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Translation with a Placement Year Abroad (BA)

Why study this course


Vocational focus

Focus on translation as professional practice combined with traditional modern language training.


The world is your classroom

Spend your third year studying or working in the countries of your chosen languages.


A dynamic experience

Learn from native and near-native speakers, with blended learning and digital technologies embedded in teaching and learning activities.


Extra-curricular activities

A vibrant programme supports your language learning and immersion into the culture, including conversation classes with exchange students, language cafes and student language societies.


Focus on the future

A structured skills programme embeds academic, transferable and employability skills into learning from the beginning.

Translation is a major actor on the world stage. It is also one of the most fundamental of human activities, allowing us to interact with one another within and across cultures. 

On our 4-year BA Translation with a Placement Year Abroad programme you’ll develop the ability to translate and mediate between languages, cultures and communities. You’ll gain high-level language and communication skills, excellent intercultural and critical-thinking competences, as well as an in-depth understanding of the professional contexts of translation. Furthermore, you’ll foster resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.

Our BA Translation with a Placement Year Abroad equips you well for a translation career and for a range of jobs where language skills are an asset. Moreover, by studying translation you’ll acquire a wealth of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the wider world of employment, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of other career paths.

You can choose to study translation with one or two* of the following languages: 

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Japanese 
  • Chinese

We run two programme pathways. One for those with an A-level or equivalent competence in a modern language (Upper Elementary) and one for those with limited or no knowledge of a modern language (Elementary).

You’ll develop your writing, oral and listening skills through a range of learning activities and audio-visual materials. In addition, you’ll hone your linguistic and critical thinking skills by studying our bespoke translation modules, which have been developed by a team of experienced translation and language specialists with rich research expertise and a passion for languages. An integral part of this programme is the opportunity to spend time working or living abroad to experience life in the culture of the languages you are studying. You’ll have the choice of either studying at a partner university or completing a work placement in each semester.

On completion of this programme, you’ll have excellent practical translation skills and be a confident and independent user of one or 2 modern foreign languages. You’ll be able to speak and write fluently and accurately, and read, understand and analyse complex texts in those language(s) and in English with confidence.

* Please note: Chinese and Japanese cannot be combined with any other languages; they can only be studied on our single-language pathway.

Subject area: Modern languages and translation

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

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

ABB-BBB. If you have grade B in a language at A-level you will have access to the languages Upper Elementary pathway.

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.

Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. If you have grade 6 in a HL language you will have access to the languages Upper Elementary pathway.

Baccalaureate Wales

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.

You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.


Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.


At least 90 overall with a minimum of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading, and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 69 overall with a minimum of 59 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

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.

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 a language at A-level in combination with or in addition to the BTEC you will have access to the languages Upper Elementary pathway.

T level

M in a T Level in any subject.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2025 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2025/26 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

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

You should be prepared to invest in some key texts and to cover the costs of basic printing and photocopying for your own use. You may also want to buy copies of other texts, either because they are particularly important for your modules or because you find them particularly interesting.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

The BA Translation with a Placement Year Abroad is a 4-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 a resourceful, independent and critical thinker, equipped for professional employment.

In each year of the programme, you will study 120 credits from a selection of 30-credit modules. Your third year will be spent studying or working in a modern language country. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2025/2026 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2025.

Year one

You’ll combine translation with one or 2 modern languages, allowing you to pursue 2 complementary fields of study.

You’ll study two bespoke translation modules. and will complement these subjects studying one or 2 languages.

The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the Elementary pathway and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the Upper Elementary pathway.

If you focus on one language in your degree, you’ll also study a corresponding module which introduces you to the histories, cultures and societies of the countries and regions where your chosen language is spoken.

Year two

In the second year, you’ll continue with 2 dedicated translation modules, as well as advancing further your skills in one or 2 languages.

You’ll expand your knowledge of translation methods and professional practices from year 1 by examining specialised texts and terminology in such fields as, for example, law, medicine or literature. You will delve deeper into discussions about translation, in academia and beyond.

You’ll also continue your language journey, studying one or 2 language modules.

If you started with 2 languages in year 1 but decide to continue with only one of them in your second year, our programme offers you the flexibility to concentrate on one language only from year 2.

If you choose the single language pathway, you’ll study a corresponding module that explores the world and language of business, or a module that sheds light on the histories, cultures and societies of the regions where the language is spoken. Looking at these countries in a global context, you will develop a more advanced and critical awareness of how these linguistic and geographic regions have shaped and been shaped by other cultures, global developments and events.

Outside of your formal studies, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in our Student Mentoring Scheme, supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. The scheme allows our specially trained undergraduate students to go into secondary schools to mentor pupils in small groups over a period of five weeks.

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 a language ambassador you may get the opportunity to speak publicly at events, sharing your personal experience of language and translation learning. You may take part in a range of activities, such as language and translation taster sessions, supporting school language days and events, or promoting modern languages and translation at career fairs or open days.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Spanish IntermediateML025030 credits
Spanish Upper IntermediateML025130 credits
Mandarin Chinese Upper IntermediateML126030 credits
Mandarin Chinese IntermediateML126130 credits
Portuguese IntermediateML429030 credits
Portuguese Upper IntermediateML429130 credits
Japanese 2ML527030 credits
French IntermediateML623030 credits
French Upper IntermediateML623130 credits
German IntermediateML726030 credits
German Upper IntermediateML726130 credits
Italian IntermediateML827030 credits
Italian Upper IntermediateML827130 credits
Hispanidad in the WorldML020030 credits
The World and Language of Business (Spanish Intermediate)ML025230 credits
The World and Language of Business (Spanish Upper Intermediate)ML025330 credits
Introduction to Catalan Language & CultureML026930 credits
The World and Language of Business (Chinese)ML126330 credits
China in the WorldML126630 credits
The Portuguese Speaking World in a Global ContextML420030 credits
The World and Language of Business (Portuguese)ML428530 credits
Japan in the WorldML520030 credits
The World and Language of Business (Japanese)ML528530 credits
Global France: French and Francophone CulturesML621030 credits
The World and Language of Business (French Intermediate)ML623230 credits
The World and Language of Business (French Upper Intermediate)ML623330 credits
Germany in the WorldML721030 credits
The World and Language of Business (German Intermediate)ML726230 credits
The World and Language of Business (German Upper Intermediate)ML726330 credits
Italy in the WorldML820030 credits
The World and Language of Business (Italian)ML828430 credits

Year three: Sandwich year

Your third year will be spent in a foreign language-speaking country. The year will enable you to develop your language and translation skills, deepen your understanding of the culture and develop your independence, resourcefulness and resilience. 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.

There are 3 options for your year abroad.

  1. The study option - we have established exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan.
  1. A teaching placement - 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 in a wide variety of countries. 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.
  1. A work placement - available to students studying French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, you’ll undertake a work placement with an organisation or company in the modern language-speaking world. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. The school may also advertise suitable work placements. To ensure that your work placement affords you plenty of opportunity to speak your chosen language 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 fantastic 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 is currently eligible to apply for Welsh Government Funding or Funding from the Turing Scheme.

Students who do not have citizenship rights in the relevant country must acquire a visa  in order to work or study abroad. We have no control or influence over VISA application processes but will work with you to support and guide you in your preparations for visa applications and for your Year Abroad.

Year four

In your final year, you’ll study one core translation module, further hone your language skills and follow your interests by studying another module of your choice.

You’ll reflect on translation research and resources, gain training in translation technology and get valuable advice on handling the real-life challenges of the translation industry, such as managing translation projects, ensuring ethical and professional conduct, developing and maintaining networks, and marketing oneself as a translator. You’ll also continue to perfect your language skills, studying one or 2 Advanced language modules.

In addition, you’ll choose one or 2 optional modules depending on how many language modules you study.  One possibility is to write a Dissertation or an Annotated Translation Project, which allows you to conduct in-depth research or complete an extended translation with an analytical commentary. Past topics by our students range from translating medical texts, children’s tales or African literature, to subtitling TED talks, scrutinising news translation and analysing LGBTQ+ themes in translated manga.

You’ll also have the chance to expand your skills base and horizons through optional cultural-historical modules and through a wealth of extra-curricular options. Final year themes and topics may include literature, film and visual culture, history, colonialism and gender studies. The range will vary depending on whether you are studying one language or 2.

Furthermore, you may also take part in our very popular teaching module, during which you will undertake a teaching placement at one of our partner schools in the area.

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

We employ a range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, language classes, and workshops. Lecture content provides an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you with the skills to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop and try out your own ideas. These materials may be delivered to you in face-to-face format or provided in a digital format so that you can study them at your own pace and convenience. 

Seminars are interactive classes that consist of a small group of students a member of the module teaching team. They may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars provide a dynamic environment in which you can explore and critically engage with the ideas and debates outlined in lectures. For example, you might apply specific translation methods to your language pair, benefit from hands-on practice in using translation technology or debate some thought-provoking ideas from translation history.

Our language teaching focuses on active learning and meaningful student participation. Ample opportunities are provided to regularly practise and develop the key language competencies and skills. Classes are designed to expand your linguistic proficiency and enhance your confidence and communication skills in a friendly and supportive environment.

Class preparation and independent study form a key part of your learning. Between classes, you’ll prepare material, evidence and arguments, and complete language tasks individually or in groups. To support your independent language learning the School of Modern Languages has developed a bank of recommended language learning resources and activities, which you are encouraged to engage with as part of your independent learning portfolio. 

How will I be supported?

You’ll be guided through your studies by a Personal Tutor, who is able to advise you on academic issues. If you encounter any problems which affect your studies, your personal tutor should always be your first point of contact. You’ll meet with your personal tutor twice during each academic year, but you are encouraged to get in touch with them at any time if you need help or advice. All academic staff have designated hours where they are available to meet with students. 

During your year of study abroad, you will be assigned a Year Abroad Coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. 

Each module has its own dedicated space on the Cardiff University Virtual Learning Environment where you’ll be guided through the weekly activities and tasks you need to complete. You’ll have access to shared learning materials and resources such as lecture recordings, language tasks and resources, and links to digital resources including the library materials available in electronic format. 

Professional Services staff in our Undergraduate Student Hub are available to answer your questions. We also have a dedicated Student Support Officer within the school, who can provide you with the necessary advice and guidance in a supportive, caring and confidential environment.

Student Life Services, located in the Centre for Student Life, offer a range of services. These support services encompass: Advice and Money, Student Futures, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing, the Student Disability Service, Academic Study Skills and Student Mentoring and excellent libraries and resource centres.

How will I be assessed?

Our assessments are designed to support you in developing your ideas, skills and competencies. 

You’ll encounter a range of assessment formats. Our translation coursework assesses your ability to produce effective and appropriate English renditions of the original texts and to reflect on the process. Group projects and presentations will boost your interpersonal skills. 

You’ll also study the building blocks of the language, including grammatical and lexical patterns and structures. These skills will be regularly assessed over the course of your language modules, which reflects the progressive and accumulative nature of language learning. 

We use traditional assessment formats (such as essays, quizzes, class tests, oral exams and dissertation) as well as more innovative forms of assessment (such as translation portfolios, roleplay-style projects, vlogs, interviews and poster presentations). 

Individual feedback is provided on all assessed work to help you improve performance for future assessments, and you’ll have opportunities to discuss this feedback with your tutors. In addition, you’ll do various practice exercises such as quizzes, presentations and essay or project plans. You’ll receive formative feedback from tutors in order to improve your learning and understanding before you complete your summative assessments.

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

KU 1 Speak, write and understand one or 2 modern foreign languages to degree standard. 

KU 2 Understand the structures, registers and varieties of the languages you are learning and use them as appropriate.

KU 3 Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of translation methods and translation as a profession, as well as applying the knowledge in practical translation tasks and professional contexts.  

KU 4 Use in-depth knowledge and first-hand experience of other cultures, and a nuanced understanding of the cultural, social and political importance of translation to navigate and translate between cultures.

Intellectual Skills:

IS 1 Communicate clearly, concisely and effectively to diverse audiences, in writing and speech, in English and one or 2 modern foreign languages.  

IS 2 Analyse a variety of general and specialised texts, solve complex translation problems and reflect on the appropriate translation methods when undertaking translation tasks and projects.  

IS 3 Apply enhanced linguistic skills and cultural expertise to research information and interpret meanings in a wide range of contexts. 

IS 4 Critically evaluate ideas and translation approaches through well-constructed arguments, presented in appropriate academic and professional formats – essays, presentations, translation commentaries – with relevant evidence and referencing.   

Professional Practical Skills:

PS 1 Use IT programmes, including translation technology, and digital media, where appropriate. 

PS 2 Apply advanced translation skills and practices in a professional setting.

PS 3 Work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem solving. 

PS 4 Demonstrate resilience, adaptability and independence through time spent in immersive modern language environments. 

PS 5 Effectively translate and edit a range of general and specialised texts, following professional standards and exercising creativity.   

Transferable/Key Skills:

KS 1 Reason, evaluate evidence and problem-solve, relating theory to practice.  

KS 2 Research information and interpret relevant data. 

KS 3 Generate original ideas and apply creative, imaginative and innovative thinking in response to identified needs and problems   

KS 4 Learn from constructive feedback and incorporate its insights. 

KS 5 Be resourceful and take responsibility for your own learning and professional development. 

KS 6 Utilise a range of employability and enterprise skills, such as creativity, initiative, organisation, time management, independent and team working.

KS 7 Act as a global citizen, engaging with and valuing cultural difference through practical experience of other countries.  

KS 8 Communicate and mediate across languages and cultures.


Career prospects

Work experience and placements are great opportunities to enhance your employability and career prospects and can help you make decisions about your future career plans. Our Translation with a Placement Year Abroad (BA) programme includes placement learning as an integral element of your degree programme.

We’re committed to helping you achieve your professional ambitions, providing you with the skills, curiosity and confidence to make your mark in a competitive job market. Whether you have a clear idea of what you’d like to do after university, or no idea at all, we have the tools and support to guide you.

Each semester we advertise On-Campus Internships which are summer vacation opportunities for students to work under supervision on education innovation, professional services, and staff-defined research projects.

Our graduates flourish in the job market. Their translation and language degrees lead them into a diverse and exciting range of careers which have included in-house translation, interpreting, the media, travel, finance, human resources, international sport liaison roles, business consultancy, education, health, politics, diplomacy, the Civil Service, law and teaching.

Many also pursue postgraduate studies such as our MA in Translation.

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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.