The Translation Studies MA is an interdisciplinary degree offered between the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of English. Accredited by the EMT Network, this programme is designed to:
- Encourage reflective practice in translation
- Familiarise you with state-of-the-art technological tools currently used in the translation industry and with the professional environment in which translators operate
- Provide you with the opportunity to carry out extensive practical translation work with the guidance of experienced tutors so as to develop skills in line with current professional practice
- Enable you to develop a sophisticated understanding of the most up-to-date concepts and theories of the discipline of translation studies
- Develop a critical understanding of the social constraints on and consequences of translation, and the differing contexts of translation throughout the world
- Encourage an understanding of how English and other languages work and how they may usefully be analysed, in particular with reference to its grammar, lexis and discourse, and how such an analysis may benefit you as a translator
- Provide a practical understanding of established techniques of research and enquiry used to created and interpret knowledge in the discipline, so as to enable you to undertake further research, either as part of your future professional career or by enrolling for a research degree.
The programme is available to students who are proficient in English and one of the following languages: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Russian. (For further details, please see 'entry requirements' below).
The core programme content offers ample opportunity for translation practice. You will study four core modules [full descriptions available below]:
- Introduction to Translation
- Practical Translation (language combinations as above)
- Specialised Translation (language combinations as above)
- Research Methods
You will also complete a Translation Studies dissertation or an Extended Translation Project (15,000 words).
You will also choose three modules from a range of options [see 'Modules', below].
In addition, there are two non-assessed components in the programme:
- All students will take a short course – Introduction to the Bank of English – which introduces you to the 400 million-word Cobuild Bank of English corpus, an invaluable collection of authentic language data against which theory, intuition and pedagogic materials can be measured
- You may also take a course in Academic Writing. Those whose first language is not English are particularly encouraged to follow this course.
You will study four core modules:
Introduction to Translation
This module introduces the most significant theoretical and practical aspects of translation, focusing on translation as a profession and in relation to social and cultural contexts. It is designed to challenge your ideas of what a translation is or should be and to think creatively and responsibly about your professional practice as translators.
This module aims to provide you with solid training in translating in your chosen language pair. You will learn how to undertake detailed, critical analysis of texts in the source language and to identify appropriate translation strategies and procedures. You will work on a range of general text-types (such as current affairs), practising techniques such as rephrasing, restructuring and post-editing. You will also learn how to use and integrate a range of software and translator resources into your assignments in a manner which reflects professional practice (e.g. text processing, spell and grammar check, mono- and bilingual dictionaries, internet resources such as terminology banks and parallel texts). You will have the opportunity to practise translation in both directions.
This module will focus on the translation of semi-specialised texts from areas such as technology, business, literature, science, social science, advertising, tourism and law. You will practise techniques such as glossary-building, drafting, summarising, revising, editing and proofreading. The module will also provide guidance on information sources and research relevant to semi-specialised translation in your chosen language pair. You will have the opportunity to practise translation in both directions.
This module trains you in the methods and approaches to research in Applied Linguistics in general, with sessions focusing specifically on Translation Research.
You will also choose three optional modules from a range which includes:
This module is designed to provide you with hands-on experience of a range of technologies applied to the study and practice of translation. Topics include: using the Internet to search for terminology and comparable and parallel texts; using translation forums and other specialised translation resources / websites; using translation memories; localisation tools; machine translation; multilingual corpus analysis as a translation aid / resource in translation research; and keystroke logging as a translation research tool.
Translation in a Professional Context
The aim of this module is to simulate a realistic professional environment for you to engage in an actual translation project by working in groups and setting up your own translation company. You will be asked to meet regularly to create the company, along with a website, email address, etc. You will then contact a client, negotiate with them, secure a translation commission and deliver a translation. Note that the quality of the translation you will produce will not be assessed, but you will need to reflect on the translation process in your assessment.
You will attend seminars about different aspects of the translation profession in addition to practical workshops where you will get hands-on experience. Topics covered will include: overview of languages and services industry; professional organisations; working as a freelance/in-house translator; setting up a translation company; client relations; conceptual and terminological research; translation (and localisation) of a wide range of texts, such as websites, advertisements, corporate annual reports and official and institutional documents; and quality control.
Contemporary Translation Theory
This module considers the problems faced by translators from a theoretical point of view. It examines current theoretical thinking in the field of Translation Studies, including cultural theories, sociological theories, political approaches, among others. The module emphasises the role and position of translation (and translators) in processes of identity construction, language/cultural planning, and in the spread of political and religious ideologies.
Topics covered will include: translation as difference; polysystem theory and lesser-translated languages; intersemiotic translation; translation and gender; translation and relevance theory; translation and globalisation; and news translation.
Translation and Literary Markets
This module will encourage you to investigate and reflect upon the function of the translated text as a cultural product in modern and contemporary book markets. It will encompass theoretical approaches such as systems theory, sociology of translation and reception studies, and will trace the development of modern notions of ‘world literature’ from the eighteenth century onwards. You will apply this framework to a range of topics such as: the presence of translated literature in global translation markets and in the British and European publishing sectors; the history and current functioning of international world literature series’ such as Penguin Classics and Oxford World’s Classics; and practices of reviewing translations in the mainstream cultural press.
Corpus Linguistics for Translators
The module is designed to offer you a comprehensive conceptual understanding of corpus linguistics as a research methodology as well as practical understanding of the use of corpora and corpus-analysis tools both as research methods and as translation aids. Hands on sessions will familiarise students with state-of-the art technology to compile translational corpora and to use such corpora in order to analyze language and find answers to translation problems and to develop resources.
Languages available include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish and Spanish. Please note – if you are interested in this option, please contact the programme convenors as early as possible as you will need to register for these modules before the start of the academic year.
This can be taken in an additional language to that chosen for your core module; module description as above.
This can be taken in an additional language to that chosen for your core module; module description as above.
In today’s ‘global world’, it is necessary to communicate successfully across cultural boundaries of languages, styles and values. The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the major issues in the area of Intercultural Communication, with particular reference to developments in the last 25 years. In attempting to address such questions, we will hope to draw upon the variety of students’ cultural backgrounds as a basis for discussion and contrastive analysis. There will be some scope for negotiating content in response to students’ interests, but some of the topics we might explore include: culture: definitions and dimensions; stereotyping the other (and the self?); culture and communication; identity and ‘cultures within cultures’; intercultural mediation; and language(s), discourse(s) and globalisation(s).
This module provides a grounding in the analysis of the lexis and grammar of English. You will be introduced to essential concepts and terminology in the field, and gain practice in analysing naturally-occurring language using the models (NB Systemic-Functional Grammar) discussed. There is some emphasis on the application of such analysis to the study of language in social context.
Discourse, Culture and Communication
This module explores the interaction between discourse and ‘culture’. Various definitions of ‘culture’ are outlined in relation to other theoretical concepts (e.g. ideology), and you will be introduced to models of analysis for spoken and written discourse. These models are applied to sample texts, with a view to examining issues and problems of communication within and across cultural boundaries. You will be encouraged to explore the relevance of approaches to discourse and ‘culture’ to professional contexts.
Please note that availability of optional modules may vary from year to year.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:
Home/EU: £6,840 full-time; £3,420 part-time
Overseas: £14,140 full-time
For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.
Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students
Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme
For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.