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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'll experiment with different genres through practical, inspiring translation activities, and hone your practice through peer review. You'll gain hands-on experience of using tools necessary to operate in this rapidly evolving area (e.g. audiovisual translation or cloud-based translation tools). You'll underpin your work with an understanding of translations theories and debates. You can study French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic or Chinese – in combination with English.

Key features of the course

•Choose from French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese or Modern Standard 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). We are also members of the Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the UK and Ireland (APTIS UK).

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

•Knowledge and understanding
•Cognitive skills
•Practical and professional skills
•Key skills

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.

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.

Entry requirements

•A UK honours degree (preferably a 2:1 or above) or other recognised equivalent qualification1

•Proficiency in your first language at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level C2

•Proficiency in your second language at CEFR level C12

1 If you don't have an honours degree, talk to an advisor.

2 If your first language is English and you've passed an OU level 3 module in your second language, your language proficiency should be suitable, as the exit level of our OU level 3 language courses is CEFR 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 or freelance translator, 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.

Membership of the Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the UK and Ireland (APTIS UK).

The Open University is an Institutional Member of APTIS UK. Membership of this innovative network allows us to share expertise with our partners as regards the teaching of translation and interpreting studies at UK and Irish HE institutions. We aim to advance education for the public benefit in the UK and Ireland so as to improve the quality of learning and teaching as well as research on translation and interpreting programmes at Higher Education institutions.

Further enquiries

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

Subjects taught


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

180 credits from:

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

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!