Queen's University Belfast


The MA Translation aims to:
• Enable students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the prevailing theories and practices of translation through intellectual and interactive enquiry and advanced translation practice;

• Provide grounding in the field of Translation Studies, defined as theory and practice, that will enable students both to undertake independent research and/or to work as professional translators;

• Encourage sophisticated intellectual enquiry and debate with fellow students, academics and professional practitioners, drawn from a range of relevant backgrounds, through interrogation of theoretical models and analysis of practice-based work;

• Encourage students to develop professional translation skills and/or to theorise within the context of the discipline and/or their own practice;

• Provide students with a good knowledge of the translation market place;

• Foster a dynamic and innovative approach to translation as a mode for understanding the socio-political and cultural complexities posed by the movement of peoples and the demands of multi-lingual and multicultural organisations and societies;

• Equip students to use their writing talents to the best of their ability, and to develop as independent translators and self-reflective lifelong learners.

Learning and Teaching
Compulsory modules provide all students with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of translation (Theory and Practice of Translation) as well as equipping them with the skills and knowledge of the translation industry needed to thrive as a professional translator upon completion of the course (The Business of Translation). The wide range of elective modules offered ensures that students are able to direct the focus of their studies according to their own interests and goals.

The programme is distinguished by a strong emphasis on practical work and weekly translation workshops are provided in a wide range of languages including: Arabic, Chinese French, German, Irish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. They are led by expert tutors and provide an opportunity for developing advanced language knowledge and building a high level of translation competence through hands-on work where theoretical ideas can be put into practice. Students may attend as many weekly workshops as they wish and are also welcome to conduct practice-based research for all assignments, including the summer dissertation.

Our teaching approach emphasises the development of intellectual independence through regular small-group discussions with both peers and staff throughout the programme. Classroom discussions often build on insights from speakers in our weekly seminar series, giving students space to critically reflect on and respond to cutting-edge research in the field. Other enrichment events are also regularly organised with external contributors to further broaden the range of ideas to which students are exposed; events held in recent years include a special session on Translation and Music, organised in collaboration with the QUB Music department, and a hands on workshop on games localisation, organised in collaboration with a leading localisation firm.

Finally, our multilingual classrooms also provide valuable opportunities for the development of broader intercultural communication skills. Support for the development of postgraduate-level research skills is provided in regular writing workshops and a weekly ‘Dissertation Forum’ held in semester two, specifically designed to ensure students are well prepared for their independent research project over the summer months. This is in addition to the wide range of academic training courses available to all students through the QUB Graduate School.

Subjects taught

Course Structure
The degree is structured to allow students to deepen their understanding of key aspects of translation theory and/or choose to concentrate on more practice-based activities. Delivered through a combination of seminars, workshops, guided private study, a programme of visiting speakers and appropriate professional practice, the structure of the degree will enable students to work towards both of these objectives, or to focus more intensively on one of them. In addition to the elements for which they are enrolled, students are encouraged to audit as many other elements of the programme as they wish.

Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

The MA Translation is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 word research or practice-based (translation and commentary) dissertation (60 CATS points).

Students must pass all taught modules before proceeding to the Dissertation.

Course Details
Core Modules
Theory and Practice of Translation (Core, compulsory)
The purpose of this core, year-long module is to introduce you to the main practices and underlying principles of translation. The course examines a variety of perspectives: translation as textual, cognitive, literary, social and political activities that impact the wider context in which they take place. It is based on the assumption that theory and practice are mutually sustaining in that considerations of theory enable the translator and interpreter to make sense of the decisions that he or she takes at every moment throughout his or her practice. It invites you to think critically and reflectively about the community of translators that you aspire to join (or to which you may already belong), and to engage with the complexity and implications of the choices translators have to make on a daily basis. The module also introduces scholarly approaches to translation, inviting and enabling you to develop your own research interests related to any aspect of translation.

Business of Translation (Core, Compulsory)
This module is intended to introduce the student to the business world of professional translation, either as a freelancer or as an in-house professional. The course is designed to assist students in establishing themselves as professional translators in today’s international marketplace by introducing them to relevant business practices.

Audio-Visual Translation (elective)
This module introduces you to the translation of audio-visual media including film, television, and live performance. In a combination of interactive seminars and practical workshops, you will have the opportunity to engage with modalities such as subtitling, dubbing and audio description. This module seeks to promote the development of a critical understanding of both the theoretical and practical issues involved in translating for various audio-visual media and relating to accessibility.

Literary Translation (elective)
This module introduces you to the principal issues involved in the translation of literature, especially prose fiction, lyrics and poetry, and ways in which scholars, writers and translators have approached the reading and translation of literary and creative texts. The course aims to introduce ways of translating a range of different texts and genres; to reinforce the importance of reception and circulation; to discuss the role of translation in world literature; and to consider the systems in which literature is produced, translated and ‘consumed’. It will also discuss ways to begin publishing literary translations.

Principles of Community Interpreting (elective)
The module introduces you to the core issues and principles of community interpreting. The module is taught intensively in Semester 2, is highly practical and assessment includes the production of a portfolio. Students who successfully complete the module are eligible for the award of a OCN Level 4 certificate in Principles of Community Interpreting.

Technical Translation (elective)
This module introduces you to the main practices and underlying principles of technical translation, specifically legal, scientific and medical texts. It will cover discussion of relevance and usability theories, the identification of terms and terminology, information mining, research techniques and commercial practice.

Translation and Media (elective)
This module introduces you to key issues of translation practice within the broad spheres of journalism and the media. Students will be encouraged to explore and practice the skills required for translating a range of journalistic text types and will develop an understanding of the varied roles of translation within contemporary media.

Translating for Performance (elective)
What does the translator do in the theatre? What are the opportunities for creativity in theatre translation? What does it mean to work for the stage rather than the page? This module introduces you to the techniques and issues of translation for performance, as well as to ways in which new translators can promote their own work to professional companies.

Meaning, Sense and Translation (elective)
This module introduces you to key issues in translation theory concerning semiotics and hermeneutics, or ways in which meaning is made and interpreted. Key topics include Peirce's typology of signs, iconicity, indexicality, symbolicity, conceptualisation and evaluation, event schemas, participant roles, construal, grammar as imagery, and metaphor.

Dissertation (core, compulsory)
As an independent research project conducted with the support of a member of academic staff as supervisor, the dissertation provides the space for you to explore your own research interests in real depth. Students are free to choose any topic they wish, provided it tackles translation-related issues in some way and may follow a traditional research or practice-as-research approach. Past topics have included: the translation of fictional languages in The Lord of the Rings; an empirical analysis of attitudes towards translation in Polish-owned small businesses in Northern Ireland; media accessibility in Oman; the translation of songs in Disney films; translating Lorca's poetry through song.

What Else Will I Do?
You will also have the opportunity to attend weekly 2-hour language-specific workshops, where students work with a tutor on practical translation tasks with a range of text types. Our Guest Seminar Series attracts renowned scholars and practitioners, providing students with an opportunity to become familiar with a range of translation research topics and professional experiences. Students are also encouraged to audit all classes so as to make the most of the available teaching, classroom experiences and recommended readings.

Entry requirements

Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a relevant subject.

A 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may be acceptable with relevant professional experience.

Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours degree standard may be considered if they can demonstrate a minimum of three years' relevant professional experience. The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit for more information. If you would like further informal advice, please contact course convenor Dr Neil Sadler at

All applicants should normally have at least an intermediate level of foreign-language proficiency, and we welcome holistic applications from a variety of backgrounds.

In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students
Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region.

English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Application dates

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 31st July 2023 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

How to Apply
Applications should be submitted online via the Postgraduate Applications Portal for admission to the vast majority of postgraduate programmes.

New applicants will need to register via the Portal to create an application account. If you are already a Queen’s student with an active Qsis account, you can log in using your student number and Qsis password. Guidance on how to complete an application is provided within the Portal and it is possible to save application data and return to complete it at a later date, if you wish. After core details about yourself and your academic background have been provided, you can submit an application, or multiple applications, if required.

If you applied in a previous cycle through the Portal and are re-applying, you should use your previous log in details. Please review and update your personal and contact details, academic and professional qualifications before submitting a new application.

Important – please ensure that the email address you provide is correct and active, as this will be used by us to communicate the progress of your application to you.

Assessment Info

Annotated translations
Research projects


1 year (Full Time), 3 years (Part Time).

Teaching Times
Classes typically take place 13.00-18.00 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Additional, non-compulsory elements may be held at other times.

Enrolment dates

Entry Year: 2023

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
Careers in translation can be both highly intellectual and extremely rewarding in a practical sense. In addition to international organisations, translators can work in a range of roles in diverse companies or as freelance translators working for agencies and/or direct clients. Professional translation skills are valued in many areas of employment, notably banking and finance, politics, NGOs, publishing, libraries, arts venues, management consultancy, law, and jobs in engineering and manufacturing, due to their international client base. Translators are also required in a wide range of other activities and lines of work, including aiding police investigations and other security services, supporting migrant communities, conference proceedings, sports events, and governmental communications.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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