SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

MA Translation (2020 entry)

  • Q&A
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


The MA programme in Translation combines training of practical translation skills and/or cultural mediation with teaching of translation theories and methods. It is unique in terms of the range of Asian/African language and cultural specializations. The practical translation modules are optional, students who prefer to concentrate on cultural translation, cultural mediation, or translation theory are also welcome. The aim of the programme is to enhance students' methodological and practical skills in translation, preparing them for the professional market as (freelance) translators, other language professionals, or cultural mediators, 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.

Student experience at SOAS is enriched by a range of research seminars at SOAS’ Centre for Translation Studies as well as Student Enterprise activities such as translation work

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Introduction to the Centre for Translation Studies (CTS)


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 
  • Turkish

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.
  • Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications are usually invited to interview.

Featured events

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


Introducing Translation Studies

Nano Sato-Rossberg

Lecturer in Translation Studies and Japanese Language, Nana Sato-Rossberg, explains how the MA Translation Studies prepares students for a career as translators and language professionals.

What does the course involve?

There are compulsory modules on translation theory and methodology. Students can learn theoretical frameworks of translation and also the methodology for analysing and researching translation. As free optional modules, students can take practical translations, machine translation, critical thinking in translation, and other translation-focused modules. The programme also offers various modules from related fields.

What kind of students will the course appeal to?

Any student who can communicate in more than one language and is interested in translation, translation studies, and/or intercultural studies.

What is special about the programme at SOAS?

Our programme is well-balanced, with both theoretical and practical components. Students can learn both theory/methodology and practice at SOAS. We offer practical translation in six language pairs: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Persian, and Swahili both from, and into, English. Students who have a good proficiency in more than one language can take modules for more than one language pair. Students can also take other language classes offered at SOAS, where aspects of translation practice are taught. This flexibility is one of our specialties.

Can you recommend a good book to read on Translation Studies?
  • Jeremy Munday, Introduction to Translation Studies (Routledge)
  • Anthony Pym, Exploring Translation Theory (Routledge)
  • Mona Baker, In Other Words (Routledge)
  • Sue-Ann Harding and Ovidi Carbonell Cortes (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Culture (Routledge)
  • Lawrence Venuti, The Translation Studies Reader (Routledge)
What do students do after graduating?

Students progress to a variety of careers: doing a PhD, teaching, work as freelance translators, or as translators or interpreters in businesses, government, or for TV companies.


Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. Students should follow the programme structure set out below.


Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Linguistics (Translation Theory) 15PLIC994 60 Full Year

Taught Component

Core Modules

All students will take the following two core modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Translation Studies and Methodology 15PJKH017 15 Term 2
Translation Theory 15PLIH047 15 Term 1
Guided Options

Students take modules to the value of 60 credits from List A below PLUS modules to the value of 30 credits from List B and/or Postgraduate Open Options

List of modules (subject to availability)

List A
Module Code Credits Term
Practical Translation: Chinese to English 15PCHH004 15 Credits
Japanese-English Translation (PG) 15PJKH003 15 Term 2
Practical Translation: English to Japanese 15PJKH002 15 Credits
Practical Translation Swahili into English 15PAFH014 15 Term 1
Translating Cultures 1 15PJKH019 15 Term 2
Translating Cultures 2 15PJKH020 15 Term 2
Translation Technology 15PLIH049 15 Term 1
Concepts and Practice of Subtitling 15PLIH048 15 Term 2
Advanced Translation (Turkish) 15PNMC044 30 credits
Critical Thinking in Translation 15PLIH057 15 Term 2
List B
Module Code Credits Term
750B Ethnographic Locations: East Asia 15PANH062 15
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 15 Term 2
Postcolonial Theory 15PCSC003 30 Full Year
Introduction to the Study of Language 15PLIC008 30 Full Year
Language, Society and Communication (Masters) 15PLIH004 15 Term 1
Historical Linguistics (Masters) 15PLIH020 15 Term 2
Introduction to Language Documentation and Description 15PLIH024 15 Term 1
Language Planning and Policy 15PLIH032 15 Term 2
The Qur'an: Language, Style and Translation 15PNMC142 30 credits
Islamic Texts 15PNMC144 30 Credits


Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

  • Understand translation processes intellectually
  • Understand how theory and practice are related
  • Understand how translation methodology can be applied in practice
  • Understand how the learning outcomes can be used in industry
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Cognitive processes of understanding languages and cultures
  • How translation relates to cross-cultual communication and international politics
  • Critical analyses of translations
Subject-based practical skills
  • Translation skills
  • Cross-cultural communication skills
  • Language skills
  • Openness to understand different value systems
Transferrable skills
  • Communication skills
  • Understanding of other languages and cultures
  • General IT skills and translation-related IT skills


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

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