Life after an MA

Graduates of the MA in Translation Studies go on to a variety of interesting careers, from working as translators and project managers for major language service providers, to running their own translation companies, or staying on in Birmingham to do doctoral research.

Sometimes our graduates launch their careers before even finishing the MA, such as Emily Russell, who jetted off to New York for an internship at the United Nations Translation Services at the UN Headquarters there, and Libby Heighway, who published an acclaimed anthology of Georgian fiction in translation midway through her degree. See below for profiles of some of our recent graduates.

Jack Cater, MA Translation Studies (2015)

Jack CaterGraduate of MA in Translation Studies 
Proofreader, RWS Group

I am currently working as a proofreader in the medical division of a large translation company. My role involves proofreading translations of a range of medical documents to ensure that the target text is clear, consistent, and an accurate representation of the source text. The role gives me the opportunity to utilise the language skills I developed during my studies, while also broadening my knowledge of specialised medical terminology. 

The Translation Studies MA at Birmingham is great preparation for working in the translation industry. Translating texts from a number of specialised fields is especially beneficial for gaining an insight into the many different areas of translation and discovering where your own strengths and interests lie. Learning to use translation technology is another particularly useful aspect of the course, as CAT tools are now widely used in the industry. Additionally, the various linguistics-based modules encourage you to examine language critically – a skill which is invaluable for translation or proofreading work. 

Christa Parrish, MA Translation Studies, 2013

Photograph of alumna Christa ParrishGraduate of MA in Translation Studies
Owner of Christa Translations (

“After completing the MA in Translation Studies at The University of Birmingham, I started my own small translation company in the Netherlands. The MA programme gave me the confidence to do this, as the course offered both practical modules and a variety of ideas for future careers in translation. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work on a large range of texts in class, which ultimately allowed me to further develop my vocabulary, translation style and speed. Learning how to use translation technology was incredibly useful, as I now use the software I studied as part of the MA every day at work. It was also very inspiring to attend talks given by successful translators in academia, publishing and European institutions. What I liked most about the MA, and indeed what was most beneficial when I was starting out on my own, was the support from my language tutors at Birmingham. As well as providing me with their guidance and invaluable advice, I got two translation jobs as a result of their contacts and trust in my abilities. I can honestly say that anyone wanting to be a professional translator would get a lot out of this course and feel a genuine sense of personal development as an up-and-coming translator.”

Pete Lancaster, MA Translation Studies, 2011

Graduate of MA in Translation Studies
Distributor Network Coordinator, Flexi Narrow Aisle

Photo of Pete Lancaster"I decided to do the MA Translation Studies course at the University of Birmingham because I felt that the skills that the course offered me would enhance my career prospects in the language sector. I chose to do the course at the University of Birmingham because I had experienced the excellent teaching and facilities in the Modern Languages department, having already completed my BA course there.

I am currently working for Flexi Narrow Aisle, a West Midlands company that manufactures the Flexi articulated fork lift truck. I am required to use my languages on a daily basis as part of my role in the overseas sales team, something which has now enabled me to gain a language specialism in materials handling. Given that my employer was keen to recruit someone whose skills included an ability to translate their promotional material to a high quality in the target language, the qualification in MA Translation Studies meant that I stood out from other applicants when applying for the job."

Lindsay Irish, MA Translation Studies, 2009

Graduate of MA in Translation Studies
Senior Translator, AST Language Services

“I am currently working as an in-house translator and proofreader for a translation agency in Nottingham and am lucky enough to have a stimulating job that enables me to use all the languages I have learned. As well as applying the translation-specific skills acquired in my MA studies, my work has also involved project management work and training new translators. Business is thriving and there is always something new to work on and all sorts of texts and subject areas to deal with, so there is never a dull moment! Completing the MA in Translation Studies at Birmingham helped me channel my language knowledge into a particular field. The practical experience it offered, especially in using translation technology, paved the way for me to put my expertise into practice. I see my MA as an important transitional step on the way to establishing myself in the translation industry.”