Modern Languages and Translation (BA)

This new programme builds on established translation teaching within the languages and the very popular Year One translation options.

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/s.
  • A year abroad in your third year where you will be given the opportunity to use and practise the language/s of your choice.
  • 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 Code76D3
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe school typically has185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe school typically receives 600 applicants
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

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

Typical A level offerPlease refer to the major language you will be studying.
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 four-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, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. 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: Sandwich year

Your third year will depend on whether you choose to study translation with one modern language or two.

If you choose one language alongside translation you will spend the whole of your third year in a country which speaks the language you have chosen to study.

If you choose to learn two languages alongside translation your year will be split with one semester spent in one country which speaks the language you have chosen to study and one semester in a country which speaks the other language you have chosen to study.

During your third year your options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school through the British Council Scheme, or working for an organisation or company.

If you choose the study option, we have established exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in worldwide.

Placements for teaching assistants on a scheme run by the British Council can take you to either a major city or a small rural town. This option provides first-hand teaching experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part time basis. Prior to the start of your placement, the British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. In addition, the school you have been assigned to should also give you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live.

The third option consists of a work placement with an organisation or company that works in the language you have chosen the study. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. In order to ensure that your work placement affords you plenty of opportunity to speak your language of choice and provides you with a beneficial experience, such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

No matter what you choose, the year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.

The year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your language skills, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned a year abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may even get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

Final year students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have contributed to our extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with student-centred advice throughout your year abroad.

Studying or working abroad is excellent preparation for your final year and gives you a level of self-confidence and maturity that has proven popular with employers.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Intercalary Semester Abroad-Study Abroad (Spanish, spring)ML009060 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad Work placement (Spanish, spring)ML009360 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad Work placementML009760 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad-Study AbroadML009960 credits
Study Programme in JapanML4006120 credits
Study Programme in JapanML400760 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Work Placement (Portuguese, spring)ML409460 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Study Abroad (Portuguese, spring)ML409560 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Work Placement (Portuguese)ML409760 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Study Abroad (Portuguese)ML409960 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad- Semester Work placement abroad (French, spring)ML609160 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Study Abroad (French, spring)ML609360 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad- Semester Work placement abroad (French)ML609760 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Study Abroad (French)ML609960 credits
Intercalary Year Abroad German - Study Abroad (Spring Semester)ML709360 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad- Semester Work placement abroad (German, spring)ML709460 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad- Semester Work placement abroadML709760 credits
Intercalary Year Abroad German (Semester)ML709960 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Study Abroad (Italian, spring)ML809160 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad- Semester Work placement abroad (Italian, spring)ML809460 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad- Semester Work placement abroad (Italian)ML809760 credits
Intercalary Semester Abroad - Study Abroad (Italian)ML809960 credits

Year four

 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
Translation as a ProfessionML239320 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
  • Teacher

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.