Postgraduate study

Translation Studies MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Translation Studies

Offering students the opportunity to focus on two languages, in addition to English, the University of Edinburgh is the ideal place to study translation.

Our one-year, full-time taught Masters programme will enhance your practical skills in, and theoretical understanding of, translation as an activity. It can also be completed part-time over two years.

Taught through a combination of seminars, tutorials, student-led presentations and written exercises, the programme encourages critical thinking on language use and translation and an understanding of the factors which impact on the discipline, introducing you to major concepts in translation theory and showing you how to apply them in translation practice.

Drawing on an excellent range of staff expertise and library collections, as well as visiting speakers, we’ll help you sharpen important skills, such as undertaking research and thinking analytically, writing commentaries and essays to deadline, and using a range of resources and presentation techniques.

An official member of the SDL University Partner Program, our MSc draws on the expertise of research-active teaching staff from across the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, as well as experts in Translation Studies.

We offer a wide variety of languages, from Arabic to Norwegian, with the opportunity to focus on two of them, in addition to English.

You will be part of an international community of students and a friendly, close-knit department with an excellent PhD programme, its own seminar series, and good links with the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), as well as industry and cultural partners in the city of Edinburgh.

Combining core courses with optional courses, research training, practical translation, and a dissertation will help you sharpen professional skills while broadening your understanding of issues relating to translation, such as gender, power relations, and religion.

The University of Edinburgh library holds some two million borrowable volumes and subscribes to 'Translation Studies Abstracts' and the 'Bibliography of Translation Studies'.

Resources in the city include the National Library of Scotland, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Storytelling Centre and numerous theatres and cinemas, including the Traverse Theatre and Filmhouse.

Over the duration of the programme, you’ll take two core courses, two practical translation courses, and two optional courses chosen from a wide range of subjects. Each course is worth 20 credits.

The core courses are in Translation Studies, which introduces some of the major concepts in translation theory and focuses on their application to translation practice, and Research in Translation Studies, which will provide you with research skills specific to the discipline of translation studies and prepare you for your dissertation.

The practical translation courses consist of 10 hours of tutor-led class time and 10 hours of workshops with Translation Studies staff per course, as well as an independent, peer-assessed study component. You’ll be supervised in practical translation exercises and assessed on a portfolio of translations.

The final element of the programme is your dissertation, a piece of independent research - 15,000 words (worth 60 credits) - written with the advice and support of a designated supervisor.

Upon successful completion of this programme you will:

  • develop critical thinking on language use and translation
  • understand the key concepts of the academic discipline of translation studies
  • learn to implement the diverse approaches to translation prevalent within translation studies in the form of various translation strategies
  • broaden and deepen understanding of a variety of issues in relation to translation, such as gender, power relations, and religion
  • acquire important transferable skills

Our programme is designed to enhance your industry skills in translation, with practical exercises throughout the year, and a strong emphasis on communication and working to deadline.

We have excellent links with the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and are an official member of the SDL University Partner Program, providing students with the necessary knowledge, expertise and resources to help prepare for a career in the translation industry.

Completing our MSc will also help you develop and refine your research skills, and theoretical understanding of translation, in ways that will prepare you for further postgraduate study, should you wish to continue your career in an academic environment.

Many of our graduates have gone on to work as freelance and in-house translators, as well as project managers and language teachers. Others work within international companies, and some have continued into doctoral studies.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline, plus a research interest or professional experience in translation or another relevant field.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Hephzibah Israel
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4467
  • Contact: H.Israel@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

Those applying with practical experience in translation should provide one academic reference and one professional reference.

Your personal statement in the online application process needs to demonstrate awareness of what the study of translation is. You should indicate the languages you wish to take – a maximum of two – and contact us to check their availability. You will always translate into and out of English.

The personal statement helps us decide whether you are right for the MSc programme you have selected but, just as importantly, it helps us decide whether the MSc programme is right for you. To help us with this, please ensure that you download and complete the Personal Statement Pro Forma, which should then be uploaded to your application as an additional supporting document.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Hephzibah Israel
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4467
  • Contact: H.Israel@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH