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MA Translation and Literature

Why we're great

  • We offer interdisciplinary studies from our Departments of Language and Linguistics, and Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
  • We offer easy access to multimedia language teaching labs and to specialist translation software
  • Our lecturers come from all corners of the world – they impart their expertise in areas of professional translation

Course options

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

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

Should translated literature be entirely faithful to the original text, or should the translation be creative in its attempt not to lose the poetry of the work? How can translation account for double entendre or other wordplay? Is it possible to translate experimental literature which ignores conventional grammar rules?

Building on the internationally recognised expertise of both our Departments of Language and Linguistics, and our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, our MA Translation and Literature course will allow you to further specialise in literature and general translation. In the second term you will also learn techniques of professional literary translation. You develop your own personal translation skills, allowing you to translate a literary work accurately and creatively from one language to another for your dissertation.

Our course involves English and one of French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. You can be a native or near-native speaker of any of these languages, as you learn to translate to and from both languages. You work with native speakers in developing your ability to move accurately and quickly between your chosen language and English.

Explore our hands-on, practical modules, including:

  • Principles of Translation
  • US and Caribbean literatures in dialogue
  • Translation Portfolios
  • Technologies of Translation

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.

"My year at Essex was just perfect. Lessons were interesting and captivating, the teachers were all professional and talented, we were always having fun. In the year, I learned a lot professionally and personally."

Antonella Alterio, MA Translation and Literature

Our expert staff

Our linguistics staff are internationally renowned. Their books populate the reading lists at other universities. MA teaching staff have extensive experience as translators and interpreters as well as in teaching. We maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and our programme combines practical skills training with the study of linguistics modules like Pragmatics and Language Rights wherever there is synergy.

Our lecturers come from around the world: France (Sandrine Perrin, Laetitia Vedrenne), Belgium (Dounia Bissar), Germany (Claudia Nehmzow, Emma Hopper), Italy, (Ignazia Posadinu, Daniela Carboni), Brazil (Beatriz de Paiva), Spain (Teresa Torres, Gemma Martinez-Garrido), Cuba (Lexa Olivera-Smith), China (Dan Chen, YanxiWu and Nan Zhao), and the UK (Jessie Mallinson). They will share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation.

Within our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, Professor Karin Littau specialises in book and film history, reception, adaptation and translation studies, and is especially interested in the effects of print, cinematograph, and computers on practices of reading, writing and translation. Dr Clare Finburgh has translated several plays from French into English, and worked as dramaturg for productions of British plays in France, and French works in the UK.

Specialist facilities

  • We regularly use several 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 2015 , MemoQ and Memsource for technical translation, and WinCaps for Subtitling
  • Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
  • Meet other language enthusiasts through our student-run Linguistics Society
  • Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society or at the department’s Myth Reading Group
  • Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
  • Attend our exciting programme of research seminars and other events

Your future

If you love literature and languages and would like to learn to translate literature professionally, then our MA Translation and Literature is for you. Takers of our courses in translation can use the skills gained to further their future career in this area.

You develop a range of key employability skills including researching, writing for specific purposes, and translation. Our course typically leads to a career in translation, but could also lead to a career in education, publishing and administration.

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.

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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

Do you want to be a professional translator? Undertake translation assignments and tasks that develop your ability to translate between English and German. Build your practical understanding of preparing for translation and develop techniques that will aid your future translation work.

Do you want to be a professional translator? Undertake translation assignments and tasks that develop your ability to translate between English and German. Build your practical understanding of preparing for translation and develop techniques that will aid your future translation work.

Do you want to be a professional translator? Undertake translation of a variety of texts to develop your ability to translate between English and Spanish. Build your practical understanding of preparing for translation and develop techniques that will aid your future translation work.

Do you want to be a professional translator? Undertake translation of a variety of texts to develop your ability to translate between English and Spanish. Build your practical understanding of preparing for translation and develop techniques that will aid your future translation work.

Do you want to be a professional translator? Undertake translation of a variety of texts to develop your ability to translate between English and Italian. Build your practical understanding of preparing for translation and develop techniques that will aid your future translation work.

Do you want to be a professional translator? Undertake translation of a variety of texts to develop your ability to translate between English and Italian. Build your practical understanding of preparing for translation and develop techniques that will aid your future translation work.

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.

Want hands-on experience of the key technologies that aid translation today? Become a confident user of CAT (computer aided translation) in the translation environment. Practice and develop your translation and editing skills via our practical workshops, so that you are familiar with all stages of the translation process.

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.

What inspires a writer? How do you develop your idea? What about plotting, character, structure and setting? Explore the general principles of developing a novel from initial inspiration to final draft. Undertake practical exercises to find out which writing methods best suit you and your ideas.

How do spaces become places? What is the significance of place names? How can culture spread geographically? Answer questions like these by exploring the local culture of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, which has featured in work by some of the country’s greatest artists.

How did the Oulipo (Workshop of Potential Literature) make a unique contribution to world literature? How can the group’s impact be seen in innovative writing practice? Explore Oulipan practice across a variety of writing, including poetry, performance, the novel, the short story, autobiography, the essay, cartoons, cookery, aphorisms and theatre.

Beginning with readings from a selection of seminal poets with Essex connections such as Robert Lowell and Douglas Oliver, this module explores significant areas of contemporary poetic practice through workshops, seminars and guest readings, with a particular emphasis on linguistically innovative poetries. Topics include manifestos, procedural poetry and the sonnet. At the same time, and in keeping with the spirit of creative writing at Essex, the module explores intergeneric areas of practice, where poetic practice crosses with other areas such as narrative and translation.

What are the challenges when researching Shakespeare? What about other early-modern literature? Explore major critical approaches linked to key Shakespeare texts. Gain in-depth knowledge of works, their contexts and critical achievements. Build your own research skills, with training in archival research alongside mastering of a range of resources.

What research skills are needed to analyse eighteenth-century literature? How did Georgian theatre architecture affect Romantic drama? Study in situ (at The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, the UK’s only surviving Regency theatre). Learn the cultural, historical and social contexts and theories relevant to eighteenth-century literature and drama.

How have relations between literature and film changed over the years? Is it a hostile relationship or mutually enriching? How have they adapted to each other? Study the relationship between literature and film from the nineteenth-century to today, where books, movies and comics continually feed off and into each other.

What do we mean by documentary? How does documentary feed into our ongoing fascination with reality? Examine non-fiction films and more recent hybrids, such as mockumentaries, reality TV and real-life programming. Examine avant-garde filmmaking approaches in relation to how we perceive and question reality and real-life stories.

Want to produce fiction films? Eager for hands-on experience, plus an understanding of the theoretical concepts? Our script-to-screen module covers conceptual research, script development, visual language and practical realisation. Work on a group film, receiving technical training on auditioning and directing, lighting for camera, art direction and film editing.

Want to work in film? Keen to perfect your technical skills? Want to understand the business of film production? Attend master classes by industry professionals that focus on the craft of filmmaking. Develop your technical knowledge of cinematography, directing and editing/postproduction. Realise where you want to be in the industry.

How has African-American writing shaped US culture? And how has it often been at the forefront of literary experiment? Examine fiction and poetry that moved the African-American experience from the literary margins to cultural prominence. Understand literary developments, and how these link to broader historical, social and theoretical changes.

Why do we traditionally identify North America and Europe as modern? And then see the Caribbean or Africa as non-modern? Investigate American literature more broadly, gaining knowledge of the crucial (but often neglected) interconnections between Caribbean and North American history. Rethink the “American” paradigm and modernity creatively and critically.

How do US writers imagine and represent the Caribbean? And vice versa? Deepen knowledge of American literature by examining poetic, fictional, nonfictional and dramatic works in a broader context. Investigate contemporary issues like the American Dream, what it means to be from the Americas, migration, and the question of language.

Wilderness. Activism. Extinction. What is the relationship between literature and the environment, and how has it changed over time? How does imaginative thought connect with scientific understanding? Study leading environmental theorists alongside literary works from the Romantic period to postmodernity, while optional film screenings enhance your study of written texts.

Teaching

  • We use a variety of teaching methods including lectures, workshops and demonstrations
  • Courses include both compulsory and optional modules, so the course can be tailored to fit your interests and aspirations
  • Lab sessions using translation software

Assessment

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

Dissertation

  • Your 16,000-word dissertation allows you to focus i- depth on your chosen topic from April onwards

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Qualifications

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 pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.5 in writing

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2016 we have a fortnight-worth of activities for postgraduates (in February and March). These events give you the opportunity to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

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.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

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.