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The programme is designed to improve your translation skills, introduce you to a range of translation technologies and familiarise you with the professional contexts in which translators work.

Whether your interest is in the translation of specialised documentation (commercial and technical translation), creative writing (literary translation) or the translation of hybrid text genres such as websites or advertisements, the programme will provide you with a solid foundation to develop your career. Training in translation theory and research methods means this MA also offers excellent preparation for further study at PhD level.

The programme is available to students who are proficient in English and another language including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish and Spanish. Supervision in other languages may be possible, depending on available staff expertise. Please contact us if you need further information on the languages available.

We also offer a full-time programme over one year – for more information, see Translation Studies MA.

Course details

The Translation Studies MA is a degree offered by the Department of Modern Languages. It features a balance of theory and practice which provides an ideal foundation both for careers in the translation industry or for further study in translation.

The distance learning programme features five core modules:

  • Introduction to Translation Studies (in different language combinations)
  • Introduction to Translation Technology 
  • Contemporary Theories of Translation
  • Research Methods in Translation Studies 
  • Professional Contexts of Translation

You will also choose one optional module (see 'Modules', below).

Assessment

All core and optional modules on this course are assessed by coursework, rather than by written examination. You will also complete a 15,000-word Translation Studies dissertation or an Extended Translation Project.

Learning and teaching

We make extensive use of Canvas, the University’s virtual learning environment, and this is where you can find all material related to your studies and also contribute to online discussions.  

Although much of the course is delivered through our virtual learning environment, support is always available. You will have a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor to guide you and answer any questions, and you have access to a wide range of online resources too.

You also have the opportunity to meet other students and academic staff through online chats and discussion forums.

Course delivery

The course takes 30 months to complete. You will study your taught modules in the first two years of the programme - one per semester, totalling three in each year. In the final six months of the programme you will be focused on your dissertation or extended translation project, and you will be assigned an appropriate supervisor according to your chosen topic and language pair.

Learning and teaching methods

The course will:

  • Encourage reflective practice in translation
  • Familiarise you with state-of-the-art technological tools currently used in the translation industry and with the professional environment in which translators operate
  • Provide you with the opportunity to carry out extensive practical translation work with the guidance of experienced tutors so as to develop skills in line with current professional practice
  • Enable you to develop a sophisticated understanding of the most up-to-date concepts and theories of the discipline of translation studies
  • Develop a critical understanding of the social constraints on and consequences of translation, and the differing contexts of translation throughout the world
  • Encourage an understanding of how English and other languages work and how they may usefully be analysed, in particular with reference to its grammar, lexis and discourse, and how such an analysis may benefit you as a translator
  • Provide a practical understanding of established techniques of research and enquiry used to created and interpret knowledge in the discipline, so as to enable you to undertake further research, either as part of your future professional career or by enrolling for a research degree.

Academic community

As a Translation Studies student, you will become part of the Birmingham Centre for Translation (BCT), which brings together staff and students from across the College of Arts and Law with research and teaching interests in Translation Studies.

Distance learning

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

Employability

Graduates of the MA in Translation Studies go on to a variety of interesting careers, from working as translators and project managers for major language service providers, to running their own translation companies, or staying on in Birmingham to do doctoral research. In 2015/16, 100% of Translation Studies graduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

The programme will enable you to develop a wide range of skills and attributes which will be vital in your future career. In particular, it will give you the ability to:

  • Analyse and translate samples of English and other languages, using appropriate methods
  • Retrieve information, terminology and specialised-knowledge from a range of sources, and use them in their translation practice
  • Communicate effectively in written academic English 
  • Plan work effectively, with appropriate time-management skills
  • Carry out research in a selected area, both individually and in terms, and report that research appropriately.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver local support.

In addition to a range of campus-based events and workshops, Careers Network provides extensive online resources, and comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.


Visit the Translation Studies (by Distance Learning) - MA page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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