MA Translation & Professional Language Skills

Qualifications and durations

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

Languages offered

  • French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish


Catherine Pollard and Rebecca Edgington talk about the special partnership between the UN and the University of Bath and why our interpreting and translating graduates play such an important role.

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This course is designed to prepare linguists for careers in several areas of specialised language work in which there is a rapidly growing demand for highly trained speakers of English, both in the UK and abroad.

These include translation, editing and revision, précis writing, public service and commercial interpreting and proofreading. The course also covers real-world skills such as translation management and setting up in business as a translator.

Placements are normally organised during the year with the language services of international organisations, government departments or translation companies.

You can find out more about this course by viewing a recording of our webinar.

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 translating are often an option 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.

Course structure

Semester one

  • Editing and revision (core unit)
  • Professional translation (core unit)
  • Proofreading (optional unit)
  • Translation management (optional unit)
  • Public speaking (optional unit)

Semester two

  • Editing and revision (core unit)
  • Professional translation (core unit)
  • Précis writing for UN (optional unit)
  • Enterprise skills (optional unit)
  • Using technology in the T&I Industry (optional unit)
  • Public service and commercial interpreting (optional unit)
  • 15,000 word thesis: annotated translation or a project type

If you are interested in taking the German-only or Italian-only pathway, you will not be able to take the Precis writing for the UN unit (as German and Italian are not UN languages), therefore you will have to take all the other units listed below. If you have any queries about this then you can contact us.

View Programme & Unit Catalogue for further information (this is the current structure of the course).


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

They 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 in:

  • United Nations
  • Institutions of the European Union
  • Council of  Europe

Learning and teaching

Our courses 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, classes and seminars. Lectures are quite formal, whereas classes and seminars involve interaction between the lecturer and a small number of students for study skills and 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 coursework essays, class exercises, translations, projects, oral presentations and examinations.

We also place strong emphasis on developing presentation and discussion/communication skills which, in many units, is part of the assessed work.


We have a worldwide reputation for training professional translators and conference interpreters. This course draws on that expertise and extends into new and specialised areas of language work where there is a great demand for highly trained linguists with English as their first or ‘A’ language.

This course has been established following feedback from a wide range of employers, including the Association of Translation Companies, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and numerous UN agencies.

Organisations are keen to recruit the linguists we produce.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Typically a 1st or 2:1 Honours degree (or its international equivalent). You must also demonstrate degree-level competence in one or two foreign languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish).

English language requirements

You should normally have a mother tongue competence in English. Usually candidates with mother tongue competence will have completed primary and secondary education in an English-speaking institution. Other criteria may be considered on a case-by-case basis, such as bilingual ability.

You should contact the admissions office if you have any questions about your language ability.

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

How to apply

You must apply to study online.

Financial information


Potential sources of funding


You will be further assessed for your suitability before acceptance to this course. You will be contacted regarding this process.


We suggest you apply before the following dates:


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.