Translation (BA)

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

BA Translation is both challenging and stimulating and enables you to build the skills required for a career in translation and a wide range of language-related professions.

As a three-year degree, this programme provides an alternative route to studying modern languages. You will be taught by staff with extensive experience in translation in a number of languages. You will choose a major language and a minor language and study professional and practical translation modules together with cultural modules from across the School. At present you may study French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.

The translation modules include Translation Theory and Translation Methods as well as specialised translation and professional translation. The cultural options modules cover a wide range of subjects both country-specific and general e.g. European Cinema. The programme provides students with a solid grounding in language and culture plus practical translation skills to start a career as a professional translator or to enter a postgraduate degree programme.

Key facts

UCAS CodeQ910
Duration3 years
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
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 qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and Related Studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Cristina Marinetti , Admissions Tutor

    Year one

    Alongside language classes in two languages (focusing on reading, speaking, listening and writing), you will begin practicing translation with dedicated practical seminars where you will learn to translate from your foreign languages into English.

    You will also study translation theories and methods which will help you develop an understanding of the contexts and functions of translation. The idea here is to strengthen your linguistic and critical skills in a way that directly enhances your translation skills.

    Year two

    You will specialise in the translation of different types of texts (technical, scientific, legal, administrative, cultural, media) and will be introduced to different translation software tools. You will also continue studying translation theories and reflect on important socio-political issues.

    Among these, you will discover how translation can shape cultural and political relations between countries. For example, EU laws have to be translated into all 23 official languages of the EU before they come into force. You will also learn about the translators' dilemmas and their double allegiance towards their target audience but also towards the values fo the source culture.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Principles of Translation TheoryML229920 credits

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Innovations in European LiteratureML129820 credits
    History Of Art From Middle Ages To The RenaissanceML829220 credits
    Introduction to Catalan Culture and LanguageML029420 credits
    German Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML729920 credits
    French Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML629920 credits
    Italian Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML829920 credits
    Spanish Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML029820 credits
    Spanish Language Year 2 (Ex-Advanced)ML029920 credits
    German Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML729820 credits
    Italian Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML829620 credits
    Dante: The Journey And The MissionML829420 credits
    Business French IML629420 credits
    Women and the Second World War in FranceML628620 credits
    Business Spanish IML028720 credits
    Rhyfel AlgeriaML629720 credits
    Drama in GermanML729620 credits
    Business German IML728820 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
    French Language Year 2 (Ex-Beginners)ML628720 credits
    At the Roots of European CulturesML129520 credits
    Imaging the Islands: Francophone Caribbean CulturesML620020 credits
    Storm and StressML729120 credits
    Bertolt BrechtML729020 credits
    National Socialism in History and MemoryML729320 credits
    Memories of FascismML829320 credits
    Landmark Films from Spain and Latin AmericaML029120 credits
    Miguel de Cervantes, Don QuijoteML029620 credits

    Year three

    In the final year, we 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 but also situations of conflict and migration (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), we 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 careers (government, media, multinational business) and through a series of case studies and real-life problems, we will develop your problem-solving skills but also alert you to some of the real challenges of the translation profession (time-management, managing resources, establishing and maintaining networks).

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Italian Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239120 credits
    French Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239820 credits
    German Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239720 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    Spanish Language (BA Translation - Portfolio)ML239020 credits
    Writing AfricaML638120 credits
    The GDR in Literature & Visual CultureML739120 credits
    Twentieth Century Italian Women's WritingML839120 credits
    Politics and Society in SpainML038020 credits
    Catalan Language and Society (Prereq EU0294)ML038120 credits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    German for professional purposesML738720 credits
    Spanish for professional purposesML038320 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    Italian for professional purposesML838620 credits
    French for professional purposesML639620 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (French)ML638620 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (German)ML738920 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (Italian)ML838920 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (Spanish)ML038620 credits
    Translation Dissertation/Project (40 credits)ML238840 credits
    Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
    Spanish Language (BA Languages)ML038220 credits
    German Language (BA Languages)ML739020 credits
    Italian Language (BA Languages)ML839720 credits
    French Language (BA Languages)ML638020 credits
    History of French LabourML630020 credits
    Y Chwyldro Ffrengig [The French Revolution]ML630120 credits
    European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
    Geschichte oder Geschichten? - die Gegenwartsliteratur im historichen KontextML737020 credits
    Italian MigrationsML839320 credits
    Women's Voices in Contemporary SpainML039720 credits
    European Cinema DissertationML230320 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.

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

    Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 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. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

    Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

    Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

    Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

    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.

    The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

    Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.


    • Translator
    • Teaching


    3 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    Information unavailable

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    Information unavailable


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and Related Studies

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    This programme was developed in response to the increasing demand for translation skills within the public and private sector in the UK and Europe. One of very few undergraduate degrees in Translation in the UK, the BA is uniquely positioned to address the shortage of professional native English translators lamented by the EU and European business. This degree intends to capture the recognised employability advantages of language and translation skills whilst continuing to reflect the academic standards demanded by language programmes at Cardiff University. In the BA Translation emphasis will be placed on theoretically-informed, practical translation skills for students wishing to pursue a career as a translator or go on to further study in the field of translation studies. The programme aims to:

    ·         Promote the development of analytical, practical, evaluative, aesthetic and expository skills that will serve to address problems in theoretical translation contexts.

    ·         Facilitate a full understanding of the development of the discipline of Translation Studies and of the practical translation market, and allow the pursuit of specialist or vocational interests within a general framework common to all students on the programme.

    ·         Acquaint students with the basic theoretical concepts of practical translation and cultural transfer.

    ·         Develop a clear awareness of the problems of understanding and interpretation raised by the practice of translation through analysis of key principles in translation theory.

    ·         Foster skills in the balanced interpretation of the cultural and linguistic contexts for the practice of translation, in order to enable a solid grasp of the practical implications of cultural arguments in the context of Translation Studies.

    ·         Explore and promote the development of effective strategies for managing linguistic and cultural transfers.

    What is expected of me?

    Students are expected to attend all scheduled teaching, including lectures, seminars and timetabled practical workshop sessions. Students will be supported in their independent project through the allocation of supervisor(s), but are also expected to engage in independent study.   

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The programme is offered in full-time mode over three academic years or part-time over six academic years. 120 credits are studied per year (full-time) and 60 credits per year (part-time). Below is a breakdown of the subjects studied each year. If students are beginners of one of the languages they must take 40 credits of language in Year two while if they are advanced in both languages they can take an extra option module. We also offer students the option to focus on a single language in the final year (Single language pathway), if they so choose and do an extended dissertation/project on a topic of their choice. 

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    The School of European Languages Translation and Politics will provide all relevant equipment and materials, including specialized translation software and resources.

    What skills will I practise and develop?

    Students will also acquire and develop a range of valuable generic ‘employability skills’ that are required in a variety of professional environments:

    ·         Communicate ideas effectively and fluently.

    ·         Use communication and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information.

    ·         Use computer assisted techniques for the production of texts and translations.

    ·         Apply academic knowledge to a practical communication or problem solving context.

    ·         Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management.

    ·         Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources.

    ·         Develop the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

    ·         Develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement.

    ·         Reflect on his or her own learning and make use of constructive feedback.

    ·         Manage his or her own learning and the development of his/her own translation practice self-critically.

    How will I be taught?

    A diverse range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the BA Translation. Students will attend lectures, participate in small group language seminars and practical translation workshops where they will explore different types of texts and differing contexts of translation. In year 3 they will also have the opportunity to work independently on a specific translation topic or project of their choice.   

    How will I be assessed?


    The taught modules within the programme are assessed through the following in-course assessments:

    ·         Continuous assessment for language modules (assessing progress in reading, writing, oral and translation skills)

    ·         Language exams

    ·         Essays

    ·         Oral presentations

    ·         Translation portfolios

    ·         Dissertation/Translation Project


    Students will receive feedback on their language progress through continuous assessment but will also receive written feedback on written assignments and projects and oral feedback on presentations and classroom contribution. Additionally, students will receive individual feedback on their overall performance and advice on how to improve their results from their personal tutors through the academic progress meetings system.

    How will I be supported?

    All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and multiple-choice tests. All students are allocated a Personal Tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs, who will schedule regular meetings to discuss progress, provide advice and guidance, and provide individual feedback on students’ performance. 

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

    ·         Demonstrate proficiency in translation practice and critical reflection.

    ·         Evaluate translation theories and methodologies and assess their relevance and efficiency with regard to various translation contexts.

    ·         Analyse arguments in his/her written assignments and, as appropriate, to the assessment.

    ·         Demonstrate an ability to appreciate and offer balanced assessments of arguments and theories in the discipline.

    ·         Demonstrate an ability to evaluate arguments and theories in practical translation exercises.

    ·         Display an understanding of translation strategies and techniques.

    ·         Display an efficient knowledge of translation resources in a professional context.

    ·         Deploy appropriate translation strategies to produce a translation which maintains the style and meaning of the source text according to professional standards.

    ·         Demonstrate a basic knowledge of translation technology.

    Other information

    During the taught elements of the programme there are opportunities to study and grain practical experience in a professional translation environment. Several innovating teaching styles are used in the specialized translation modules, which enhance the learning process and encourages students to be actively involved in structuring their own learning experience. 

    Admissions tutors

    Dr Cristina Marinetti , Admissions Tutor

      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.