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This qualification is an exciting opportunity to develop your skills as a translator, equipping you to work in the fast-growing Translation Services industry. You will experiment with different genres through practical, inspiring translation activities, and hone your practice through peer review. You will gain hands-on experience of using tools necessary to operate in this rapidly-evolving area (e.g. audio-visual translation or cloud-based translation tools). Your work will be underpinned by an understanding of translations theories and debates.

Key features of the course
• Choose from French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese or Arabic in combination with English

• Engage in authentic translation tasks and connect with established translation communities to develop useful employability skills

• Have the option to undertake a substantial translation or a more traditional academic dissertation.

The Open University is recognised as a HE Language Partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and is a Corporate Member of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI).

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
• Knowledge and understanding
• Cognitive skills
• Practical and professional skills
• Key skills

On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MA in Translation entitling you to use the letters MA Trans (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Credit transfer
If you've successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

Entry requirements

To register for this postgraduate study, you should normally hold a UK honours degree or recognised equivalent from another country. You should be aware that a degree classification of at least 2:1 or equivalent will greatly increase your chances of successfully completing the MA. If you do not hold a honours degree, please contact us for advice before registering on a module.

You will need to study and complete Introduction to translation theory and practice (L801) before moving on to Translation in practice (L802). If you have 60 credits of credit transfer that has been approved to count in place of L801, you may start your masters degree with L802.

You can study French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese or Arabic in combination with English. To successfully study this qualification one of your languages (English or your other language) needs to be at a native or near-native level of proficiency (level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR), whilst the other must be at least at level C1 of the CEFR. You are strongly advised that you should have the required linguistic competence in the two languages at the start of your study. If your main language is English and you have successfully studied an OU level 3 language module (L310, L313 and L314) at The Open University, your language level should be appropriate to study on the MA, as the exit level of our OU level 3 language courses is C1.


2 - 6 years.

This qualification is designed for 20 hours per week to study part-time. It can be completed in a minimum of two years, up to a maximum of six years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
There is an increasing global demand for translators and language specialists, and this masters degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills to embark on a career as a translator. This is an immensely rewarding profession for those with an interest in languages and communication, and encompasses a wide and growing range of areas, including audio-visual translation, advertising or website localisation, as well as semi-specialised and specialised translation.

If you wish to pursue a career as a translator, be it as an in-house translator or freelance, this masters degree will equip you with necessary professional skills and familiarity with the professional tools needed in this fast-moving field. You will also acquire a raft of highly valued transferable communication and collaborative skills such as peer reviewing and team working, which are useful in a range of occupations in the communications sector.

If you are aiming for an academic career in higher education, this qualification will provide a route towards the higher level research qualification (PhD or EdD), essential for such a career. A Masters degree can help to enhance your career prospects as a teacher in secondary, further and higher education.

If you already have a career in the translation field and are seeking a further qualification as a way to develop your career or as a means to update your skills, then a Masters degree can prove invaluable.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

Membership of the Chartered Institute of Linguists
The Open University is a HE Language Partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). By studying for this qualification you will be entitled to free membership of CIOL as a Student Affiliate and you can upgrade to be a Career Affiliate after successfully completing your qualification. Being a Student Affiliate is the first step on your career ladder to becoming a Chartered Linguist.

Membership of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting
The Open University is a Corporate Member of the Institute of Translation & Interpretation (ITI). As such, we have signed the ITI Code of Professional Conduct and are committed to providing quality training for the translation and interpreting industry. By studying for this qualification you will be eligible for student membership of the ITI.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules Credits
Introduction to translation theory and practice (L801) 60 Translation in practice (L802) 60
Extended translation project/dissertation (L803) 60

Modules should be studied in the order listed above. The project/dissertation module can only be taken after completion of the first two modules.

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!