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1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


Durham City

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Course details

Our Masters in Translation Studies is recognised all over the world for its academic quality, its innovative approach to translation, and its relevance. Our students go on to successful international careers in professional translation and interpreting, academic research, diplomacy, business, journalism, and cultural entrepreneurship. They also go into professions unrelated to translation and interpreting, having acquired mastery of several languages alongside valuable expertise and experience in transcultural understanding.

What do we teach?

Practical skills

As members of the European Masters in Translation Network we specialise in a wide range of languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. In addition, we offer core modules in the complex skills required of translators in the 21st century, including essential technological competences and strategies of intercultural mediation.

Critical and research skills

We teach our students to analyse translation as a profession, an academic discipline, and a wider set of cultural practices. In whichever direction our students choose to develop critical and research skills, our MA helps them to become better readers, listeners, communicators, and thinkers.

Professional training

We offer our students an outstanding range of work placements from which to gain highly relevant professional experience. These placements take our students into the European Commission and other international institutions, into museums and galleries, and into many other parts of the culture, heritage, and creative sectors. Wherever they go, our students blaze a trail for future cohorts, creating a dynamic network of Durham Translation graduates across the world.

Core and optional modules:

Modules may include:

Core modules (60 credits):

  • Translation Theory and Research Skills
  • Specialised Translation (Arabic <> English, Chinese <> English, French <> English, German <> English, Italian <> English, Japanese <> English, Russian <> English, Spanish <> English)

Optional modules* (select 2 to 4 = 60 credits):

  • Specialised Translation Language 2
  • Crossing Cultures: Word, Text and Image in Translation
  • History of Translation
  • Introduction to Linguistics for Translation
  • Translation Ethics and Intercultural Project Management
  • World Literature and Translation
  • Translation Work Placement
  • Conference Interpreting Chinese <> English
  • Consecutive Interpreting English <> Chinese
  • Introduction to Linguistics for Translation
  • Grant writing for Masters students

*Availability of optional modules will depend on student recruitment and staff availability

Independent study modules (60 credits):

  • Translation Studies Dissertation
  • Extended Translation Project
  • Translation Project 1 + Translation Project 2


The MA in Translation Studies (MATS) is a one-year (12-month) full-time or two-year (24-month) part-time course (180 credits, corresponding to 90 ECTS).

The course offers a range of modules so that you can direct your programme of study either towards a training in professional translation or towards an in-depth study of the practises, theories and global impact of translation across history. Students opting for the first pathway tend to select translation projects for their independent study modules and specialised language or language-oriented courses for their optional modules. Students opting for the second pathway tend to select a dissertation as their independent study module and optional modules that take a broad view of translation, looking at translation in practice across cultures and time. Whichever direction you take, you will benefit from the varied delivery of content that consists of seminars, workshops, lectures, group projects, research seminars, and individual tutorials.

An extensive programme of visiting speakers is provided, partly under the auspices of the School’s Translation Research Group and partly thanks to its Centre for Intercultural Mediation. In the past, these have included both researchers and professional practitioners. Such lectures are seen as an integral part of the course and students are expected to attend. The balance shifts from taught hours to independent study or work experience in the third term. As the course progresses, in other words, there is greater emphasis on student autonomy as you carry out work to professional standards or undertake a substantial piece of independent research. During this period, you continue to receive individualised support in the form of regular meetings with your designated supervisor. You also have access to Course Directors and other staff during their office hours.

As well as being members of the EMT, we are preferred partners of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. The CIoL assesses the Specialised Translation examination papers against the requirements of Dip Trans Unit 1 and our successful candidates receive accreditation for Unit 1 of this official test of professional competence. The final examinations of the Specialised Translation modules are externally moderated by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL). Students who perform well in this exam may be exempted from Unit 1 of the Diploma in Translation (DipTrans), the professional-standard qualification in the UK.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have an upper-second class bachelor degree or equivalent in a relevant area.

Students with a different academic background but significant professional experience in translation are also invited to apply. In such cases, we reserve the right to assess students’ preparation for our course through a test.

Students should possess at least level C1, and preferably C2, of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (or equivalent for non-European languages) – in their chosen language(s) – Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish– and in English. In some circumstances, we may require students to provide proof of language competency.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

The tuition fees for 2023/24 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

For further information on career options and employability, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.

Department information

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

We carry out research into literature, culture and language as well as film and visual studies that is extensive in historical scope and geographically wide ranging. Nearly 50 full-time, research-active members of staff supervise and teach around 125 postgraduates (over half of whom are international), comprising 75 students in taught programmes and 50 students pursuing MA and PhD research degrees.

For more information see our department pages.


  • 3rd in Chinese and Japanese Studies (Asian Studies), 4th in Italian and Arabic (Middle Eastern & African Studies), 5th in French and Russian, 6th in Spanish and 9th in German (The Complete University Guide 2023)
  • 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2023 for languages


For a current list of staff, please see the School of Modern Languages and Cultures pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2021)


The School of Modern Languages and Cultures is a leading centre of teaching and research in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hispanic, Italian, Japanese and Russian Studies. The language laboratories have excellent audio-visual facilities and both main lecture rooms and small group teaching rooms are equipped for the increasing integration of film and other audio-visual material. The School’s Open Access Centre is situated in the same building, offering further self-access resources.

Durham has first-class library facilities, with the main University collections supplemented by those of college libraries.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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