MA Interpreting & Translating

Qualifications and durations

  • Full-time MA 1 year (includes 3 months to submit dissertation)

Languages offered:

  • Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish

Students may follow one of two possible paths:

  • Path 1: allows students with English as their ‘A’ language to offer two other languages - from Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish - working only into English.
  • Path 2: allows students to work in both directions between Chinese/English or Russian/English.


Mark Belcher talks about the programme

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This programme is designed to prepare linguists for careers as professional interpreters and/or translators. It has done this most successfully over more than four decades, and graduates are to be found working in language services throughout the world.

All students follow a core programme involving professional translation and simultaneous, consecutive and public and commercial service interpreting or liaison/public service interpreting. A number of options are available in the second semester to allow students to further focus on their translation or interpreting skills.

The MA is awarded for a 15,000-word dissertation/project submitted after successful completion of the taught programme. 

Why study with us?

  • Team of highly experienced professional staff
  • State of the art digital interpreting suites provide excellent teaching and practice space.
  • Small class sizes provide high levels of student and teacher contact.
  • Work placements in interpreting and translating are often an option during the programme and provide invaluable practical experience.
  • Motivated and multi-national student cohort offers a diverse and stimulating learning environment.
  • Students are exposed to realistic training from experienced translation and interpreting trainers which prepares them for work after graduation.
  • The University and city of Bath offer ample exposure for non-native students to the English language and culture of the UK.
  • A number of funding opportunities are available and students with EU languages are eligible to apply for EU bursaries.

Programme structure

European Stream (French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish)

  • Consecutive interpreting (all year core unit)
  • Simultaneous interpreting (all year core unit)
  • Public speaking (Semester 1 option)
  • Professional translation I (Semester 1 core unit)
  • Professional translation II (Semester 2 core unit)
  • Public service and commercial interpreting (Semester 2 option)
  • Using technology in the T & I Industry (Semester 2 option)
  • Dissertation: 15,000 word thesis: annotated translation or a project type

Chinese Stream

  • Consecutive interpreting (all year core unit)
  • Simultaneous interpreting (all year core unit)
  • Liaison/Public service interpreting (all year core unit)
  • Public speaking (Semester 1 option)
  • Professional translation I (Semester 1 core unit)
  • Professional translation II (Semester 2 option)
  • Using technology in the T & I Industry (Semester 2 option)
  • Dissertation: 15,000 word thesis: annotated translation or a project type

View programme catalogue for further information.

Through our extensive network of contacts, we aim to organise placements for all students with the language services of international organisations, government departments or translation companies.

These placements provide an invaluable insight into the work of professional linguists and are valued highly by employers. They are not however compulsory and are not always guaranteed.

Our students have previously undertaken placements/internships in:

  • United Nations (New York, Geneva, and Vienna)
  • European Commission and European Parliament
  • Council of Europe

Learning and teaching

Our programmes are modular, consisting of self-contained units, taught and assessed on a semester basis. As you progress through each semester and successfully pass the examinations, you will receive credit for the units, thus providing you with a clear indication of your academic progress.

Teaching takes the form of lectures and intensive translation and interpreting. Lectures are quite formal, whereas classes involve closer interaction between the lecturer and a small number of students for intensive training in the Translating & Interpreting discipline with plenty of time for informative discussion.

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We also use the software MemoQ for the delivery of the unit, Using Technology in the Translation & Interpreting Industry; this is one of the leading tools in the industry.

Methods of assessment

Assessment consists of a combination of class assignments and examination.


The MA Interpreting & Translating is a highly vocational programme with a worldwide reputation for training professional translators and conference interpreters.

Our graduates have excellent employment prospects. While some have found rewarding jobs in smaller companies and institutions, or chosen to remain as a freelancer, many have gone on to pursue stimulating careers as professional translators and interpreters with major international organisations.

Graduates have worked for the following organisations:

Institutional markets

  • United Nations (Geneva, Vienna and New York)
  • European Commission (Brussels and Luxembourg)
  • European Parliament (Brussels and Luxembourg)
  • Council of Europe (Strasbourg)
  • International Court of Justice (The Hague)
  • NATO (Brussels)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (London)
  • European Bank (Frankfurt)
  • BBC World Service (London)

Private markets

  • Microsoft
  • Talk Finance
  • Sophos
  • Prudential
  • Power Network
  • Gazprom

Some of our graduates have shared their experiences on our alumni blog.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university.
  • Applicants for Path 1 need to offer English as their ‘A’ language and demonstrate degree-level competence in two foreign languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish).
  • Applicants for Path 2 with Chinese or Russian as their ‘A’ language need to demonstrate a degree or equivalent qualification in English. Applicants whose ‘A’ language is English should demonstrate degree level attainment or similar in either Chinese or Russian.

English Language requirements (for Path 1 applicants only)

Candidates with English as their first language are considered if they have completed primary and secondary education in an English-speaking country (other criteria may be applied on a case by case basis, such as bi-lingual ability).

Contact the Admissions Officer if you have any questions about your native/main/home/first language.

English Language requirements (for Path 2 applicants only)

Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.

  • IELTS 7.5 (with not less than 7.0 in the speaking component and no less than 6.5 in each of the reading, writing and listening components)
  • PTE Academic of 76 (with not less than 69 in the speaking component and not less than 62 in each of the reading, writing and listening components).

If you wish to improve your English proficiency before commencing your studies, pre-sessional language training can be arranged through the Academic Skills Centre.


  • Two references are required. At least one of these must be an academic reference.

How to apply

You can must apply to study through the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Graduate School.

Financial information


  • Application Fee of £50, payable during the online application process.
  • Deposit of £250, payable upon receipt of an offer of a place to study (the deposit is offset against your course fees).
  • Tuition fees
  • Estimated Living Expenses including a Sample Budget Guide
  • Cost of attending voluntary placements, including travel, meals and accommodation

Potential sources of funding


Application deadline

Path 1:  European stream (French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish)
Deadline for applications: 30th June 2016.

Path 2: Chinese stream
Deadline for applications: 31 January 2016. If you wish to study on the Chinese stream please do not apply for the European stream.


All applicants will be further assessed for their suitability before acceptance to this programme (you will be contacted individually regarding this process). Interviews will take place on the following dates:

European stream (French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish)

Interviews for places will take place in the UK from February 2016 onwards.

Chinese stream

Interviews for places will take place in the UK and China from March 2016 onwards.


Admissions Officer:
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 3037

Related links

Experts from our department are publishing regularly in the most highly ranked international journals.

Our academic expertise and research activities are organised into three broad Research Clusters:

  • Conflict, Security & International Order
  • Governance, Citizenship & Policy
  • Memory, History & Identity

International collaboration

Many staff are internationally leading scholars in their field. We are involved in a wide range of research activities, including collaborative projects at both national and international levels.

Projects are funded by a variety of bodies such as:

  • Economics & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • European Commission Framework Programme
  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Stimulating cutting edge research

Our diversity and the disciplinary mix of political science, political theory, policy analysis, social anthropology, political sociology and others make for a very stimulating environment for students to develop their own research projects.

The integration of our research community is further enhanced through the International Relations & European Politics (IREP) postgraduate group.


The Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies (PoLIS) is one of the largest departments in the University.

Many staff are leading scholars in their field and are involved in a wide range of research activities, including collaborative projects at both national and international levels.

International and industrial links

  • Our department has links with 22 Erasmus partner institutions, as well as universities in Russia and Mexico.
  • Research students regularly engage in fieldwork abroad, especially in the countries of the European Union, but also in Russia, Latin America and the United States.
  • Students on the Euromasters programme study at two or three different sites in either Europe or the USA.
  • In the case of the MA Interpreting & Translating and the MA Translation & Professional Language Skills, a number of work placements in Western Europe are made available to students in the language services of international organisations, government departments and commercial enterprises.


Our graduate prospects have been consistently ranked among the best in the UK.

Our wide-range of programmes enables graduates to find employment in many different fields. Some examples include:

  • Diplomatic service
  • Media
  • Academia
  • International organisations
  • Multinational corporations
  • Policy-forming institutes
  • The language services of the United Nations and European Union

Many of our undergraduate programmes include a year abroad or placement year. These are highly valued by employers and will give you an edge in the competitive job market when you graduate.


  • Specialist interpreting laboratories
  • Language laboratories
  • Online international TV streaming service
  • Self Access Language Centre (SALC)
  • European Community and European Union publications
  • Extensive local archive collections relating to research programmes in French and German politics
  • Departmental film library


Our Foreign Languages Centre offers a wide range of language courses at different level that students can also choose to follow.

The Academic Skills Centre (ASC) provides Academic English classes and support for international students.