MA in Translation Studies

Excellence in Translation Award (sponsored by the Translation People Company) for the best student overall on the MA in Translation in a European Context

Why choose this course?

  • Shared modules with the MA in Translation in a European Context which is a member of the European Masters in Translation (EMT) Network, which has established a quality label for university translation programmes that meet agreed professional standards and market demands, and of the OPTIMALE project.
  • Students have the opportunity to work towards TRADOS certification
  • Amicus Transtec Prize (sponsored by Amicus TransTec Limited) for the best final assignment in module LIM015, The Translation Profession
  • We are a corporate member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

ITI Corporate Member Logo

Duration: Full-time: 12 months. Part-time: 2-3 years

Start date(s): October 

Distance learning available: No

Intake: Approximately 8 per year

Entry requirements: Entry requirements: A good UK Honours Degree (minimum 2:1) in Translation Studies or a related discipline or an overseas degree recognised by Aston University, plus two references

International students whose native language is not English and have not completed a full degree programme taught in English, will need to obtain: An IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 7 in writing and minimum of 6 in speaking, listening and reading.

Holders of the Chartered Institute of Linguists' Diploma in Translation and Members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) may be awarded credits for prior experience.

Fees for 2014/2015*: 
UK/ EU: £4,700 
Non-EU: £13,000 
*These figures have not been confirmed, but they are expected to be approximately as stated. Part-time students pay a pro-rata version of full-time fees. 

Application: We recommend that overseas students apply before the end of June due to visa requirements as these can take a few weeks to process.

Apply for this course online

This Masters in Translation Studies is for those who wish to develop and further their knowledge and understanding of the discipline of Translation Studies. It will allow you to acquire knowledge about the social role and function of translation for intercultural communication, cultural representation and perception. You will also gain knowledge of theoretical frameworks that underpin the process of translation and related forms of intercultural communication and cultural exchange.

Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only -  the University reserves the right to change the modules on offer, the module content and the assessment methods.
Core modules:

Number of credits: 30

Module Learning Outcomes: Students will be introduced to controversial debates concerning some basic concepts of translation studies and approaches to translation in order to develop a critical reflection on theoretical aspects. Various approaches to translation throughout recent decades will be discussed.

Module Content: The following topics will be discussed:

  • The emergence of translation studies as an academic discipline

  • Early reflections on translation: e.g. St Jerome, Luther, Schleiermacher

  • Linguistics-based approaches to translation (translation as interlingual transfer): e.g. Catford, Jakobson, Kade, Wilss, Vinay & Darbelnet, Newmark, Koller; concepts covered include: fidelity, faithfulness, translatability, equivalence, decoding, encoding, transcoding, translation procedures

  • Textlinguistic approaches to translation (translation as text production): e.g. Reiß, Neubert, Göpferich, Trosborg, Hatim & Mason; concepts covered include: text type, genre, textuality, convention

  • Functionalist theories of translation (translation as purposeful activity performed by experts): e.g. Vermeer, Reiß & Vermeer, Nord, Holz-Mänttäri, Hönig & Kußmaul, Chesterman; concepts covered include: function, purpose, skopos, translatorial action, translation problem, translation strategy, loyalty

  • Descriptive Translation Studies (translation as norm-governed behaviour): e.g. Toury, Hermans, Even-Zohar, Lambert; concepts covered include: polysystem, norms, regularities, patronage

  • Cultural studies and translation (translation as representation of the other): e.g. Venuti, Arrojo, Bassnett, Lefevere; concepts covered include: cultural turn, foreignisation, domestication, visibility

  • Postmodern and postcolonial theories of translation: e.g. Niranjana, Tymoczko, Gentzler & Tymoczko; concepts covered include: power, ideology, gender, ethics

  • Sociological approaches to translation: e.g. Wolf; concepts covered include: habitus, field, capital

  • Translation as a profession / Translation in institutions / New forms of translation (job profiles, media translation, dubbing and subtitling, MT and MAT, corpus-based Translation Studies, translations and EU institutions, etc.)

Method of Assessment: A total of three essays:
Two short essays (15 % each). Critical reviews of key concepts or approaches of translation studies based on literature review (approx. 1500 words each): 30%. 

One extended essay (5,000 - 6,000 words) on a theoretical topic to be submitted at the end of the module: 70%.

Essential Reading:
Munday, Jeremy (2008) Introducing Translation Studies. Theories and Applications. London, Routledge, (2nd edition)

Venuti, Lawrence (ed) (2004) The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge. (2nd edition)

Number of credits: 10

Module Learning Outcomes: This module aims to consolidate students’ understanding of concepts and methods of linguistics and text analysis in order to apply this knowledge to a translation task. Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of:

  • Key concepts of syntax, semantics, pragmatics, textlinguistics, discourse analysis

  • The relevance of linguistic concepts for translation-oriented text analysis

  • Different types of written communication; their communicative functions, text types and related macro- and micro-textual features

  • Key features of argumentative, informative and expressive discourse functions

  • The importance of source text analysis as a pre-requisite for production of a functionally adequate target text.

Method of Assessment: Oral examination (25 minutes) at the end of teaching period 1 on theoretical notions covered in the respective sessions with a particular focus on a pretranslational analysis of an English Source Text (approx. 1000 words). 100%

Recommended Reading:

Fromkin, Victoria, Rodman, Robert and Hyams, Nina (2003): An Introduction to Language.
Boston, Mass: Thomson Heinle (7th edition)

Nord, Christiane (2005) Text analysis in translation, theory, methodology, and didactic application of a model for translation-oriented text analysis. 2nd ed, Amsterdam, Rodopi, Trask, Larry A Student's Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, Arnold, London 1997

Number of credits: 20

Module Learning Outcomes: Students will acquire knowledge of and skills in a variety of professional aspects of translation and the professional environment. An important part of this module is to foster team working skills and reflection on own knowledge, strengths and weaknesses so that students become reflective practitioners.Students will acquire knowledge:

  • of the procedures of project management in translation companies

  • of quality control mechanisms in translation companies

  • of the differences in the work of free-lance translators and translators in employment

  • of legal and ethical aspects of the profession

  • of the manual and electronic tools and processes involved in translation and project management and work with clients

Module Content: The main objective is to simulate a professional environment for students to focus on the actual process of managing a translation project. After introductory seminars, students will meet in groups and create their own translation companies, assigning roles to members of the group by negotiation, and secure a translation commission.

Method of Assessment

  1. A progress report of approx. 800 words on setting up a company, assigning professional roles, and finding a client, to be submitted by the team on the last day of TP1. 20%

  2. A critical reflective report of approx. 4,000 words, to be submitted by each student individually, by candidate number at the end of the module 80%

Number of credits: 10

Module Learning Outcomes: Students will be introduced to some underlying issues around the representation of other cultures through translation in its broadest sense. Working with theoretical and primary texts will encourage a critical approach and throw light on the processes of intercultural communication. The engagement with complex theoretical literature will help students to come to grips with the philosophical underpinnings of translation theories which will be of practical value for the production of longer pieces of research.

Module Content: On the basis of some key theoretical texts which tackle translation from ethnographic and philosophical perspectives, seminar discussions will focus on the problematics of cultural representation and human agency in the world of translation. On the whole, the seminar discussions will shed light on the interdisciplinary nature of research on translation, while also leading to a better understanding of some of the epistemological and philosophical foundations of modern translation theories. The topics discussed will be further consolidated by some small-scale practical case studies.

Method of Assessment: Essay (3,000 words) on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the lecturer, mexamining a theoretical issue or presenting a theoretically informed case study, to be submitted (by candidate number) in the final week of the teaching period: 100%

Number of credits: 20

Module Learning Outcomes: This module aims to consolidate advanced awareness of contemporary translation theories and to apply these to practical skills involved in the translation process, with reference to features of Specialised Translation including the role of corpora. Each student chooses a specific, semi-specialised domain for study and researches the subject, text conventions, lexical and grammatical features, content and intercultural issues that must be considered when translating a text from that domain.

Module Content: Students will be introduced to concepts of LSP Translation and will study texts for specific domains, as well as looking at different text types and analysing typical features of each. Seminars will introduce students to relevant methodology and research skills, to be applied to their chosen domain and text type, with the opportunity for consultation each week during the research phase.

Methods of assessment: Assessment will be in two parts, as follows:

  1. Each student will compile a corpus of comparable texts, which will be used as the basis for a comprehensive study (4,000 words, plus supporting corpora) of the conventions and textual features of the chosen genre, along with analysis and discussion of the translation issues arising from this. 75%

  2. In addition, the student will prepare a glossary of 50 key terms from the semispecialised domain chosen, with definitions and examples of use taken from the corpus. 25%

Number of credits: 20

Module content: This module aims to introduce students to context-based understanding of written and spoken discourse. It will provide students with a grounding in the major theories and methodologies of discourse analysis, and provide practical experience of their application. It will enable students to make informed methodological choices when conducting their own analyses.

The module will provide students with an introduction to the fundamentals of text analysis, beginning with a consideration of the nature of ‘text’ and ‘discourse’, and of differences between written and spoken text. We will then look at some of the key traditions and approaches to discourse analysis, such as genre and register, systemic functional grammar, pragmatics, conversation analysis and critical discourse analysis. These approaches will be applied to the analysis of spoken and written discourse in a variety of contexts such as classroom interaction, cross-cultural communication and media discourse.

Method of Assessment: Research project of 4000 words, chosen by the student from a selection of set topics. (100%)

Indicative Reading

Caldas-Coulthard, C. and Coulthard, M. (eds) (1996) Texts and Practices: Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge.

Carter, R., Goddard, A., Reah, D., Sanger. K, & Bowring, M. (2008). Working with Texts: A Core Introduction to Language Analysis. London: Routledge

Coulthard, M. (ed). (1994) Advances in Written Text Analysis. London: Routledge.

Grundy, P. (2008 edn) Doing Pragmatics. London: Hodder Education

Number of credits: 10

Module Learning Outcomes: Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of:

  • what constitutes research

  • the different paradigms associated with different research traditions

  • specific research methods used within these different traditions: set-up, procedures, results, constraints

  • the ethical dimension within any research project

Module Content (Part I): Part I of the module in Research Methods is a general introduction to research methods:

  1. Introduction to the broad based nature of the School and the main approaches to research covered by the different disciplines within it. Overview on the nature of postgraduate study and the role of research at postgraduate level.

  2. Methods of acquiring new data: Identifying the gap in the literature; using library and IT facilities; access to people, organisations and unpublished data.

  3. Understanding the paradigms in which we research. (what can we know? how can we know it? Awareness of various views on cultural partiality, positionality and objectivity).

  4. An awareness of ethical and legal issues (e.g. the rights of other researchers and of research subjects, intellectual property rights, working in teams)

Module Content (Part II for Translation Studies programmes): The second part of the module in Research Methods is devoted to research methods that are specific to translation studies. These can be grouped into comparative, process, and causal models. Comparative models aim at discovering similarities and differences (esp. between linguistics systems, between genres, between source text and target text, between original texts/language and translated texts/language). Process models are dynamic models, representing changes of status through time (phases in the process). Causal models aim at discovering causal conditions that produce target texts, which in turn produce effects.

Method of Assessment

  1. Oral presentation in main examination period. Students present an outline of their dissertation topic (10-15 minutes),

  2. Submission of a portfolio consisting of (a) a list of (at least 10) bibliographical sources (b) completed form on ethical implications of the research.

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research. Assessment is on a credit accumulation basis and by oral examination (text analysis module) or extended essay (remaining modules). Successful completion of the taught modules is a precondition for proceeding to a 15,000 word dissertation leading to the MA.
Recent destinations for our graduates include translators, technical editors and translation project managers for translation companies and software developers, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Assem Baildildinova

Graduate MA Translation Studies

I am currently working as a teacher at the Department of General Linguistics & Translation Theory at the Eurasian National University in Astana. I teach translation studies' students. I also help to interpret and translate from English into Kazakh and Russian. I apply the knowledge acquired through studying for my MA both in theory and in practice.


Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries



Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research