SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

MA Theory and Practice of Translation (Asian and African Languages)

One calendar year (full-time), two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2016/17

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

This is a Band 2 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2016 Entry requirements

  • Upper second class or above honours degree (or equivalent); fluency in the specified African or Asian language at least to the level of that imparted by a first degree in that language.
  • Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications are usually invited to interview.

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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

The MA programme in Translation Theory and Practice (Asian and African Languages) combines training of practical translation skills with teaching of translation theories. It is unique in terms of the range of Asian/African language specializations and in collaborative teaching with University College London (SLAIS) and Imperial College. The aim of the programme is to enhance students' methodological and practical skills in translation, preparing them for the professional market as (freelance) translators or other language professionals, while providing an intellectual perspective on the discipline of translation studies, which could be the foundation for further MPhil/PhD research. Students have access to a wealth of resources for the study and practice of translation available in the SOAS Library and nearby institutions such as the University of London Library, the UCL Library, the British Library, as well as the BBC World Service and many others.


Drawing on the expertise of highly qualified teachers and researchers at SOAS, the programme offers a range of languages to work with, including

  • Arabic 
  • Chinese, 
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Swahili 



The programme may be taken over 12 months full-time, 24 months two-year part time, or 36 months three-year part time. The MA consists of taught courses and a dissertation. The assessment of most of the taught courses includes a written examination paper or papers, taken in June. The dissertation, of 10,000 words, is due by 15 September of the year in which it is taken.

The marking guidelines for MA Theory and Practice of Translation Studies dissertations are different to those for other programmes. Please refer to this PDF document. Marking Criteria for MA Translation Dissertations (pdf; 66kb)


The MA consists of three taught courses (the half-unit course Translation Theory and a one unit course or two half-unit courses of Practical Translation are compulsory) `and a 10,000- word dissertation on an approved topic.

Core Courses

All students must take:

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Translation Theory 15PLIH047 0.5 Unit Term 1
All students must take the equivalent of one unit from this list.
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arabic/English/Arabic Translation 15PLIC001 1 Unit Full Year
Practical Translation: Chinese to English 15PCHH004 0.5 Unit Term 2
Practical Translation: English to Chinese 15PCHH005 0.5 Unit Term 1
Practical Translation: Japanese into English 15PJKH003 0.5 Unit Term 2
Practical Translation: English into Japanese 15PJKH002 0.5 Unit Term 1
Practical Translation from and into Korean 15PJKC002 1 Unit Full Year
Practical Translation from and into Persian 15PNMC051 1 Unit Full Year
Practical translation from and into Swahili 15PAFC029 1 Unit Full Year
Optional Courses

Students take the equivalent of 1.5 units from these lists.

Full Unit Optional Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Translation Technology 15PLIH049 0.5 Unit Term 1
Translating Cultures 15PJKC029 1 Unit Full Year
Early and Medieval Arabic Linguistic Thought: Scholarship and Literature 15PNMC410 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Introduction to the Study of Language 15PLIC008 1 Unit Full Year
Modern Chinese Literature in Translation 15PCHC002 1 Unit Full Year
Modern Chinese Literature (MA) 15PCHC003 1 Unit Full Year
Modern Documentary Texts 15PEAC007 1 Unit Full Year
Classical Documentary Texts 15PEAC006 1 Unit Full Year
Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation 15PCHC004 1 Unit Full Year
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANC086 1.0 Unit
Topics in the History and Structure of the Korean Language 15PEAC060 1 Unit Full Year
Topics in Modern Korean History 15PEAC059 1 Unit Full Year
Readings in Korean Literature (Masters) 15PJKC016 1 Unit Full Year
Readings in Modern Japanese Literature 15PJKC003 1 Unit Full Year
Half Unit Optional Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Trajectories of Modernity in 20th Century Korean Literature (Masters) 15PJKH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea (Masters) 15PJKH005 0.5 Unit Term 1
Translation of Journalistic Texts from and into Chinese 15PLIH035 0.5 Unit Term 1
Language, Society and Communication (Masters) 15PLIH004 0.5 Unit Term 1
Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora 15PCHH002 0.5 Unit Term 2
Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (MA) 15PCHH001 0.5 Unit Term 1
Syntactic Structure of Japanese 1 15PEAH006 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Syntactic Structure of Japanese 2 15PEAH007 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Topics in the Structure of Chinese (Masters) 15PLIH009 0.5 Unit Term 2
Modern Japanese Literature (Masters) 15PEAH012 0.5 Unit Term 2
Morphology (Masters) 15PLIH006 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Issues in Semantics (Masters) 15PLIH012 0.5 Unit Term 2
Historical Linguistics (Masters) 15PLIH020 0.5 Unit Term 1
Directed Readings in Linguistics/the Structure of Language A 15PLIH001 0.5 Unit Term 1
Directed Readings in Linguistics/the Structure of Language B 15PLIH002 0.5 Unit Term 2
Research Methods In Translation Studies 15PLIH046 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
MA Dissertation

The 10,000 word dissertation may take the form of a translation project (60%) with commentary (40%) or a theoretical discussion of translation grounded in an African or Asian language.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the Programme will:

  • have competence in the practice of translation
  • be familiar with the major theories of translation
  • have some understanding of translation research and methods

Teaching Staff

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 2 tuition fee.

The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,295 £17,490 £4,148 £8,745 £2,765 £5,830
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-12 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00

Santander Taught Master’s Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma - Hla Pe Memorial Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


Our graduates find employment both in the United Kingdom and around the world. They will work with:

  • Translation agencies
  • Multinational companies
  • International organizations
  • Education institutions

They can also pursue further MPhil/PhD research in translation studies at SOAS or other academic institutions.

A Student's Perspective

I enjoy the student atmosphere here. The Students’ Union bar and café is cozy and friendly and I’ve enjoyed getting involved in the knitting for peace club. Also I have been impressed by the array of specialists in the department of Linguistics.

Birgul Yilmmaz


Find out more

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