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MA Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting

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Course options

Duration: 1 year
Start month(s): October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Language and Linguistics
Fee (Home/EU): £5,950
Fee (International): £14,950

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719

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About the course

MA Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting should interest you if you want to build your language proficiency in Chinese and English and further develop the translation and interpreting techniques that are required by employers.

Building on our internationally recognised expertise in the teaching of practical foreign language skills, our course offers written translation, oral interpreting and film and video subtitling in a single programme. By the end of your studies, you will have developed the practical language and key skills necessary for employment in professional translation, interpreting and subtitling.

Our course will build on the knowledge and skills you acquired in your previous studies, and is unique in the emphasis it places on hands-on training. With the help of native speakers, you learn how to use your language skills to translate, interpret and subtitle effectively, using the latest industry-standard software, in a culturally sensitive way.

You cover topics including:

  • Bilateral, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting
  • Technologies of translation
  • Effective note-taking
  • Written translation
  • Subtitling

We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and among the top 150 departments on the planet (QS World University Rankings).

If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.

Our expert staff

Our staff are internationally renowned. Their books dominate the reading lists at other universities. All our language teachers are native or bilingual speakers, we maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy.

Our lecturers on the MA (Dan Chen, Nan Zhao and Yanxi Wu) are professional interpreters and translators experienced in training students in the necessary skills for professional practice.

Specialist facilities

  • Our new interpreting lab provides 10 booths to interpret conferences with up to 20 interpreters
  • Use our lecture theatre equipped with five interpreting booths, and the capacity to interpret lectures of up to 350 people – we are the only university in the UK with such facilities
  • We regularly use two multimedia language teaching labs equipped with top-of-the-range computers integrating audio-visual projectors and large screens
  • Use specialist software such as SDL Trados Studio 2014 and MemoQ for technical translation, Avidanet Live and Black Box for Interpreting and WinCaps for Subtitling
  • Use our professional recording studios to video record a small audience or for presentations
  • Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
  • Attend our exciting programme of research seminars and other events

Your future

Our course directly leads to a career in translation, interpreting and subtitling, in the media, business and tourism between the English-speaking world and China.

We work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, we also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil. We offer supervision in areas including language acquisition, language learning and language teaching, culture and communication, psycholinguistics, language disorders, sociolinguistics, and theoretical and descriptive linguistics.

One Masters not enough for you?

We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our international partners. You work for two Masters degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious university across the globe, gaining them both in a shorter time than studying them separately. This unique opportunity gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or prepares you for PhD study.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

How do you interpret between two individual speakers, conversing in two different languages that you have studied? Develop your ability to swiftly move between your two main languages on a range of topics. Learn to quickly solve interpretation problems while providing accurate and concise spoken interpretations.

Want to polish your abilities to interpret between Chinese and English? Need further preparation for professional work or exams? Undertake practical activities and tasks so that you produce accurate and concise interpretations. Take part in a mock conference, to improve your interpretation skills and receive feedback on your presentation abilities.

What are your responsibilities when translating or interpreting professionally? What are the contexts in which interpreting can take place? And what tools are available to assist you when translating or interpreting? Examine the issues that face professional translators and interpreters alongside the theoretical concepts and considerations.

Are you proficient in both Chinese and English? Want to build on your practical ability to undertake simultaneous interpreting? Develop a good knowledge of the terminology and typical construction of texts on a range of social, political, economic and business topics. Learn to accurately translate under time pressure.

Are you proficient in both Chinese and English? Want to further your practical ability to undertake simultaneous interpreting? Learn to track speech so that you can produce accurate and concise spoken interpretations. Develop your note-taking to assist others undertaking simultaneous interpretation. Become confident in monitoring the accuracy of other interpreters.

Want to produce accurate and reader-friendly interlingual subtitles? How do you recognise good subtitling? What skills does it require? Develop your understanding of the subtitling process. Learn to use the spotting and word-processing functions of professional subtitling software, while building your proof reading and editing skills.

Want to translate between Chinese and English? Keen to gain technical translation practice? Study a range of technical texts, building your experience of translation in this area. Receive guidance on preparing for such work and understand how to research terminology for technical translation tasks.

Want to translate English and Chinese? Develop your practical abilities to translate between these two languages. Study a range of texts, looking at topics related to society, politics, economics and business, to build your knowledge of the relevant terminology and typical constructions.

Want to consolidate your practical language skills by conducting a project investigating translation, interpreting or subtitling? Work with a supervisor to define specific research questions. Search existing studies for information about your topic. Reflect on the processes involved and learn how to write an extended report on your findings.


  • Teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations and learning by teaching others
  • We run a weekly departmental seminar, attended by both staff and students


  • Your eight one-term modules are assessed by coursework and you are also assessed on your dissertation


  • Your 16,000-word dissertation allows you to focus in-depth on your chosen topic from April onwards
  • Close supervision by a member of staff within our Department

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UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall 2:1.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing

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Visit us

Open days

We host an Open Evening for those interested in postgraduate study with us. Here you’ll be able to discuss our courses with academics, tour the Campus and accommodation and get the answers to all your questions about studying at Essex. Find out more and book your place online.

We also hold several Open Days throughout the year so that you can visit our Colchester Campus and find out more. These Open Days are geared towards undergraduate applicants but whilst you won’t get specific information on your course, you’ll still be able to tour our Campus, meet our students and get a feel for life at Essex. You can get more information and book a place online.

If our dates don’t work for you then don’t worry, you can always book a campus and accommodation tour on a weekday to suit you. Just email to get booked in.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. We have a comprehensive list online so take a look and see if we’ll be near you in the future.


You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.