Translation is about people as much as it is about texts. Translators are change-makers through the texts they produce. The online MA Translation prepares you to find your individual voice as a translator, become a confident user of translation technologies, explore ethical questions in relation to clients and colleagues, and develop your entrepreneurial skills. The programme is offered in French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Translation is primarily from these languages into English. You are welcome to take courses in more than one language.

The MA Translation belongs to a highly select group of global programmes that are formally validated by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). They describe the programme as:

'A programme embedded in both academic and professional contexts that delivers an excellent preparation for linguists seeking a career in translation. Drawing on current practice, emerging trends and future language specialisms, the programme anticipates developments in the translation industry which will affect the working lives of aspiring translators. Students embarking on the programme can be confident that they will emerge equipped with the professional skills and knowledge they need to be work-ready to enter the translation industry.'

The programme is also a corporate member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

In this online programme, teaching and learning primarily happen in asynchronous, interactive seminar groups, led by specialists in language and community, CAT tools and MT, subtitling, multilingualism, poetry, theory, translation as a service, and video game localisation and accessibility. Several tutors have extensive industry experience and continue to work as translators alongside their activities on the programme. Our library holds a very wide range of e-books and e-journals on translation.

Our student body is exceptionally diverse. Some have recently completed their undergraduate degree; others have professional experience in the language industry or elsewhere and are looking for a career change. Asynchronous learning is particularly suited to students with family or work commitments alongside their study.

In addition to asynchronous core unit components, academic and personal tutors offer non-compulsory synchronous meetings, and synchronous interaction between students is facilitated through a virtual common room. We organise a programme of online talks and seminars each year, and while you are not required to come to campus, you are just as much a member of the University as any other student, and we would be delighted to welcome you to Bristol if you wanted to visit.

All applicants to MA Translation are eligible to apply for the MA Translation Scholarship. Applications close on Saturday 1 June 2024 at 12 midday (UK time).

Programme structure

For the diploma element of the programme you must complete six taught units, consisting of compulsory and optional units.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our online Postgraduate Diploma in Translation.

In order to obtain the MA, you must complete a dissertation. The dissertation unit is open to any student who has successfully completed the diploma element of the course with an average mark of 50% or above. The dissertation may be practice-based (an annotated translation of a previously untranslated text) or research-based (focusing on translation, translation theory, the translation industry and related fields).

Students enrolled part-time must take at least 40 credits per year. This programme is delivered online. No on-campus attendance is required.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our online MA in Translation.

You have the option to study for the MA Translation over one year full time or over two or three years part time to fit around other commitments such as work or caring responsibilities. The Higher Education regulator defines studying full time as the equivalent of a full working week, so the opportunity to work alongside full-time study will be very limited. A part-time degree over two or three years cuts the annual workload by half or two-thirds, respectively. Please note, the workload will vary throughout the year, for example there will be busier periods before an essay submission deadline.

Entry requirements

Upper second-class honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant language (French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish), or any other degree subject, provided the language(s) qualifications of study are equivalent to a minimum score of C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Non-traditional qualifications/routes may also be considered. Applicants without the necessary academic linguistic background may be asked to complete a translation and/or diagnostic test.

For applicants who are currently completing a degree, we understand that their final grade may be higher than the interim grades or module/unit grades they achieve during their studies.

We will consider applicants whose interim grades are currently slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements. We may make these applicants an aspirational offer. This offer would be at the standard level, so the applicant would need to achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of their degree.

We will consider applicants whose grades are slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements, if they have at least one of the following:

  • evidence of significant, relevant work experience
  • a relevant postgraduate qualification.

If this is the case, applicants should include their CV (curriculum vitae / résumé) when they apply, showing details of their relevant work experience and/or qualifications.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£10,900 per year
UK: part-time (two years)
£5,450 per year
UK: part-time (three years)
£3,633 per year
Overseas: full-time
£31,300 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

All applicants to MA Translation are eligible to apply for the MA Translation Scholarship. Applications close on Saturday 1 June 2024 at 12 midday (UK time).

Funding and studentship opportunities are listed on the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Benefitting from the strong growth of the language industry overall, recent graduates have successfully established themselves as translators, transcreators, localisers, terminology managers, interlingual consultants and language project managers.

Graduates who went into literary translation have enjoyed crafting, publishing, and publicising their new books.

Some students who complete the programme continue to doctoral study.