can also choose one ab initio language if you wish to expand your portfolio of translation languages.


The programme is offered in two pathways, a multilingual and a Chinese pathway.

The Chinese pathway is offered in collaboration with KL Communications Ltd, an established Chinese communication, translation and interpreting company, whose Managing Director, Dr Kevin Lin OBE is the Lead Interpreter (Chinese) of the Foreign Office of the UK Government and has many years’ experience in providing interpreting services between Chinese and English at the top levels of business and government.

Discover more about our Chinese pathway.

What makes the programme special?

This highly specialised programme fills a gap in academic interpreter training throughout the UK by preparing you to work confidently in all modes of interpreting (including consecutive, simultaneous, dialogue and telephone/video-mediated interpreting), and in a wide variety of established and emerging contexts (including institutional, business, political/diplomatic, public service interpreting) and settings (including traditional onsite interpreting and novel settings of remote interpreting).

This will maximise your flexibility and career opportunities after graduation and will enable you to launch an exciting career as a well-rounded and flexible interpreting professional.

Learning from experienced interpreters and academics in a supportive environment, you will join a programme which covers the main principles, specific techniques and professional requirements of interpreting through a combination of regular language pair-specific practice, multilingual simulations of real-life interpreting scenarios and background lectures.

In the interpreting practice modules you will gain invaluable experience of real working conditions and opportunities for experiential learning and reflective analysis.Our simulations are joined by professionals from a variety of fields who participate as live guest speakers on a case-by- case basis.

The practice-based components of the programme are complemented by background lectures which will help you to understand the major principles of interpreting and provide you with a conceptual and methodological framework for analysing, discussing and justifying interpreting-related decisions.

State-of- the-art facilities are in place to enable you to practise each interpreting mode in the most realistic environment possible. You will have access to three conference suites equipped with ISO approved double interpreting booths to practise simultaneous interpreting according to professional standards.

A portable interpreting system allows for training in mobile interpreting, for instance simulating the tour of a museum, factory or plant.

Our facilities also include a two-way and multipoint videoconferencing system that makes it possible to simulate remote interpreting, with clients and interpreters interacting via video link.

The programme pays particular attention to the emerging forms of distance interpreting, which are an increasingly important feature in the professional landscape. We are the first university to teach remote and mobile interpreting based on research findings in this area.

Professional development

In addition to enjoying regular contact with professional interpreters in your practice-based modules, throughout the academic year you will benefit from course components that specifically address the business and industry aspects of the profession.

Insights into the industry will, for example, be provided by external guest speakers we invite to our Translation Studies seminars.

These include professional translators, interpreters, subtitlers and audio describers; professionals working in public services, companies and international organisations; representatives of professional translator/interpreter associations as well as translation/interpreting researcher.

Graduation from the MA Interpreting will enable you to apply for membership of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI).

In line with our aim to offer professionally relevant programmes, we have forged close links with the main professional bodies: the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL). You can join these bodies as a student member during the course and then become a full member after graduation.

In addition, we work closely with many language service providers and are a member of the European Language Industry Association (ELIA), which gives you the possibility to apply for a work placement with its various translation and interpreting companies that are members of ELIA.

Career prospects

Thanks to our continued emphasis on professional development, you will be well-equipped to begin work as freelancer or in-house interpreter at international organisations, government bodies, universities and private companies.

We also regularly have students who decide to stay on to study for a PhD and pursue an academic career in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Visit the Interpreting MA page on the University of Surrey website for more details!





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