Skip to main content

Translation Studies (MA)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Course options See other modes of study
Select your course start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

This programme offers core training in the theory and practice of translation, working with academic staff, professional translators, interpreters and employers. The MA in Translation Studies is designed to comply with the European Master’s in Translation guidelines produced by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation.


Work in a language that suits you

Work between any language pairing on a programme that complies with the European Master’s in Translation guidelines.


Carry out a placement

You will have the opportunity to carry out work placements, honing your practical skills and gaining valuable experience.


Tailor your research

You will develop research skills related to your specialist area of interest, preparing you for the dissertation or translation project.


Prepare for your translation career

This course is ideal for students who wish to pursue a career as professional translators in the public and private sectors.

The MA in Translation Studies offers knowledge and expertise for students wishing to pursue a career as professional translators in the public and private sectors, or wishing to pursue further study in translation. Training in translation also prepares you for careers in other language-related professions including journalism, public relations and language teaching.

Specifically, the programme aims to:

  • Facilitate a full understanding of the development of the discipline of translation studies and of the translation industry, and allow the pursuit of specialist or vocational interests within a general framework common to all students on the programme.
  • Acquaint you with the main theoretical issues in translation studies, and demonstrate how they have a bearing on your specialist area of study, be that the practical translation of literary, legal, medical or administrative texts, or the academic study of translation e.g. its theory and history, or the complex, cultural transactions it involves.
  • Develop a clear awareness of the problems of understanding and interpretation raised by the practice of translation through analysis of key texts in translation studies.
  • Promote the development of analytical, practical, evaluative, aesthetic and expository skills that will serve to address these problems in both applied and theoretical contexts.
  • Encourage the development of research skills specifically related to the your specialist area of interest in order, as appropriate, to prepare the theoretical and methodological groundwork for a dissertation or for an annotated translation project.
  • 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 political and cultural arguments in the context of translation studies.
  • Explore and promote the development of effective strategies for managing complex linguistic and cultural transactions.

Where you'll study

School of Modern Languages

One of the most dynamic modern languages schools in the UK. We actively engage with a range of stakeholders to promote the benefits of multilingualism.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 0824
  • MarkerCathays, Cardiff, CF10 3AS

Admissions criteria

Candidates should possess or expect to obtain a relevant undergraduate languages degree at a minimum of upper second class honours (2:1) level.

This programme is particularly suitable for graduates in language, translation studies, literature and disciplines broadly conceived to have a humanities focus. Applicants with alternative undergraduate degree backgrounds will be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they possess the appropriate linguistic skills and competences for the programme in the context of the written language test and interview.

Non-native speakers of English are expected to have a recognised English-language qualification (e.g. IELTS with a score of 6.5 and no subsection below 5.5), as the minimum requirement to be invited to interview. Written and oral competence in English will also be tested at interview.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This year-long course offers a balanced combination of theory and practice modules.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Part one consists of two compulsory module, and there will also be a range of optional modules.

Part Two of the course requires either a research-based dissertation of approximately 20,000 words or an annotated translation project comprising a translation of approximately 8,000 words in the source text and 12,000 words of reflective commentary.

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

You will be taught via lectures, seminar preparation and participation, independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, feedback on essays and presentations, and revision for examinations.

How will I be assessed?

These programmes are assessed mainly by essays and examinations. Other forms of assessment include seminar presentations, class tests, reflective writing, Annotated Translation Project (ATP) and Dissertation.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor at the start of the course. You will retain this tutor throughout the two years.

All modules make extensive use of Learning Central, our Virtual Learning Environment, where you will find your course materials.

You will be given the chance to reflect on your abilities and performance through the Personal Development Planning module, available on Learning Central, through the Professional Development module that forms an integral part of the third semester experience, and through personal tutor meetings.


You will be given written feedback for written coursework assignments, and generic class feedback for exams. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Understand how the boundaries of knowledge and practice are advanced through Translation Studies research, and be able to deal with complex issues in translation both systematically and creatively, while demonstrating originality in addressing and solving problems.
  • Demonstrate a specialist knowledge of the latest scholarly research in the area of Translation Studies, as well as show an ability to reflect upon empirical and theoretical issues in a sophisticated manner; demonstrate conceptual understanding of, and evaluate critically, current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.
  • Display a comprehensive understanding of translation strategies and techniques applicable to your own research or advanced practical scholarship.

Intellectual Skills

  • Evaluate translation theories and methodologies, developing critiques of them and, where appropriate, proposing new hypotheses or strategies.
  • Demonstrate an ability to appreciate and offer balanced assessments of arguments and theories, and present the findings and conclusions in the assessment essays and, as appropriate, the dissertation.
  • Demonstrate an ability to evaluate arguments and theories through reflective commentary in the practical translation exercises completed in Part 1 and, as appropriate, in the Part 2 annotated translation project.

Practical Skills

  • Analyse arguments in your written assignments and, as appropriate to the part two assessment pathway chosen, demonstrate a capacity for independent research in the choice and execution of your dissertation topic.
  • Deploy appropriate translation strategies to produce translations, which meet professional standards.
  • Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in translation practice and critical reflection.

Transferable Skills

  • Demonstrate skills of communication and reflection through participation in seminars and through the creation of an independent translation portfolio.
  • Apply skills of independent research and/or practice to small and large-scale projects.
  • Evaluate evidence and sources in the context of a substantial and original research project.
  • Use IT e.g. the Internet, databases, translation software to develop translation skills.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to Lifelong Learning through engaging in the process of Personal Development Planning.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding 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.

EU students entering in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding 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.

Careers and placements

The programme is aimed at students wishing to pursue a career as professional translators in both public and private sectors as well as in international institutions (such as the European Community and the United Nations) or those who are interested in translation as a basis to pursue a PhD in such disciplines as translation studies, comparative literature, cultural studies or history.

Our graduates enter a variety of professions: freelance translation, in-house translation for a large corporation, PhD study, Government administration, University administration, a range of roles in large trans-national organisations such as the United Nations World Health Organisation.


As part of the optional Training Placement module, you will have have the opportunity to carry out work placements, honing your practical skills and gaining valuable experience.


Master's Excellence Scholarship

This award worth £3000 is open to UK and EU students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2020 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


Learn more about our truly global university.

Discover more

Related searches: European studies, Language and communication, Translation