Translation Studies (MRes)

Postgraduate Certificate, MRes


Available across six in-demand language pairings: English and one of French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Russian and Polish.

A postgraduate degree in Translation Studies is of the highest value. Not only will it equip you with professional level translation skills in international dialogues, enabling you to play your part in developing a global community, it will also give you an opportunity to fine-tune your communication skills and awareness of the wide range of challenges and opportunities that arise every time intercultural dialogue occurs.

Recent research has shown that the fall in the number of language learners over the past decade has come at a big cost to the UK economy. While we may be able to continue to trade and to develop partnerships with countries, regions and companies whose first language is English, we’ve been cutting ourselves off from large swathes of the new markets emerging in East Asia, in Latin America, and in West Africa, to name but three regions. This trend has had an impact even at EU level, according to a recent CFA Skills report. The reasons for this recent decline in language learning are varied, but the tide is turning as Scottish and UK business and industry recognises the benefits of speaking the languages of truly global trade.


We are proud members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). The ITI is the UK's only dedicated association for practising translation and interpreting professionals. Our membership of the ITI allows us to help you to keep abreast of the full range of exciting developments and opportunities in the languages services industry.

Key information

  • Degree type: Postgraduate Certificate, MRes
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time
  • Duration: Full-time, MRes: one year, Certificate: nine months Part-time, MRes: 27 months, Certificate: 21 months
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr Saihong Li

Dr Saihong Li School of Arts & Humanities
Division of Literature & Languages
University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 467542

View fees and finance

Course objectives

The Master’s in Translation Studies has a strong focus on practical translation and on specific situations in which people communicate with one another across different cultures. We offer the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Polish, Russian and Spanish (available subject to demand and availability).

The course provides extensive practical translation work on a theme or topic of your choice. It is structured so that you can have considerable flexibility in choosing what areas of translation you wish to specialise in, as you build up a portfolio of translations with your tutor. You may also choose to undertake an extended translation as part of your final dissertation and will be given an opportunity to examine some of the key topics in contemporary Translation Studies.

Students on the course also examine some major debates surrounding the opportunities and problems that arise when people from different cultures communicate and translate, through seminars led by experts in the field of intercultural communication. There will also be some opportunity for work-based study and exercises, as well as a chance to develop your skills using translation software packages.

If you wish to study for a PhD subsequently, you have the opportunity to demonstrate you have attained a level that prepares you for a higher research degree. For candidates of a suitable level, there is an opportunity to continue in Stirling with a practice-led doctorate involving translation.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Language competence requirement; a native speaker of or holding a degree in French, German, Spanish or Chinese (Russian/Polish/German available subject to demand).

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Stirling’s MRes in Translation Studies has all the taught elements of an MSc course, while still retaining the flexibility of research-led learning and teaching. This established course has a number of features which will enhance your learning experience.

The teaching year follows the two semesters, which run from mid-September to late December, and from January to the end of May.

Portfolio of Translation: This module develops critical ability and autonomy in applying theories and approaches to different types of translation texts. It will also introduce students to the core translation theories, research methods and approaches in Translation Studies. After that, the students will develop, with their tutor, their own portfolio of practical translation exercises, relating to their own interests. The portfolio will consist of four pieces of translation, each approx. 500 words in length. Students will also discuss and comment on the issues arising in translating your portfolio in a commentary of around 1,250 words.

Terminology and Translation Project Management: This module focuses on introducing students to the theoretical framework of the disciplines of terminology and project management, familiarising them with the practice of terminological research and glossary compilation - both essential adjuncts to the work of a professional translator - and developing the students’ career awareness and enterprise skills.

Cultural Translation and Transfer: You will engage in seminar discussions with experts in the area of cultural translation and transfer, analysing the opportunities and problems that arise when information is communicated across cultures. You will be assessed by means of essays reflecting on a major topic of debate, as well as reports based on site visits to our partner institutions engaged in cultural translation.

Research Skills: Our innovative Arts Graduate Training modules enable students to build up a portfolio of skills that prepare them for academic and professional life. All graduate students will work with their supervisors to select what’s right for them from a menu of activities. For many of our students a key part of these modules involves participating in work placements and work experience with local businesses, museums and film festivals.

Translation with Computer Technology (option module) (subject to demand): This module trains students to apply their theoretical and conceptual background to a practical approach to translation and to address the significant and growing demand for basic skills in translation studies. The module will include translation corpora, terminology bank, machine translation (MT) and computer-aided translation (CAT) tools in the fields of translation memory (TM) management, translation project management, translation of documentation, and software localisation, to exploiting translation resources available on the internet and legacy translation data.

Specialised Translation (option module) (subject to demand): The module addresses the significant and growing demand for specialised translation within human situations and professional contexts, across different degrees of specialisation in a range of subject matters, including business, legal, medical, audiovisual, academic, journalistic, political, religious and cultural texts either from two languages into English or one language into and out of English, at a professional level.

Subject to successful completion of all elements of the assessment in both Semesters, you will choose one of the following as your dissertation project:

  • an extended piece of translation and related research and commentary based on it
  • a ‘traditional’ dissertation on a topic drawn from Translation Theories
  • a ‘traditional’ dissertation focusing on a topic drawn from the field of Cultural Translation

You are expected to begin collating materials during the Spring. The main writing period will follow on from the end of teaching in May, and all dissertations are submitted at the end of August.

Delivery and assessment

You will attend seminars and workshop sessions which will focus on translation theories, cultural translation and transfer, but also on the practical activity of translation. Each semester will also include a site visit to one of our partner institutions which engages in cultural translation, broadly construed. Assessment will include essays, reports (which may take the form of written documents, websites or PowerPoint presentations), and the portfolio of translation.


Academic Year 2015/16



Portfolio of Translation (20)

Cultural Translation and Transfer (20)

Translation with Computer Technology (10)


Terminology and Translation Project Management (20)

Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)

Specialised Translation (10)


Dissertation (80)



Portfolio of Translation (20)

Translation with Computer Technology (10)


Terminology and Translation Project Management (20)

Specialised Translation (10)


Cultural Translation and Transfer (20)



Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)

Dissertation (cont. to Summer)


Dissertation (80)

Recommended reading

You will be provided with detailed lists of set reading, and suggested further works to consult, at the start of each semester, depending on the language strand you are following. The core text that is used by all students, regardless of language strand, is Mona Baker’s In Other Words. A Coursebook on Translation (London: Routledge, 2011). Our reading lists are revised every year to ensure that you are provided with the most up-to-date research in the fields of linguistic and cultural translation.

Modes of study

You'll have weekly classes and workshops led by experts in the fields of linguistic, literary and cultural translation, terminology and specialised translation You’ll also have key opportunities to shape your own interests. Our teaching follows two semesters, which run from mid-September to mid-December, and from January to the end of May, with the dissertation work beginning in the Spring Semester and intensifying over the summer months.

At Stirling, Translation isn’t just about the language-to-language work that you might embark on, though. You will also have the opportunity to attend site visits to our partner institutions, all of whom are involved in very different kinds of ‘translation’. For William Kerr, who graduated in 2012, these visits were a key component of the course: “This course was not only interesting; it was also a great learning experience. On site visits to the Royal Observatory and the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, I learned how versatile translation studies can be within a variety of working environments.”

Study method

Part-time; Full-time

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

In an average week, you can expect to have two six-hour seminars and workshops, some of which will be specific to your language pairing and some of which will involve classes with students from the other language strands. Depending on the activities you undertake as part of our Graduate Training Skills modules, you may also have lectures or seminars to audit, and you can expect to have one-off lectures, research seminars and site visits over the course of the Semesters 1 and 2. In the summer months, you will have regular meetings with your dissertation supervisor and, throughout the year, you will also have access to the University’s state-of-the-art language labs and translation software, e.g. Trados.

Why Stirling?



In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, around half of the research submitted from the subject areas that now make up the School of Arts and Humanities was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent in quality, with over 10% of that research placed in the highest (world-leading) category. 85% of the assessed research from the Arts and Humanities was judged to be recognised internationally. 

Recognising Achievement in Teaching Excellence 2012 - Teaching staff on the course have been nominated for a number of RATE awards since they were launched at Stirling, and the Course Director was the recipient of the University’s first ever RATE Award for Overall Teaching Excellence in 2010-11.

Our students

The course was flexible, fast paced and rewarding, allowing me to gear my portfolio towards my own areas of interest which made the course all the more relevant in terms of my career ambitions. I now get huge satisfaction from liaising with clients, understanding their philosophy, aims and achievements before translating their message into words.

Gail Clark, graduated with MRes in Translation Studies in 2011

Our staff

Administrative Staff

  • Alison Scott
  • Sheilah Greig
  • Lesley McIntosh
  • Jane Campbell

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Our taught MRes in Translation Studies is, first and foremost, a fantastic gateway into a career in Translation, whether you want to work freelance or in-house, and there’s much more that you could end up doing with a qualification in Translation.

In a world of globalisation, criss-crossing travel and trade routes, and multi-lingual, multi-platform media, your translation skills will set you apart from the crowd. Whether you’re interested in developing a career in Europe, or working for one of the many international companies with offices in Scotland and the UK, or playing your part in the ever-expanding, diversifying tourist industry, this is the course for you. 

Scotland’s exports increased by £1.6 billion over the course of 2010 according to the latest Global Connections Survey (2013) and the upward trend looks set to continue. For organisations such as Scottish Enterprise, up and coming translators who can expand Scotland’s business partners and look towards new horizons are extremely highly valued. And our course's five, in-demand languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, Polish and Russian) are indicators of some of these new horizons towards which the country is turning with an increase of more than 14% in exports to the EU, strong growth in emerging Asian markets, and a marked interest in new, innovative areas such as renewables.  And wherever Scottish businesses seek to expand their marketplace, they call on translators to help smooth the path.

Industry connections

Our translation course has developed industry links with the translation profession through:

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £11,900
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Scholarships & funding

A variety of scholarships and bursaries may be available in any given year, including scholarships in the School of Arts and Humanities.

information on possible sources of funding

The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Master's course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here.

Scholarship finder
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