Translation (BA)

Translation is crucial in today's globalised world. Multinational businesses and international institutions are constantly looking for translators and language specialists.

There is an increasingly high demand for translation skills in the UK and Europe.

We offer a specialist translation programme which provides you with practical and professional translation skills alongside in-depth language tuition in either one or two modern languages.

Our translation curriculum (in line with the Institute of Linguists and the Institute for Translators and Interpreters Standards) will focus on combining the theory behind translation with methodology and practical skills. In addition you will study core language modules and in some cases, cultural options which will cover a wide range of country specific and general topics, such as European Cinema.

In the final year, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation, which stimulates initiative and can serve as a useful preparation for postgraduate study.  

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • The opportunity to learn translation methodologies at the same time as learning a modern language.
  • A focus on employability. You will be taught specialised translation and professional translation skills which will assist you in pursuing a career as a translator or go on to further study in the field of translation studies.

Key facts

UCAS CodeQ910
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Modern Languages admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerABB including a B in the relevant major language at A level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including relevant languages.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit.
Other requirementsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

This is a three-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year.  

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

You will have the opportunity to study translation alongside two modern languages. Languages currently available for this pathway alongside translation are French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. You will be able to study the languages at an advanced level or one at an advanced level and one as a beginner.

Alongside language classes which focus on reading, speaking, listening and writing, you will start to practise translation from foreign languages into English with dedicated practical seminars. You will also study cultural modules that explore history, culture, politics, economics and society of the various countries.

Modules in translation theories and methods will help you develop an understanding of the contexts and functions of translation. You will strengthen your linguistic and critical skills in a way that directly enhances your translation skills.

Please note: it is also possible to study translation alongside one modern language. Should you wish to opt for this pathway the languages currently available are French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. To adhere to the 120 credits needed in year one you will need to take additional cultural modules if you choose this option.

Year two

Alongside further study of your chosen languages, you will specialise in the translation of different types of texts, such as technical, scientific, legal, administrative, cultural and media, and will be introduced to a variety of translation software tools. You will also continue studying translation theories and reflect on important socio-political issues.

You will look into how translation can shape cultural and political relations between countries. For example, EU laws have to be translated into all 24 official languages of the EU before they come into force.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Principles of Translation TheoryML229920 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Business Spanish IML028720 credits
Spain from 1898 to 1975: Republic, Civil War and the Franco RegimeML029020 credits
Landmark Films from Spain and Latin AmericaML029120 credits
Introduction to Catalan Culture and LanguageML029420 credits
Spanish Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML029820 credits
Spanish Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML029920 credits
At the Roots of European CulturesML129520 credits
Innovations in European LiteratureML129820 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (Japanese)ML229120 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (French)ML229420 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (German)ML229520 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (Italian)ML229620 credits
Introduction to Specialised Translation (Spanish)ML229720 credits
Contemporary Japanese SocietyML259520 credits
Intermediate Japanese (Autumn)ML259620 credits
Intermediate Japanese (Spring)ML269620 credits
Short Literature in PortugueseML421020 credits
Portuguese Language 2ML421120 credits
Symbols of the Portuguese-Speaking WorldML421220 credits
Imaging the Islands: Francophone Caribbean CulturesML620020 credits
Cultures of French Cinema: 1895 - presentML628520 credits
French Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML628720 credits
Business French IML629420 credits
French Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML629920 credits
National Socialism & its LegacyML728620 credits
Business German IML728820 credits
Storm and StressML729120 credits
German Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML729820 credits
German Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML729920 credits
History Of Art From Middle Ages To The RenaissanceML829220 credits
Memories of FascismML829320 credits
Dante: The Journey And The MissionML829420 credits
Italian Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML829620 credits
Italian Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML829920 credits

Year three

In the final year, you will explore the sociocultural dimension of translation and you will see how, in the context of today’s global economy, languages and translation become political tools – in relation to minority cultures, multiculturalism and situations of conflict and migration (please see the work of the Cardiff Research Group on Politics of Translating).

While continuing to strengthen your linguistic and critical skills with language and theory modules, you will also look at translation as a profession. A specialist module will introduce you to the different institutional contexts you may encounter in your future career such as government, media or multinational business.

Through a series of case studies and real-life problems, you will develop your problem-solving skills but also become alert to real challenges of the translation profession in terms of time management, managing resources and establishing and maintaining networks.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Stories from the Edge: Minority Voices from Spain and Latin AmericaML037820 credits
Spanish American PoetryML037920 credits
Catalan Language and Society (Prereq EU0294)ML038120 credits
Spanish Language (BA Languages)ML038220 credits
Spanish for professional purposesML038320 credits
Advanced Translation Practice (Spanish)ML038620 credits
Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
Translation Dissertation/Project (40 credits)ML238840 credits
Dissertation/Project (Translation)ML238920 credits
Spanish Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239020 credits
Italian Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239120 credits
Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
German Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239720 credits
French Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239820 credits
Advanced JapaneseML542120 credits
Japanese Studies Research ProjectML542520 credits
Advanced Readings in Japanese BusinessML543820 credits
Advanced Japanese StudiesML543920 credits
Dépassement de l'art: The Parisian Avant-Garde and the Revolution of Everyday Life from Breton to DebordML630220 credits
France & AfricaML636820 credits
Multimedia AdaptationsML636920 credits
French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 credits
Advanced Translation Practice (French)ML638620 credits
French for professional purposesML639620 credits
Geschichte oder Geschichten? - die Gegenwartsliteratur im historichen KontextML737020 credits
German for professional purposesML738720 credits
Advanced Translation Practice (German)ML738920 credits
German Language (BA Languages)ML739020 credits
The GDR in Literature & Visual CultureML739120 credits
Italian for professional purposesML838620 credits
Advanced Translation Practice (Italian)ML838920 credits
Twentieth Century Italian Women's WritingML839120 credits
Italian Language (BA Languages)ML839720 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Most of our modules consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars and language classes that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for you to engage critically with key ideas and explore the ideas outlined in lectures in a small group environment, usually consisting of around 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. 

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning. A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work. Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor when you arrive. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who will be on hand to provide advice, guidance, help and feedback.

A reading week each semester allows for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad. 

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

Our undergraduate Professional Services Team provides academic and student support for all programmes. The team are located in a dedicated ‘student hub’ within the school and provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have. We also have a dedicated Student Support Administrative Officer within the School, who can provide you with the necessary advice and guidance in a supportive, caring and confidential environment.

We pride ourselves on the level of engagement we have with our student body, giving you the opportunity to express your opinions and be partners in School decision-making where possible. We survey students regularly to make sure we are always working in your best interests.   

Beyond the School, the University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, the Academic Skills Development Centre and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback, personalised feedback on written work and general feedback in relation to examinations. You will also be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

How will I be assessed?

Essays, written examinations and oral presentations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capability to gather, organise, evaluate and communicate relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.

Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work for submission, while written feedback on submitted work feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.  You may also be provided with additional oral feedback. 

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study. You will develop your research skills by collecting and presenting material, and your evaluative skills by formulating a clear, cogent argument and drawing appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • develop your linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of the countries of your chosen languages
  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • develop practical research skills
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development

In 2013/14, 95% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

Many graduates enjoy their year overseas so much that they take time out for more travel, or go abroad on graduation in search of employment.  

Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many pursue postgraduate studies such as one of the School’s MA degrees in European Studies or in Translation or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their graduation, and our graduates go on to secure excellent careers in international diplomacy, the Civil Service, teaching, business and journalism. Other employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers.  


  • Translator
  • Teaching

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our Funding and fees section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Please check with us for full clarification.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will not need any specific equipment.

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.