PhD in Translation Studies
Gain an intellectual and philosophical perspective on the activity of translation.
How to apply for a PhD in Translation Studies
Before you formally apply for a Translation Studies through the University of Edinburgh’s online system, you will likely find it beneficial to get to know us first so that you are confident we’re the best place for you to undertake your research.
We ask candidates to take the following two steps before applying for a PhD:
Have a look at the research interests and expertise of our staff. Please do take some time to read over staff members’ profiles, research interests, and publications, to ensure that your project is something we can effectively supervise. We are much more likely to supervise a project if it closely relates to our own expertise and research interests. Together with colleagues across our School, the following Translation Studies staff are available to supervise PhD research:
|Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies|
|Dr Hephzibah Israel||Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies|
|Professor Şebnem Susam-Saraeva||Personal Chair of Translation Studies|
At PhD level, we typically offer the following languages, but not necessarily on a year-on-year basis due to staff commitment and leave.
This list was last updated on 15 September 2023
Following our guidelines, write a draft PhD proposal detailing your research project. This will enable us to evaluate the general and specific areas of your research interests, the originality and importance of your topic, and the feasibility of the proposed project within the given timescale.
Please note that this document is not assessed. We request it so that we can offer useful comments on your proposed topic and research outline, and we strongly encourage you to incorporate our feedback into your final application, which you submit to the University via its online system.
Below you will find certain headings under which it's useful to present your research proposal. The headings are listed in chronological order.
1. Territory/ Introduction
The first stage of your proposal establishes the territory in which the proposed research will place itself. This territory can be either
- a research territory (i.e. the academic field that is going to be addressed by the research), or
- a ‘real world’ territory (i.e. what kind of applications or implications the proposed project can have in the world outside the immediate academic field).
In some research proposals both territories can be usefully addressed.
2. Gap/ Rationale
Here you indicate the gap in the knowledge or the problem in the territory. With your research, you want to fill in this gap or to solve this problem. If the gap is in the research territory, it means you aim at contributing to the general understanding and knowledge within the discipline. If it is in the ‘real world’ (e.g. environmental, social, commercial problems), it means your objective is to offer a solution to particular problems.
Here you state the aim or general objective of your study. You explain what the project intends to do, what its chief contribution will be. It is in this stage that you can suggest how to fill in the gap presented in the previous stage.
4. Reporting Previous Research/ Literature Review
Here you can report or refer to the earlier research in the field, either by yourself or by others.
5. Theoretical framework
This is the section where you elaborate on the theoretical approach(es) you will adopt while examining your data or those approaches which you will be challenging, enhancing or refuting. This section is crucial in giving the evaluators an idea about how prepared you are to do research at doctoral level.
6. Data and accessibility
The material you will be looking at in your research will be presented here. This section should also mention any particular difficulties envisaged in accessing your data and how you are planning to overcome them.
Here you specify how the goal will be achieved, describing the methods, procedures, plans of actions and tasks that lead to the goal. At the initial stage of your research, you do not need to put a lot of details here. Yet there should still be an obvious link between the gap, the goal, the theoretical framework, the data and the means.
You might wish to conjecture about the anticipated results, findings or outcomes of the study, if you already have a general idea about them. Of course, the actual results, findings or outcomes may differ drastically in the end.
You can then briefly explain the usefulness and value of these achievements for the domain of research itself, for the world outside or for both.
10. Competence Claim
It is here that you might wish to boast about yourself! You can make a statement to the effect that you are well qualified to undertake this research and to carry out the tasks involved.
11. Importance Claim
You may wish to conclude your proposal by emphasising the urgency or importance of your proposal’s territory, its objectives, or its anticipated outcomes with respect to either the ‘real world’ or the research field.
Here list only those texts you referred to within your proposal. We do not ask for a bibliography, but a references list.
Dr Şebnem Susam-Sarajeva
Connor, Ulla and Anna Mauranen. 1999. “Linguistic Analysis of Grant Proposals: European Union Research Grants”. English for Specific Purposes 18:1. 47-62.
We also suggest that you read the University’s general guide to applying for Postgraduate Study, which includes advice on entrance requirements, writing a personal statement, choosing your referees, writing a research proposal and more.
You can find out more about language requirements, facilities, fees, funding opportunities and application deadlines for this PhD programme, and formally apply to study on it, on the University of Edinburgh’s online Degree Finder.
Get in touch
If you have any queries about the process, or any other aspect of the PhD in Translation Studies, please contact us by email in the first instance.