MA in Translation


Programme Description

This course responds to the increasing need for a globalised, interconnected world for highly qualified translators who can navigate different genres of text and negotiate the language needs of diverse audiences and industries.

"Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence" - George Steiner

Based in a truly global city, Goldsmiths’ location makes it the perfect place to study translation.

You will study the theory and practice of translation, giving you the expertise to compete for work as a professional translator. Study in a department with expertise in linguistics, creative writing, and literary studies, with the option to tailor your studies and explore areas in other departments relevant to your own interests.


You can choose between three pathways:

Translation Studies

This pathway is for people who are interested in the technical, legal, business, scientific, medical, financial, creative arts and academic fields and enables you to benefit from dedicated core modules offering a solid grounding in the theory and practice of translation across diverse areas of professional practice.

The Translation Studies pathway also opens up to you the specialist teaching and research expertise offered by subject experts in the Department of English and Comparative Literature in linguistics, comparative literature and literary theory, from discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and language and its interface with issues of gender, ethnicity and identity, to key currents of concern in literary and cultural theory and the role of the text in shifting boundaries of cultural and linguistic identity in a globalised, multicultural world.

Cultural Tourism, Hospitality and Cultural Heritage

This pathway focuses on translation for museums, galleries, cultural heritage sites, hotels and other tourist destinations. If you choose this pathway, you will benefit from the specialist research and teaching expertise offered by the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship where optional modules focus on a range of topics relating to the tourism, hospitality, cultural development and cultural heritage sectors, from cultural tourism, language, communication and intercultural mediation in museums, galleries and other cultural organisations, to destination management and the development of new tourism products.

Depending on your optional module choices you may also have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in the cultural and creative tourism sector in central London.

English-Chinese Translation and Interpreting

This pathway is aimed at native speakers of Chinese (Mandarin) who have a high level of English-language competency and who wish to increase their understanding of professionally written translation and oral interpreting practice from English to Chinese, to build their intercultural and interpretive skills and to develop their knowledge across a number of English-language subject areas. It is also open to native speakers of English who have a high level of competence in Chinese (Mandarin) and who wish to increase their ability to translate and interpret confidently into Chinese from English and to expand their written and spoken Chinese skills.

The core specialist module for this pathway is co-taught by the Goldsmiths Confucius Institute and the Department of English and Comparative Literature and focuses on producing written Chinese translations of a wide range of English-language texts and text types and covers translation across a broad variety of professional domains, from scientific, academic, business and technical texts written in English, to journalism, finance, advertising and marketing, media, literary fiction, poetry, theatre and other creative industries.

Alongside this, and with the help of Chinese and English native speakers, you will develop consecutive and bilateral/liaison interpreting skills for facilitating communication between monolingual speakers of English and Chinese across a range of business, diplomatic, government, community, health and criminal justice contexts.

Peer support

Matching native speakers of English with students for whom English is a foreign language, the peer support groups enable you to discuss the challenges of translation with respect to your own language pair, to seek ideas and fresh insights from your colleagues on how to tackle similar areas of challenge that they are also facing and to participate in a system of mutual feedback and support.

You will develop language- specialist support networks and access opportunities for parallel learning through increased access to native speakers of the full range of languages in operation across the programme.

A student perspective on the MA Translation:

"The most positive experience during my MA was meeting people that are fully involved in the translation environment. We had experts coming from Asymptote, translation agencies and even other countries, such as Spain, to share with us their knowledge. What was absolutely fantastic for me was meeting Dr Andrew Walsh from Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, who shared with us his experience in gastronomic, literal and football translation. Further, he gave us some advice on how to behave in the translation world and to handle pressure and time constraints"

"The absolute surprise and benefit were to develop my professionalization step-by-step throughout the modules. The first module was based on translation theories and it was extraordinary to see how those theories were applicable to every text (technical or literal) we analysed. Having started a work experience placement soon after the end of the modules, thanks to Dr Sarah Maitland, I discovered how much translation studies has helped me to build my translation process and my research work"

Translation software

Computer-aided translation software for the MA in Translation is provided by MemSource.

Modules & structure

Core modules

Core modules on the MA in Translation cover both the theory and practice of translation. These are taught in seminar-based and tutorial small-group sessions and may include an individually supervised practice project.

Students undertaking the translation work placement module will work directly with an external organisation to provide a range of translation and other language services and gain the first-hand experience of translation in a professional setting.

You also undertake a dissertation in which you will either reflect critically on one aspect of the theory and/or practice of translation or focus on the practice of translation in the form of a concrete translation project.

  • Becoming a translator 30 credits
  • Translation and tourism 30 credits
  • Translation theory and practice 30 credits
  • Translation dissertation 60 credits

Optional Modules

In addition, you are able to choose from a range of optional modules, which allows you to explore your interests and to gain specialist knowledge relating to your future career plans. This could include modules from within the Department of English and Comparative Literature, or from other departments such as the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Media and Communications.

While not all of these modules may be available every year, and new ones may be introduced, the following modules are particularly relevant as optional choices for translation students:

English and Comparative Literature

  • Between Languages: Multilingualism and Translation in Contemporary Literature 30 credits
  • Language & Ideology in Written Discourse 30 credits
  • Core Issues in English Language & Linguistics 30 credits
  • English in a Multilingual World 30 credits
  • Intercultural Discourse & Communication 30 credits
  • Language in its Sociocultural Context 30 credits
  • Theories of Literature & Culture 30 credits

Educational Studies

  • Children's Literature and Cultural Diversity 30 credits

Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship

  • Cultural and Creative Tourism 30 credits
  • Museums and Galleries as Creative Entrepreneurs 30 credits
  • Museums and Galleries as Creative Entrepreneurs – Communicating Culture 30 credits
  • Cultural and Creative Tourism 30 credits
  • Interpretation, Education and Communication in the Art Museum 30 credits
  • Tourism in Asia 30 credits
  • Cultural Relations and Diplomacy I: Foundations 30 credits
  • Cultural Relations and Diplomacy II: Explorations 30 credits

You may also wish to look at the complete list of courses available across the College offering modules which may be taken as options as part of your MA in Translation.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Skills & careers


This MA provides you with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in translation. The interdisciplinary option choices allow you to tailor your studies to your career plans. You'll develop professional behaviours and leadership skills through fortnightly workshops which will provide guided mentoring.


This degree will equip graduates with the expertise to work as professional translators across the public and private sector, both in the UK and abroad. The possibility of taking option modules from other departments means that you could develop knowledge ideal for careers in translation for the arts industry, including in the media and publishing.

As part of the course, you'll be brought face-to-face with representatives from across the language service industry, from translation agencies and multinational corporations where translations are commissioned or where in-house translators are employed to international organisations with in-house translation departments, freelance translators and other language professionals. These connections will help you in your future careers.

Entry requirements

You should have a minimum of 2:1 (or equivalent) in a subject relevant to the programme or relevant equivalent experience.

You will also need to provide a personal statement (in English) in which you describe:

  • why you are applying to the MA in Translation and what you hope to achieve if successful.
  • your native or near-native fluency in at least one other language in addition to English. You should describe: any translations you may have undertaken and the purpose and context in which you undertook these; any experience you have of reading, speaking and writing in at least one other language in addition to English; and/or any relevant academic, professional or voluntary work experience. You may wish to attach any samples of writing in at least one other language in addition to English and/or any translations you may have produced.
  • your assessment of your ability to translate into the language in which you are dominant from the language(s) you have learned in addition to your native language.

Equivalent qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

  • IELTS 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing.

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
  • An electronic copy of your reference on letter headed paper, or alternatively the email address of your referee who we can request a reference from. It is preferred that you use an academic reference, however, in cases where applicants are unable to provide one, a professional reference is acceptable.
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF or completed online.
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

As part of the selection process, you may be invited to an informal interview with the Programme Convenor.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

We're a world-class university, ranked in the world's top 350 universities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17, and the world's elite by the QS World University Rankings 20 ... Read More

We're a world-class university, ranked in the world's top 350 universities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17, and the world's elite by the QS World University Rankings 2016-17 Read Less