Why study this course
Spend a year abroad
Adventure into a new culture; open your mind to new ideas and experiences while applying and developing your language skills.
Forge your own path
You have the freedom to specialise in any two languages.
Become a global citizen
Respond to demand; learn translation skills that are needed by businesses globally.
Our aim at the School of Modern Languages is to enable our students to become ‘global citizens’. Our graduates are highly skilled linguists with a comprehensive skillset which prepares them to work in a host of careers and professions nationally and internationally.
Translation is crucial in today's globalised world. Multinational businesses and international institutions are constantly looking for translators and language specialists. Our Translation programme provides you with theoretical, vocational and practical translation skills alongside the opportunity to gain an excellent command of either one or two modern languages. A year spent abroad hones your language, the intercultural awareness so essential to translation and builds a valuable skill set for your CV in a job market thirsty for graduates with strong foreign languages.
As well as receiving practical and in-depth language tuition you will be given translation specific skills in areas such as legal, commercial and scientific translation. These skills will allow you to carve out a particular career path and act as an excellent foundation for a foothold in the translation industry.
Our Translation curriculum is in line with standards set by professional translation bodies including the Institute of Linguists and the Institute for Translators and Interpreters. On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of proficiency in your selected languages, as well as a critical understanding of translation in different specialist areas and contexts.
Please note: You can specialise in up to two languages on this programme, if choosing French, German, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese. However, if you choose to specialise in either Japanese or Chinese, you will only be able to study one language alongside Translation. Neither Japanese or Chinese can be combined with other languages.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. If you are applying to study this course via Clearing, entry grade requirements may be higher than those advertised. Typical offers are as follows:
ABB-BBB. If you have grade B in the relevant language A-level you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.
- Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
- Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. If you have grade 6 in the relevant language at HL you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Arts, Humanities, Science and Social Science subjects.
If you have grade B in the relevant language A-level in addition to or in combination with a BTEC you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
M in a T Level in any subject.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Interview or selection process
Each candidate’s profile is considered as a complete picture, taking into account your interest in and suitability for the degree, as shown in your personal statement and referee’s report, as well as achieved and predicted grades. Your ability to present an argument, evidence of intellectual curiosity and your enthusiasm for and commitment to studying will also be assessed.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£1,350||None|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£3,068||None|
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.
Course specific equipment
Many students choose to invest in personal copies of unabridged bilingual dictionaries and reference grammars. While copies of most course materials are available in the library, many students opt to acquire personal copies of set texts.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
The BA Translation and Modern Foreign Language is a four-year degree programme. It is structured in such a way that you acquire over successive years high-level language competencies and the skills to become an independent and critical thinker, equipped for professional employment.
In each year of the programme you will study 120 credits. The third year is a year spent studying or working abroad in your chosen language country.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
This programme allows you to experience more than one field of study by giving you the opportunity to study translation alongside one or two modern languages.
In year one we run two pathways for students; an advanced pathway for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in the language studied and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of the language studied.
The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the beginner’s pathway, and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the advanced pathway.
Students studying one language will also take a non-language module which introduces you to the development of the country of study as a nation, exploring what it has symbolised for different groups at different moments in history. It also explores its exchanges with the world, enabling you to consider its role beyond the national borders. The module will allow you to develop intercultural awareness, and the highly-prized ability to mediate between cultures.
You will also study two translation modules, Introduction to Translation Theory and Introduction to Translation Methods.
The language elements of year two build on the work undertaken in year one, and prepare you for your year abroad.
In addition to language modules, students studying one language will study 30 credits looking at the culture of the language that you are learning in a transnational context. This will introduce you to key approaches, methodologies and critical tools which you can apply to an in-depth study, looking at a range of topics such as culture, history and politics. (Students who choose to study two languages cannot take this cultural module.)
Whether you choose to study one or two languages you will take Principles of Translation Theory and Introduction to Specialised Translation.
Outside of your formal studies, you will have the opportunity to take part in our highly-praised Student Mentoring Scheme, which is supported by Welsh Government. The scheme places undergraduates into local schools to mentor pupils and encourage them to consider modern foreign languages when choosing their GCSE options.
You may also choose to take part in the Student Language Ambassador (SLA) scheme, acting as an advocate for language learning. Following specific training, as an SLA you may get the opportunity to speak publicly at events, sharing your personal experience of language learning. You may take part in a range of activities, such as language taster sessions, presenting and promoting the year abroad, supporting School language days and events, or promoting modern languages at career fairs or open days.
Year three: Sandwich year
Your third year is spent in one or two countries where your chosen language(s) is/are spoken. Your year abroad will enable you to develop your language skills, deepen your understanding of the culture and develop your independence, resourcefulness and resilience.
Your options for this year will 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. 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, work experience, or translational and interpreting skills.
If you choose the study option, we have established exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in cities that have included Paris ISIT, Université Catholique de Lyon, Geneva, Vigo, Barcelona- Pompeu Fabra, or Trieste, amongst others.
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 guide 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 in a country where your chosen language of study is spoken. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly.
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 title||Module code||Credits|
|Sandwich Year Project (Autumn Semester)||ML1240||60 credits|
|Sandwich Year Project (Spring Semester)||ML1241||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Semester Work Placement Abroad (Translation, Spring)||ML2086||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Semester Work Placement Abroad (Translation, Autumn)||ML2087||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Study Abroad (Translation, Spring)||ML2088||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Study Abroad (Translation, Autumn)||ML2089||60 credits|
When we welcome you back to Cardiff in your final year, you will continue to develop your language skills, studying 30 credits of each language.
You will also study Translation as a Profession, which explore some of the real-life challenges and constraints of the translation profession (time-management, managing resources, the need to develop and maintain networks, institutional pressures and competition).
You will have the opportunity to build on the broad base of knowledge and skills you have developed to study an area of research expertise in the School, through taught modules and/or an independent dissertation or Annotated Translation Project as part of the Translating Cultures module.
You will also have the opportunity to take part in our very popular Student Teaching module, an accredited module where you will build on study and workshops at the University to undertake a teaching placement at one of our partner schools on the area.
The module allows you to go into local secondary schools and teach pupils who are learning foreign languages. You will have the opportunity to observe teaching by professionals, take part in classroom activities and generate new learning materials. This in turn enhances your ICT, presentation, preparatory and organisational skills and, ultimately, your employability. Those students who wish to go onto a career in teaching gain valuable experience which can be used to feed into their PGSE application. These students also have the opportunity to take a dedicated (optional) training session for PGSE applications with an expert in the field.
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
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. The teaching covers all the key competencies, and is enhanced by the inclusion of digital learning.
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.
Independent study forms a key part of your learning, and our independent learning portfolios have been developed to provide you with online resources to support your independent language learning.
How will I be supported?
Our BA in Translation and Modern Foreign Languages programme is team-taught, with the programme as a whole overseen by the Programme Director. You will be supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.
All academic staff have designated hours where they are available to meet with you to offer advice and feedback on the subjects that they teach.
You will also be allocated a personal tutor, who will meet with you regularly to reflect on your progress and development across your studies, and to think about how to build on your achievements and advance further. The personal tutor can also guide you if you are experiencing difficulties towards appropriate support.
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 also get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.
A skills development 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 to relevant learning resources, 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.
How will I be assessed?
Feedback and assessment is a priority area for the School of Modern Languages, with a dedicated assessment and feedback lead tasked with ensuring you have the best experience.
The focus of assessment is in supporting you to develop your ideas, skills and competencies, with the feedback you receive feeding forward into future work. We use traditional assessment formats (such as essays, class tests, exams and dissertation) as well as more innovative forms of assessment, (such as vlogs, participation in radio shows, video and audio projects, interviews, portfolios, and so forth). Assessments include formative assessments (which enable you to develop your skills and do not count towards your final degree classification) and summative assessments (which do count towards your final classification).
As part of your skills training in year one, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked and how to make the most of your feedback.
What skills will I practise and develop?
Knowledge & Understanding:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability to speak, write, and understand one or more foreign languages to a high level of competency.
- An in-depth intercultural understanding including specific knowledge of other cultures, allied to the ability to navigate and mediate between more than one culture.
- The ability to translate different types of texts and convey their meaning in a professional manner.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech, in English, and a modern foreign language.
- Applying a range of strategies to initiate and undertake analysis of information.
- Reaching conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of views and arguments, justifying these with sound reasoning and detailed interpretations of source material.
- Relevant and effective research techniques to plan and write an academic essay, using the correct referencing conventions.
- Critical evaluation of ideas and arguments, through the coherent presentation of information and ideas using a plethora of written and oral skills.
Professional Practical Skills:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- Using a range of IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate.
- Resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.
- Communication and critical-thinking skills.
- Working to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time.
- Working as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability to grasp complex issues with confidence.
- The ability analyse complex texts.
- The ability to interpret and apply relevant data.
- Practical research skills.
- Imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence.
- Learning from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights.
- Taking responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.
- Critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice).
- Creativity and innovative thinking.
- Leadership, teamwork and self-management skills.
- Identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments.
What do employers think about this programme?
As part of the curriculum design, the School consulted with employers’ organisations about the attributes they look for in graduates. Employers highlighted the importance of intercultural awareness and the ability to write well in English, both of which are key learning outcomes for the programme, in addition to developing super language skills and the ability to think critically analytically.
Careers and placements
In 2016/17, 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 after graduation they take time out to continue travelling or they go abroad to work.
Our graduates flourish in the job market as our employment statistics underline. Their language degrees lead them into a diverse and exciting range of careers which have included finance, international sport liaison roles, business consultancy, education, health, the media, politics, diplomacy, interpreting, translation, law and teaching.
If you are interested in teaching you may have the possibility of completing an internship teaching language in a UK secondary school in your final year.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.