Translating for Business and International Institutions MA - Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
    Full-time, Part-time
  • Duration
    Full-time: 12 months. Part-time: 2-3 years
  • School
    Aston Business School, School of Languages & Social Sciences

Entry requirements

  • Entry requirements
    2:2 degree in Translation Studies or in French and/or German and/or Spanish and/or Portuguese and/or Arabic and/or Chinese or a related subject (e.g. Linguistics, English, Literature, etc). Minimum level equivalent to CEFR C1 in the language other than English that you plan to study. IELTS 6.5 overall (at least 5.5 in one band and 6.0 in the other bands) or TOEFL iBT 93 overall.
More information

Key dates

Gain real-world experience of translation through our placement module and be ready for the transition from freelance translator to company director

Guest lectures from practicing translators and industry representatives, from project managers to company directors

Students have the opportunity to work towards TRADOS certification and use machine translation

We are a corporate member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

Course summary

This innovative programme  - which offers specialist coaching in translation from Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, French, Spanish or German - prepares you both for a professional career in the global language industry and for ongoing research. You will learn about the business of translation from professionals working in the industry and gain practical, hands-on, experience through our placement module, leaving you ready for the transition from freelance translator to company director.


Entry requirements & fees

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

Start date(s): September

Distance learning available: No

Entry requirements:

2:2 degree in Translation Studies or in French and/or German and/or Spanish and/or Portuguese and/or Arabic and/or Chinese or a related subject (e.g. Linguistics, English, Literature, etc). You will need to indicate a minimum level of competence as equivalent to CEFR C1 in the language other than English that you plan to study. Applicants who cannot provide formal evidence of their level of language competence in a language other than English will be assessed individually by the department. If your first language is not English or your first degree was not taught in English in an English speaking country, one of the following is required: IELTS 6.5 overall (at least 5.5 in one band and 6.0 in the other bands) or TOEFL iBT 93 overall.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your future webpage.

Fees for 2019/20: 
UK/ EU: £8,000
Non-EU: £15,000 
Students may be granted a Scholarship. 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.

Click here to apply for this course.

Course Outline: Core Modules

Our core and optional modules will prepare you for a professional career in the global language industry. With the right combination between theory and practice, we will cover all the necessary aspects to succeed in the translation market at an international level.

Core modules

  • The Translation Industry: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives I
  • The Translation Industry: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives II
    These modules provide you with an overview of translation theories and their application to the actual translation practices. You will be able to assume an informed a critical stand regarding the translation practice.


  • Translation Technology I: CAT Tools and Localisation
    You will develop your technological skills and will become familiar with the most popular computer-assisted translation tools in the market.


  • Multilingual Specialised Translation
    You will acquire language-independent translation principles to tackle the translation of highly specialised texts. You will learn about text types and their relation to translation, terminology and specialised language.


  • Business and Enterprise Skills for Translators
    This module, taught by Aston Business School,  will provide you with knowledge of and skills in a variety of professional aspects relevant to the translation industry. These include setting up a business, the provision of high quality services and standard entrepreneurial practices.


  • Dissertation
    You will demonstrate your ability to design, conduct and report the results of a research project in the subject domain relevant to the masters. You will work independently, under the guidance of a supervisor



Course Outline: Practical Modules

Practical translation modules

You can choose a practical translation module, depending on your language combination.


  • Specialised Translation Practice: French – English
  • Specialised Translation Practice: German – English
  • Specialised Translation Practice: Spanish – English
    The specialised translation modules will give you the opportunity to develop your translation skills. The modules will help you develop and improve the competences that will allow you to produce high-quality translations in English.


  • Translation for Business: Arabic <> English
  • Translation for Business: Chinese <> English
  • Translation for Business: Portuguese <> English
    These practical translation modules have a clear focus on translation for business. You will consolidate your practical translation competence and your ability to produce high quality translations.
Course Outline: Optional Modules

Optional modules

You can choose two of the following modules;

  • Translating for International Institutions
    You will learn about the practice of translation in international organisations (such as the European Union and the United Nations), as well as in non-governmental organisations. The module will focus on the role and importance of translation within such organisations.


  • Translation Work Placement
    You will complete a work placement as part of your studies. This will provide you with a real-life opportunity to articulate your skills in the professional world and reflect on the translation practice.


  • Translation Technology II: Machine Translation, Post-editing, Audiovisual Translation
    This module will deepen your understanding of translation technologies and will help you develop cutting-edge skills which are highly valuable in the translation industry.
Learning, teaching and assessment
  • You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials.
  • Representatives of local, national and international organisations deliver lectures on project management, quality management and other practical skills.
  • The programme includes 120 credits (usually 60 credits per semester), plus the dissertation (60 credits). The taught credits over two semesters represent approximately 10 hours a week of lectures, seminars and tutorials.
  • The dissertation give you an opportunity to develop your individual research.
  • The optional placement module gives you an invaluable opportunity to experience the translation industry first-hand.
  • Assessment is on a credit accumulation basis and by written examination, oral examination or extended essay.
  • Successful completion of the taught modules is a precondition for proceeding to a 15,000-word dissertation leading to the MA.
  • We have signed agreements with the ITI and Aston MA programme has been part of the European Masters in Translation Studies network since 2009.
Career prospects


Demand for translators and interpreters is rapidly outstripping supply, as organisations become more globalised and interconnected. The number of people employed in the translation industry has doubled since the year 2000. Technology is not replacing human translators, but helping them improve their performance. You can read just one article exploring the phenomenon here.

If you just want to see some figures, keep reading:

According to a recent survey by the Association of Translation Companies, the UK’s language services industry grew by 7 per cent in 2016 and grossed more than £1.15 billion in 2017.

In the US, the translation industry was expected to increase $5.5 billion in 2018 according to a market report by Ibis Worlds, showing a growth of 4.2 per cent.

With these wonderful prospects, recent destinations for our graduates include working as translators (freelance or in-house), technical editors, software developers, video game localisers, subtitlers, audiovisual translators and translation project managers for translation agencies, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Some of our students who started in the industry as freelance translators, have now set up their own business and become company directors. The optional "Work Placement" module was definitely crucial in helping them enter the business.

Visit us

Come and meet us at Aston University

  • If you would like more information about the course and to visit campus, join us at one of our Open Days.
  • We hold Applicant Visit Days throughout the year. For more information, contact us.
  • If you would like to meet the language staff and find out more about languages in higher education, feel free to email us and set a date to come and visit us.
Contact us

Programme Director: Professor Frank Austermühl

Postgraduate Admissions Team:  Tel: 0121 204 3200 Email:

Register your interest