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Specialised Translation (MA)

Course Description

The Specialised Translation MA is open to native and non-native speakers of English, who combine English with any of the following languages: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish or Spanish. If you are a native speaker of English, you can elect to study translation with one or two of the above source languages. If you are a non-native speaker of English, you will study translation both from English into your first language and from your first language into English.

The Specialised Translation MA will prepare you for a career in the translation market. Building on your existing language skills, you will learn how to research specialised subjects to produce commercially usable translations of specialised technical and institutional texts, applying insights drawn from the study of linguistics and translation theory as well as from professional practice. You will complete a Translation Project or a Research Thesis. You will also be able to choose from a range of option modules that will, for example, give you an introduction to editing and revision, audiovisual translation, or computer-assisted translation, or enable you to acquire a working knowledge of another language for translation purposes.

You will be able to benefit from our wide range of resources, including an extensive collection of volumes and electronic materials in our library, specialised software applications, and additional resources made available through the University's Virtual Learning Environment. Our teaching staff include full and part-time lecturers, all with professional expertise in translation and other specialist fields. You will be allocated a personal tutor and be given academic guidance by the course team.

Course content

The course emphasis is on practical training in translation, developing your skills to a high level and learning about the professional environment. If you are a native speaker of English, your core modules will involve translation from either one or two main source languages, chosen from Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. If you are a native speaker of Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish or Spanish, your core modules will cover translation from and into your native language (commonly referred to as your 'first' or 'main' language). All students will translate institutional texts (such as economic, political, legal and EU texts) and technical material, and learn new relevant skills through the option modules. You will also complete a research-based MA Thesis or an MA Translation Project (an extended translation with a preface and annotations).Your studies are further supported by blended learning provision on developing your professionalism, weekly lectures on the theoretical concepts and principles of translation, introductory workshops to a range of translation memory tools, and guest lectures and workshops delivered by external speakers from industry and international institutions.

Core modules

You will be introduced to specialist texts of the kind you will be expected to handle in a professional context. These will cover international and government institutions, as well as the fields of economics, finance, business, politics and law.

You will be introduced to a wide range of specialist texts relating to technology and science of the kind you will be expected to handle in a professional context.

*Native speakers of English studying the course with two foreign languages will take the core Main Language Translation modules in both languages of study. Native speakers of English studying the course with one foreign language will take Editing: Principles and Practices and Computer-assisted Translation (see option modules below) as additional core modules and choose their option modules from the remaining range of options.

These modules differ from the Main Language modules only in that you will be translating into English as a second language for information purposes.

The MA Translation Project is a 6,000-8,000-word extended translation into your native language on a subject of your choice, accompanied by a preface and a set of annotations on the translation challenges involved. Preparation for writing the preface and annotations will be provided by a series of lectures throughout the course. The MA Thesis is a piece of scholarly research, 12,000-15,000 words long, into a translation-related topic. You will attend regular research methodology and work-in-progress sessions. You will also receive individual supervision for the Translation Project or Thesis.

Option modules

The CAT module will introduce you to the basic features of computer-assisted translation (translation memory and machine translation), and provide practical experience of some common tools currently available. N.B. For native speakers of English studying translation with one source language only, this module is core. You will choose your option modules from the range of non-core options for your pathway.

This module will introduce you to the
 skills of translation criticism and quality reporting, translation editing and revision, post-editing and proof reading. N.B. For native speakers of English studying translation with one source language only, this module is core. You will choose your option modules from the range of non-core options for your pathway.

You will be introduced to the different theories of the nature of cross-cultural interaction and of intercultural competence. The module also looks closely at the application of these theories to specific issues in professional contexts, such as translation, cross-cultural skills and knowledge transfer, and the cross-cultural implications of globalisation.

The module will introduce you to the subject of audiovisual translation and includes hands-on translation experience and training in how to use subtitling software.

The module will introduce you to the principles and processes of managing large translation projects in an industry context, developing your skills sets to prepare you for a range of in-house career paths.

This module will cover concepts and issues in sociolinguistics, such as class, gender, ethnicity, multilingual communities, language variation, choice, planning, change, decline and death, and language in face-to-face interaction.

Over the year, you will be introduced gradually to a language that is cognate with your main language. You will gain an overview of the language based on grammar and syntax, and source language texts. As the year progresses, you will learn to translate graded technical and non-technical texts.

This module opens up the understanding of 'translation' to include the transmission and interpretation of values, beliefs, histories and narratives not only across linguistic, cultural or geographical boundaries, but also, for example, from one medium or time period to another. By reading the works of key theorists from around the world in the intersecting fields of translation and cultural studies, the module aims to enhance students' understanding of how historical and contemporary cultural interactions can be examined through a translational paradigm.

This module will equip you with a detailed knowledge and understanding
 of the structures and functioning of the UN and EU. In particular, it aims to explain the role of the main institutions of the UN and EU and their interaction with national governments, and the role of professional linguists in these processes.

This module will introduce you to the theories of genre and discourse analysis; audience design, purpose and style; rhetoric and persuasion; text-types, text structures, and grammatical and lexical features. Texts are selected from a wide range of sources, typifying different styles, levels of formality, registers, audiences, purposes and specialisations.

Associated careers

Graduates of the Specialised Translation MA have gone on to work as in-house translators within industry, commerce, international organisations and translation companies, as freelance translators, as translation project managers, or as editors, revisers, proofreaders, terminologists, or specialists in translation tools.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students

Visit the Specialised Translation (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should have a good first degree in modern languages or another subject. Mature linguists without a degree, but with sufficient experience in a relevant area, are invited to apply. We will interview you in person or on the telephone and set you two translation tests to check your suitability for the course. The course is open to native speakers of Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Spanish.

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