Specialised Translation MA

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UKPASS code: 004428 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time

Start: 17 September 2015
Duration: 1 year

Location: Central London
Campus: Regent

All prices quoted are for the academic year 2015/16 only. Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £6,000.00
Overseas: £11,500.00

View course-specific entry requirements

You should have a first degree in modern languages or another subject. Mature linguists without a degree, but with sufficient experience in translation, are invited to apply. We will interview you in person or on the telephone and set you two translation tests to check your language competence. The course is only suitable for those whose first language is English.

View standard entry requirements

The Specialised Translation MA is open to native and non-native speakers of English, who combine English with any of the following languages: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish or Spanish. If you are a native speaker of English, you can elect to study translation with one or two of the above source languages. If you are a non-native speaker of English, you will study translation both from English into your first language and from your first language into English.

The Specialised Translation MA will prepare you for a career in the translation market. Building on your existing language skills, you will learn how to research specialised subjects to produce commercially usable translations of specialised technical and institutional texts, applying insights drawn from the study of linguistics and translation theory as well as from professional practice. You will complete a Translation Project or a Research Thesis. You will also be able to choose from a range of option modules that will, for example, give you an introduction to editing and revision, audiovisual translation, or computer-assisted translation, or enable you to acquire a working knowledge of another language for translation purposes.

You will be able to benefit from our wide range of resources, including an extensive collection of volumes and electronic materials in our library, specialised software applications, and additional resources made available through the University's Virtual Learning Environment. Our teaching staff include full and part-time lecturers, all with professional expertise in translation and other specialist fields. You will be allocated a personal tutor and be given academic guidance by the course team.

Logo of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting Elia Exchange logo

The University of Westminster is a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and Elia Exchange.

Course content

The course emphasis is on practical training in translation, developing your skills to a high level and learning about the professional environment. If you are a native speaker of English, your core modules will involve translation from either one or two main source languages, chosen from Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. If you are a native speaker of Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish or Spanish, your core modules will cover translation from and into your native language (commonly referred to as your 'first' or 'main' language). All students will translate institutional texts (such as economic, political, legal and EU texts) and technical material, and learn new relevant skills through the option modules. You will also complete a research-based MA Thesis or an MA Translation Project (an extended translation with a preface and annotations).Your studies are further supported by blended learning provision on developing your professionalism, weekly lectures on the theoretical concepts and principles of translation, introductory workshops to a range of translation memory tools, and guest lectures and workshops delivered by external speakers from industry and international institutions.

Core modules

Main Language Institutional Translation (into your first language)*

You will be introduced to specialist texts of the kind you will be expected to handle in a professional context. These will cover international and government institutions, as well as the fields of economics, finance, business, politics and law.

Main Language Technical Translation (into your first language)*

You will be introduced to a wide range of specialist texts relating to technology and science of the kind you will be expected to handle in a professional context.

*Native speakers of English studying the course with two foreign languages will take the core Main Language Translation modules in both languages of study. Native speakers of English studying the course with one foreign language will take Editing: Principles and Practices and Computer-assisted Translation (see option modules below) as additional core modules and choose their option modules from the remaining range of options.

Second Language Technical Translation and Second Language Institutional Translation (Native speakers of Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish or Spanish only)

These modules differ from the Main Language modules only in that you will be translating into English as a second language for information purposes.

MA Translation Project or MA Thesis

The MA Translation Project is a 6,000-8,000-word extended translation into your native language on a subject of your choice, accompanied by a preface and a set of annotations on the translation challenges involved. Preparation for writing the preface and annotations will be provided by a series of lectures throughout the course. The MA Thesis is a piece of scholarly research, 12,000-15,000 words long, into a translation-related topic. You will attend regular research methodology and work-in-progress sessions. You will also receive individual supervision for the Translation Project or Thesis. 

Option modules

Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT)

The CAT module will introduce you to the basic features of computer-assisted translation (translation memory and machine translation), and provide practical experience of some common tools currently available. N.B. For native speakers of English studying translation with one source language only, this module is core. You will choose your option modules from the range of non-core options for your pathway.

Editing: Principles and Practice

This module will introduce you to the
 skills of translation criticism and quality reporting, translation editing and revision, post-editing and proof reading. N.B. For native speakers of English studying translation with one source language only, this module is core. You will choose your option modules from the range of non-core options for your pathway.

Intercultural Communication

You will be introduced to the different theories of the nature of cross-cultural interaction and of intercultural competence. The module also looks closely at the application of these theories to specific issues in professional contexts, such as translation, cross-cultural skills and knowledge transfer, and the cross-cultural implications of globalisation.

Introduction to Audiovisual Translation

The module will introduce you to the subject of audiovisual translation and includes hands-on translation experience and training in how to use subtitling software.


This module will cover concepts and issues in sociolinguistics, such as class, gender, ethnicity, multilingual communities, language variation, choice, planning, change, decline and death, and language in face-to-face interaction.

Subsidiary Language (languages subject to annual confirmation)

Over the year, you will be introduced gradually to a language that is cognate with your main language. You will gain an overview of the language based on grammar and syntax, and source language texts. As the year progresses, you will learn to translate graded technical and non-technical texts.

Translating Cultures

This module opens up the understanding of 'translation' to include the transmission and interpretation of values, beliefs, histories and narratives not only across linguistic, cultural or geographical boundaries, but also, for example, from one medium or time period to another. By reading the works of key theorists from around the world in the intersecting fields of translation and cultural studies, the module aims to enhance students' understanding of how historical and contemporary cultural interactions can be examined through a translational paradigm.

United Nations and European Union for Linguists

This module will equip you with a detailed knowledge and understanding
 of the structures and functioning of the UN and EU. In particular, it aims to explain the role of the main institutions of the UN and EU and their interaction with national governments, and the role of professional linguists in these processes.

Analysing Spoken and written Discourse

This module will introduce you to the theories of genre and discourse analysis; audience design, purpose and style; rhetoric and persuasion; text-types, text structures, and grammatical and lexical features. Texts are selected from a wide range of sources, typifying different styles, levels of formality, registers, audiences, purposes and specialisations.


Associated careers

Graduates of the Specialised Translation MA have gone on to work as in-house translators within industry, commerce, international organisations and translation companies, as freelance translators, as translation project managers, or as editors, revisers, proofreaders, terminologists, or specialists in translation tools. 

Length of course

One-year, full-time or two-year, part-time with daytime attendance


Central London (Regent)


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. We place as much emphasis on gaining skills relevant to the workplace as on learning the academic discipline that you are studying.

Obtaining a placement, part-time or vacation job while you study will provide you with extra cash and help you demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for.

In London, there is a plentiful supply of part-time work - most students at the University of Westminster work part-time (or full-time during vacations) to help support their studies.

Visit the employability section on our site

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation. You can use our comprehensive Online Vacancy Service to find part-time, placement, voluntary and graduate opportunities.

Our website provides comprehensive information covering topics such as events, job searching, CVs and applications. We organise presentations, networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations to help you with your career planning.

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We offer support for students and recent graduates to obtain volunteer placements and also for those interested in developing their enterprise skills.

We can help you to:

  • Find part-time / vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
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  • Identify your career options
  • Market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and interviews.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre

Career options in your subject area

We offer targeted careers information for this course. View the range of careers options that are available to you after you graduate:

Visit the Career Development Centre's 'finding work in your subject area'

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Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support including subject specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

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If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.


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Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

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With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Julia Buckingham – MA in Technical and Specialised Translation

After finishing her undergraduate degree in French and Spanish at Oxford, Julia felt she needed a Master’s degree to be successful as a professional translator. The course at Westminster was recommended to her as one of the best in the country focusing on practical aspects and developing a variety of links with the industry.

Shortly after completing her MA in Technical and Specialised Translation at the University of Westminster, Julia was selected for a one-month internship with the UN in Vienna and has now been offered a full-time job at APT Transtelex in Putney – one of the leading translation companies in Europe. Languages have been taught at Westminster’s Regent Street Campus since 1861, when the site was used by the City of London College to run classes in French, German, Latin, Italian and Spanish. The Royal Polytechnic Institution located at 309 Regent Street, started offering language evening classes in 1872 and, by 1888, the French course in particular had expanded to include a debating society, study holidays in France and a lecture series.

Today, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures provides students with a flexible and exciting range of opportunities to study European and non-European languages, cultures and societies. In addition, the Westminster Professional Language Centre (WPLC) offers professional language training, including examinations of the Ministry of Defence Language Board, a range of teacher development courses and bespoke language units to external clients. If, like Julia, you are looking for an exciting opportunity to study in a vibrant and creative academic environment in the heart of London and improve your employability prospects, then join one of our many undergraduate or postgraduate courses in Languages.

Julia Buckingham, Technical and Specialist Translation MA

Information evenings

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

Date Title Location
2 September 2015 Postgraduate information evening Cavendish, Harrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent

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About the faculty

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

We offer an exciting breadth of activity across the Social Sciences, Law and the Arts and Humanities. We are one of the country's biggest providers of Modern and Applied Language tuition.

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