Translation Studies (MSc)

Postgraduate Certificate, MSc, Postgraduate Diploma


Available in four languages pairings, one of which must be your native language: English and one of Chinese, French, German and Spanish

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.


ITI Corporate Member logoWe are proud members of the ‌ITI, 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.

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We are also a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). 

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Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: Postgraduate Certificate, MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Duration: Full Time MSc - 12 months, Diploma - 9 months, Certificate - 3 months Part Time MSc - 24 months, Diploma - 21 months, Certificate - 9 months
  • Start date:


  • Course Director: Dr Saihong Li
Download postgraduate prospectus

Dr Saihong Li

Division of Literature and Languages
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK

Course objectives


The Masters 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 with English: Chinese, French, German 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 have considerable flexibility in choosing which 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 dissertation project, and will be given an opportunity to examine some of the key topics in contemporary Translation Studies.

Students on the course 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. The course also includes a site visit to an institution engaged in cultural translation and some opportunity for work-related study and exercises, as well as a chance to develop your skills using translation software packages.

Additionally, all students are required to take a Linguistics module, to deepen their understanding of English and language more generally. And Graduate Skills training is also provided. 

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. And 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.

Learn more

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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. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful 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 Chinese, French, German or Spanish.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 in speaking and listening and 6.5 in reading and writing
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade B
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with a minimum of 60 in reading and writing and 56 in speaking and listening
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with minimum 23 in reading and writing and minimum 20 in speaking and listening

For more information go to English language requirements.

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.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs


2018/19 Overseas £13,650
2018/19 Home/EU £6,300

Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

SAAS Postgraduate Loans

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) is now offering a generous loan scheme to assist eligible Scottish and EU-domiciled students pursuing a Masters at the University of Stirling during 2018/19. Find out more about SAAS Postgraduate Loans

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

Financial information

Find out more about funding your studies and meeting your living costs while working towards another degree.

University of Stirling Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

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 Masters course or £1,000 for part-time study. Find out more about the Postgraduate Merit Scholarship »

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Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The teaching year follows the two semesters, which run from mid-September to late December, and from January to April.  During the summer, students complete a dissertation. 

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. 

Cultural Translation and Transfer: This module naturally features literary translation, but it also considers cultural translation more broadly. You will engage in seminar discussions with experts, analysing the opportunities and problems that arise when information is communicated across cultures in a variety of settings. You will be assessed by means of essays reflecting on a site visit to one of our partner institutions engaged in cultural translation and on a major topic of debate.

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.

Specialised Translation: The half-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 technical, audiovisual,  journalistic and PR texts either from two languages into English or one language into and out of English, at a professional level. It is offered in combination with Translation and Computer Technology.

Translation with Computer Technology: This half-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 cover 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, as well as exploiting translation resources available on the internet and legacy translation data.

Linguistic Structures Linguistic Structures focuses primarily on investigations into the structures of language across the fundamental dimensions of linguistic analysis: phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax. English is the primary source of illustration and example, but students will also analyse data from a variety of ‘exotic’ languages, in order to help them understand the basic principles underlying universals of language structure more generally.

Sociolinguistics: Varieties of English In this module, students investigate language in its social context, by exploring the many regional and social varieties of English, language use across different contexts, and the multifaceted relationships between language, culture and society. Examples are taken from English and from a range of other languages, extracting the basic principles that underlie language choice and language change as it is influenced by society. 

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.

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. One of the modules in the autumn semester will also feature a site visit to one of our partner institutions which engage in cultural translation, broadly construed, and you will be able to select a Linguistics option in semester 1 or 2. Assessment will include essays, reports (which may take the form of written documents, websites or PowerPoint presentations), the portfolio of translation, and the dissertation.


Academic Year 2017/18

Full Time


CTTPP01: Cultural Translation and Transfer (20) CTTPP03: Portfolio of Translation (20) ARTPP01: Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)  


CTTPP04 Terminology and Translation Project Management (20)

CTTPP05 Translation with Computer Technology (10)

CTTPP06 Specialised Translation (10)

LINPP04: Sociolinguistics: Varieties of English (20)


CTTPPD2 Dissertation (60)


Autumn CTTPP01: Cultural Translation and Transfer (20) CTTPP03: Portfolio of Translation (20) LINPP07: Linguistic Structures (20)  
Spring CTTPP04: Terminology and Translation Project Management (20) CTTPP05: Translation with Computer Technology (10) CTTPP06: Specialised Translation (10) ARTPP02: Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)
Summer: CTTPPD2: Dissertation (60)    

Part Time


CTTPP03 - Portfolio of Translation (20)

20 credits from:

ARTPP01 - Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 1 (20)


LINPP07 - Linguistic Structures (20)


CTTPP04 - Terminology and Translation Project Management (20)


CTTPP01 - Cultural Translation and Transfer (20)


CTTPP05 - Translation with Computer Technology (10)

CTTPP06 - Specialised Translation (10)

20 credits from:

LINPP04 – Sociolinguistics: Varieties of English (20


ARTPP02 - Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 1 (20)


CTTPPD3 Dissertation (60)

 * Please note that you must select one ARTPP and one LINPP module on this programme

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.


Jeremy Munday, Introducing Translation Studies:  Theories and Applications, 3rd edition (Routledge, 2012)


Modes of study

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. One of the modules in the autumn semester will also feature a site visit to one of our partner institutions which engage in cultural translation, broadly construed, and you will be able to select a Linguistics option in semester 1 or 2. Assessment will include essays, reports (which may take the form of written documents, websites or PowerPoint presentations), the portfolio of translation, and the dissertation.

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 three two-hour seminars or 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 at least one site visit over the course of 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 library, 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.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


The MSc Translation Studies is accredited by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), meaning it is professionally recognised throughout the world. In addition to offering valuable training in translation practice, the MSc is also a particularly appropriate qualification for those intending to pursue subsequent doctoral and/or practice-led research.

You are taught by staff with a strong background in the teaching of language and Translation Studies, and of translation itself. ​

Our students

The course has strengthened my position in the job market by providing me with the skills necessary to translate well.  The staff are supportive, knowledgeable, and inspiring.  Students are strongly encouraged to apply theory to practice, not least during site visits to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow for instance.

Anna Wroblewska, Translation Studies, 2014/15

I really appreciated the group discussion in class.  Everyone had a chance to talk, and this inspired me a lot.

Ke Wang, Translation Studies, 2014/15

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 got huge satisfaction from liaising with clients, understanding their philosophy, aims and achievements before translating their message into words.
Gail Clark, MRes in Translation Studies, 2010/11



Our staff

Administrative Staff

  • Lesley McIntosh
  • Lyana Mcinnes
  • Jane Campbell
  • Alison Scott

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Our taught MSc 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, crisscrossing travel and trade routes, and multilingual, multi-platform media, your translation skills will set you apart from the crowd. Whether you’re interested in developing a career overseas or working for one of the many international companies with offices in Scotland and the UK, or playing your part in the ever-expanding global economy, this is the course for you.

Here in Scotland, 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 four, in-demand languages (French, Spanish, German and Chinese) 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.


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16

Industry connections

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

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