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Translation (MA)

MA | Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
42 (Full Time)
42 (Part Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    The MA Translation aims to:

    • Enable students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the prevailing theories and practices of translation through intellectual and interactive enquiry and advanced translation practice;
    • Provide grounding in the field of Translation Studies, defined as theory and practice, that will enable students both to undertake independent research and/or to work as professional translators;
    • Encourage sophisticated intellectual enquiry and debate with fellow students, academics and professional practitioners, drawn from a range of relevant backgrounds, through interrogation of theoretical models and analysis of practice-based work;
    • Encourage students to develop professional translation skills and/or to theorise within the context of the discipline and/or their own practice;
    • Provide students with a good knowledge of the translation market place;
    • Foster a dynamic and innovative approach to translation as a mode for understanding the socio-political and cultural complexities posed by the movement of peoples and the demands of multi-lingual and multicultural organisations and societies;
    • Equip students to use their writing talents to the best of their ability, and to develop as independent translators and self-reflective lifelong learners.

    Translation highlights

    Professional Accreditations

    • Students who complete the elective module Principles in Community Interpreting are eligible for the award of a OCN Level 4 certificate in Principles of Community Interpreting.

    Career Development

    • Graduates can pursue careers in a range of areas where translation skills are required, e.g. academic, creative writing, translation and interpreting industry, public policy, business and commerce and journalism. The programme includes specialist training in translation technologies and offers opportunities for work experience.

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • You will be taught by staff with research profiles of international standing, with a wide and diverse range of interests in translation and translation studies, including digital and media contexts, literature, travel writing, international development, theatre and performance, hermeneutics and translation theory, histories, education, religious texts, landscape and place, museums, subtitling, audio-description and accessibility. Research in Modern Languages at Queen's was ranked 3rd in REF 2014 for Research Intensity and 5th for Grade Point Average, with particular strengths in literary studies, translation and interpreting linguistics, postcolonial studies, visual cultures, digital humanities and medical humanities. The School hosts several large research projects across all the language areas, funded by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and Horizon 2020.

    Student Experience

    • The Centre for Translation and Interpreting is a vibrant international, multilingual and multicultural research community. MA students thrive in a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere, developing close associations with teaching staff and our large cohort of PhD students through shared classes and weekly seminars with renowned visiting speakers,
  • Course content

    Course Structure

    The degree is structured in such a way that students can deepen their understanding of key aspects of translation theory and/or choose to concentrate on more practice-based activities. Delivered through a combination of seminars, workshops, guided private study, a programme of visiting speakers and appropriate professional practice, the structure of the degree will enable students to work towards both of these objectives, or to focus more intensively on one of them. In addition to the elements for which they are enrolled, students are encouraged to audit as many other elements of the programme as they wish.

    Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

    The MA Translation is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 word research or practice-based (translation and commentary) dissertation (60 CATS points).

    Students must pass all taught modules before proceeding to the Dissertation.

    Course DetailsCore Modules

    Theory and Practice of Translation (Core, compulsory)
    The purpose of this core, year-long module is to introduce you to the main practices and underlying principles of translation. The course examines a variety of perspectives: translation as textual, cognitive, literary, social and political activities that impact the wider context in which they take place. It is based on the assumption that theory and practice are mutually sustaining in that considerations of theory enable the translator and interpreter to make sense of the decisions that he or she takes at every moment throughout his or her practice. It invites you to think critically and reflectively about the community of translators that you aspire to join (or to which you may already belong), and to engage with the complexity and implications of the choices translators have to make on a daily basis. The module also introduces scholarly approaches to translation, inviting and enabling you to develop your own research interests related to any aspect of translation.

    Business of Translation (Core, Compulsory)
    This module is intended to introduce the student to the business world of professional translation, either as a freelancer or as an in-house professional. The course is designed to assist students in establishing themselves as professional translators in today’s international marketplace by introducing them to relevant business practices.
    ModulesAudio-Visual Translation (elective)
    This module introduces you to the translation of audio-visual media including film, television, and live performance. In a combination of interactive seminars and practical workshops, you will have the opportunity to engage with modalities such as subtitling, dubbing and audio description. This module seeks to promote the development of a critical understanding of both the theoretical and practical issues involved in translating for various audio-visual media and relating to accessibility.

    Literary Translation
    This module introduces you to the principal issues involved in the translation of literature, especially prose fiction, lyrics and poetry, and ways in which scholars, writers and translators have approached the reading and translation of literary and creative texts. The course aims to introduce ways of translating a range of different texts and genres; to reinforce the importance of reception and circulation; to discuss the role of translation in world literature; and to consider the systems in which literature is produced, translated and ‘consumed’. It will also discuss ways to begin publishing literary translations.

    Principles of Community Interpreting (elective)
    The module introduces you to the core issues and principles of community interpreting. The module is taught intensively in Semester 2, is highly practical and assessment includes the production of a portfolio. Students who successfully complete the module are eligible for the award of a OCN Level 4 certificate in Principles of Community Interpreting.

    Technical Translation:
    This module introduces you to the main practices and underlying principles of technical translation, specifically legal, scientific and medical texts. It will cover discussion of relevance and usability theories, the identification of terms and terminology, information mining, research techniques and commercial practice.

    The Identity of the Translator (not offered this year)

    Translation and Media
    This module introduces you to key issues of translation practice within the broad spheres of journalism and media as well as internet-based and often non-professional translation practices which have emerged in recent years. Students will be encouraged to explore and practice the skills required for translating a variety of journalistic text types and will develop an understanding of the varied roles of translation within contemporary media. The module will introduce key concepts in translation studies and media theory, including the idea that all journalism involves acts of translation.

    Translation in Digital Contexts (not offered this year)

    Translating for Performance
    What does the translator do in the theatre? What are the opportunities for creativity in theatre translation? What does it mean to work for the stage rather than the page? This module introduces you to the techniques and issues of translation for performance, as well as to ways in which new translators can promote their own work to professional companies.

    Meaning, Sense and Translation
    This module introduces you to key issues in translation theory concerning semiotics and hermeneutics, or ways in which meaning is made and interpreted. Key topics include Peirce's typology of signs, iconicity, indexicality, symbolicity, conceptualisation and evaluation, event schemas, participant roles, construal, grammar as imagery, and metaphor.

    What Else Will I Do?You will also have the opportunity to attend weekly 2-hour language-specific workshops, where students work with a tutor on practical translation tasks with a range of text types. Our Monday Night Seminar Series attracts renowned scholars and practitioners, providing students with an opportunity to become familiar with a range of translation research topics and professional experiences. Students are also encouraged to audit all classes so as to make the most of the available teaching, classroom experiences and recommended readings.

    People teaching you

    Dr Kathleen Kaess
    Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting (Education)


    Dr Neil Sadler
    Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting


    Dr Piotr Blumczynski
    Senior Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting


    Dr Sue-Ann Harding
    Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies


    Professor David Johnston
    Professor in Translation and Interpreting


    Teaching Times

    Late afternoon and evening, normally Monday and Tuesday, and a weekend workshop in translation technologies in Semester 1.

    Career Prospects

    Careers in translation can be both highly intellectual and extremely rewarding in a practical sense. In addition to international organisations, translators can work in a range of roles in diverse companies or as freelance translators working for agencies and/or direct clients. Professional translation skills are valued in many areas of employment, notably banking and finance, politics, NGOs, publishing, libraries, arts venues, management consultancy, law, and jobs in engineering and manufacturing, due to their international client base. Translators are also required in a wide range of other activities and lines of work, including aiding police investigations and other security services, supporting migrant communities, conference proceedings, sports events, and governmental communications.

    Learning and Teaching



    Compulsory modules provide all students with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of translation (Theory and Practice of Translation) as well as equipping them with the skills and knowledge of the translation industry needed to thrive as a professional translator upon completion of the course (The Business of Translation). The wide range of elective modules offered ensures that students are able to direct the focus of their studies according to their own interests and goals.

    The programme is distinguished by a strong emphasis on practical work and weekly translation workshops are provided in a wide range of languages including: Arabic, Chinese French, German, Irish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. They are led by expert tutors and provide an opportunity for developing advanced language knowledge and building a high level of translation competence through hands-on work where theoretical ideas can be put into practice. Students may attend as many weekly workshops as they wish and are also welcome to conduct practice-based research for all assignments, including the summer dissertation.

    Our teaching approach emphasises the development of intellectual independence through regular small-group discussions with both peers and staff throughout the programme. Classroom discussions often build on insights from speakers in our weekly seminar series, giving students space to critically reflect on and respond to cutting-edge research in the field. Other enrichment events are also regularly organised with external contributors to further broaden the range of ideas to which students are exposed; events held in recent years include a special session on Translation and Music, organised in collaboration with the QUB Music department, and a hands on workshop on games localisation, organised in collaboration with a leading localisation firm.

    Finally, our multilingual classrooms also provide valuable opportunities for the development of broader intercultural communication skills. Support for the development of postgraduate-level research skills is provided in regular writing workshops and a weekly ‘Dissertation Forum’ held in semester two, specifically designed to ensure students are well prepared for their independent research project over the summer months. This is in addition to the wide range of academic training courses available to all students through the QUB Graduate School.


    Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

    Critical Essays

    Translations and commentaries

    Research projects

    Reflective log book

    Annotated bibliography

    Research proposal abstract

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a relevant subject.

    A 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may be acceptable with relevant professional experience. Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours degree standard may be considered if they can demonstrate a minimum of three years’ relevant professional experience. The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit for more information. If you would like further informal advice, please contact course convenor Professor David Johnston at .

    All applicants wishing to take language components of the programme must demonstrate a high level of foreign-language proficiency.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £6,450
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,450
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,250
    EU Other 3 £17,700
    International £17,700

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

    2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Translation costs

    There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus