Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Translation Studies MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Translation Studies

I really enjoyed my coursework and the professors – I found them extremely knowledgeable and very approachable. Having been away from university for a while, it didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable, thanks to their dedication to our intellectual wellbeing. With a strong community of students and the support of the professors, I absolutely relished the opportunity to devote myself to learning once more.

Mark Bradshaw, former teacher and now full-time project manager, translator and subtitler at Screen Language MSc in Translation Studies, 2018

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.

How you will learn

The programme combines:

  • core courses
  • optional courses
  • research training
  • practical translation
  • a dissertation

It is taught through a combination of:

  • seminars
  • workshops
  • tutorials
  • student-led presentations
  • written exercises

What you will gain

Across all our activities, we encourage critical thinking on language use and translation and an understanding of the factors which impact on the discipline. We will introduce you to key concepts in translation theory and show you how to apply them in translation practice.

This will help you sharpen important professional skills, such as:

  • undertaking research
  • thinking and writing analytically
  • understanding texts in different genres and how to translate them
  • writing commentaries and essays to deadline
  • developing oral and visual presentation techniques
  • using a range of resources

The programme will also broaden your understanding of issues relating to translation, such as gender, institutional power relations, colonialism, and religion.

Languages

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 can browse the full range of languages offered, and find out about language pairs, on our website:

Community

A member of the RWS Campus-Trados Academic 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 and visiting speakers.

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), and with many industry and cultural partners in the city of Edinburgh.

We are an official Higher Education Language Partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and a member of APTIS (Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies, UK and Ireland), which aims to improve the quality of translation and interpreting teaching in British and Irish universities. We also partner with IPCITI (The International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting).

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

Translation and technology

We closely follow the developments in ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI, and how they might influence the teaching of translation. We also look to the language service industry and professional associations to understand how translators use generative AI and what opportunities and challenges these technologies might pose for linguists in the future.

Given the rapid technological development, the focus of our option course Technology and Translation in the Workplace has shifted over the past few years to include the field of machine translation. The Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools we are using, for example, RWS Trados, now not only include translation memory systems, but also incorporate machine translation as a standard component.

We are also exploring browser-based CAT tools where machine translation is a feature, and we examine the impact of these technologies on the workflow and on the role of the translator.

In our teaching, we currently cover ChatGPT, mainly in relation to the ethical and legal issues it poses (for example, data usage or transparency) with a view to incorporating other technologies as and when they become relevant.

Over the duration of the programme, you will take:

  • two core courses
  • two practical translation courses
  • two optional courses

You will choose these from a wide range of subjects. Each course is worth 20 credits.

Core courses

The core courses are:

  • Translation Studies 1, which introduces you to key concepts in translation theory and focuses on their application to translation practice
  • Research in Translation Studies, which provides you with research skills specific to the discipline of translation studies and prepares you for your dissertation

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

Dissertation

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.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScTranslation Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2023/24
MScTranslation Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24

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 a member of the RWS Campus-Trados Academic 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.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

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.

Applicants must have native speaker competence in any languages that they apply to work with other than English.

Please consult the offered language pairings available on the programme website:

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScTranslation Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScTranslation Studies2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

If you are working with either French or Spanish on this Translation Studies programme, you may be eligible to apply for a Muriel Smith Scholarship. This award covers tuition fees for a maximum of one year.

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
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 1 July 2024

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 November 2023 21 December 2023
2 15 January 2024 14 March 2024
3 11 March 2024 02 May 2024
4 20 May 2024 18 July 2024
5 01 July 2024 08 August 2024

(Revised 19 October 2023 to update application deadlines and selection dates)

You must submit one reference with your application.

If you have practical experience in translation, you should provide one academic reference and one professional reference.

The personal statement in the online application process 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.

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. Our programme website details all the languages we currently offer.

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

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH