Undergraduate Course

BA Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation

BA Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation

Overview

The details
Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation
Q911
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus

We live in an increasingly globalised world, defined by its transnational connections. More than ever there is a need to communicate effectively and translate and interpret appropriately. Through studying BA Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation, you will become not only a language expert, ambassador and mediator but also a confident translator.

You will study two languages throughout your course, choosing between; French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Your major language will be studied to Mastery level, your second language to Proficiency level. If you are a heritage speaker – for example, you were raised in an Italian-speaking household but immersed in an English-speaking community and/or education – this course gives you the chance to nurture your language skills and raise your level of competency in your heritage language.

The differentiator for this course opposed to other Modern Language degrees is the emphasis on not only the language and culture of the languages you study, but on the specialised skills in translation and interpreting, subtitling and cultural mediation. You will be learning the principles and practice of translation and interpreting, developing skills in:

  • Cultural awareness - You will be able to understand and respect the cultural differences of the individuals or groups you are working with; understanding different cultural norms, values and beliefs.
  • Conflict resolution - Intercultural mediation often involves resolving conflicts between individuals or groups from different cultures. You will learn skills in conflict resolution techniques, to help the parties involved find common ground and reach mutually acceptable solutions.

You will have the opportunity to practise and refine your skills by translating a variety of written texts and speech types, including audiovisual, generic and specialised ones. Generic texts tend to use lay-language, whereas specialised texts are more specific to a particular field or profession. Examples include:

  • Medical texts: patient information leaflets, medial reports etc.
  • Legal texts: legal codes, case law, contracts and legal opinions
  • Business texts: business plans, annual reports, financial statements and marketing materials
  • Technical texts: manuals, technical reports, engineering documents, scientific papers etc.

Alongside the study of your chosen languages and the specialised modules in translation, interpreting and subtitling, you will also study broader linguistic topics such as multilingualism, sociolinguistics and how the English language is used in the media.

Why we're great.
  • We are 1st in UK for research impact in modern languages and linguistics (Grade Point Average, Research Excellence Framework 2021) so you can feel confident that your lecturers and tutors are at the forefront of research.
  • Focussing your study on modern languages translation, interpreting and cultural mediation will give you the specialised knowledge base needed to stand out to future employers.
  • If you are a heritage speaker – for example, you were raised in an Italian speaking household but immersed in an English-speaking community and/or education – this course gives you the chance to nurture your language skills and raise your level of competency in your heritage language.

Our expert staff

Our staff are internationally recognised for their language research. Their books dominate the reading lists at other universities. We maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy. In addition to helping you acquire practical foreign language skills, our staff share their expertise with you in the areas of theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, and psycholinguistics.

Key staff members on this course include:

  • Ignazia Posadinu: Ignazia is the course director of Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling. She teaches English-Italian translation and interpreting; Technologies of Translation, which includes machine translation and post editing.
  • Lexa Olivera -Smith: Lexa is the course director of Audiovisual and Literary Translation. She lectures in English-Spanish Translation, Audiovisual Translation and Subtitling
  • Dr Beatriz De Paiva: Beatriz is the course director of Translation and Professional Practice., She teaches Portuguese- English Translation and Interpreting and Intercultural Communication: Communicating Across Languages and Cultures
  • Dr Laetitia Vedrenne: Laetitia teaches Principles of Translation and Interpreting and French English interpreting
  • Dr Natalia Rodriguez Vicente: Natalia combines her roles as lecturer of Interpreting and postdoctoral research associate for the INForMHAA project, funded by the UK National Institute for Health and Social Care Research.

Specialist facilities

  • Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
  • Our ‘Visual World' Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
  • Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
  • Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
  • Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
  • A 20-position Interpreting Lab
  • Access to specialist software such as SDL Trados Studio 2022 and MemoQ for technical translation, Televic and Brähler equipment for Interpreting and WinCaps Qu4ntum for Subtitling
  • Extra-curricular activities are available through student societies

Your future

Companies and organisations in the UK and abroad are struggling to find university graduates who are fluent in at least one other language, in addition to English. Being an Essex modern languages graduate places you in a very advantageous position. You will be able to speak and write fluently, or to a very competent standard, in up to two languages. Language skills are in scarce supply and can be used in almost any job.

Career routes from BA Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation include fields such as; marketing, communications, PR and journalism as well as translation, interpreting and subtitling.

Many of our graduates are currently employed in a variety of exciting roles, such as as newspaper editors, project managers, freelance translators, community interpreters, subtitlers and modern language teachers.

We also work with the University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels. If Portuguese is taken as the major language, an A-level pass (or equivalent) in Italian, French, Spanish or Portuguese or first language level fluency in Italian, French, Romanian or Spanish is required.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team at ugquery@essex.ac.uk to request the entry requirements for this country.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. The nature of this course is such that your individual programme will differ depending upon your pre-existing language qualifications/ the language(s) you choose to study during your course.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Concepts of Translation and Cultural Mediation
(30 CREDITS)

In this module, we will introduce you the theories of translation and interpreting, placing and emphasis on theories that explicitly address the intercultural component of translation and interpreting, i.e. understanding translation and interpreting as a form a intercultural communication. An emphasis will also be placed on the selection of materials that will feature a wide range of genres. This is because cultural differences may manifest differently across a variety of text types, for example, literature texts or diplomatic statements. By learning about the cultural background of the material selected, students are encourages to engage in a critical decision-making activity where they are challenged to navigate the nuances across cultural meanings and find the most suitable translation solutions. This module takes you a step further and encourages you to not just be translators or interpreters but intercultural mediators. To this end, text analysis, paraphrasing, condensation and summarising exercises, together with production of oral speeches, presentations (speaking in public) and short essays writing will constitute part of the module content and assessment. These tasks will also improve both language fluency and accuracy. Lectures are dedicated to the introduction of translation and interpreting theory. Seminars are language-specific and dedicated to the practice of translation and interpreting.

View Concepts of Translation and Cultural Mediation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Language Expert 1
(30 CREDITS)

This introductory module provides a foundation of key concepts relating to languages, language learning and intercultural communication. It develops language awareness and complements the skills required for language-specific modules.

View Language Expert 1 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Major Language (Post A-Level) option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics
(0 CREDITS)

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Grammar and Pragmatics for Translation
(15 CREDITS)

In this module you will be introduced to key concepts of grammar and pragmatics and how they relate to the translation processes, particularly to making appropriate language choices. You will learn to analyse grammatical and pragmatic features of source texts in English, identify translation challenges (e.g. lack of grammatical equivalence) and select the strategies and techniques most suitable to overcome these difficulties. As this is a module designed for all students on the degree, irrespective of your target language, you will concentrate on grammatical and pragmatic features in English and contrast them with features of your target languages.

View Grammar and Pragmatics for Translation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Practice of Translation and Cultural Mediation I
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Semantics and Pragmatics: Meaning and Discourse
(15 CREDITS)

What is 'meaning' as it relates to words and sentences? How is the meaning of a sentence affected by the context it is produced in? These are the fundamental issues you will address in this module. You will examine the relationship between what is said and what is meant, with the first part of the course looking at basic issues in Semantics. The second part of the course will examine the distinction between a speaker's words and what a speaker means by those words – the domain of pragmatics.

View Semantics and Pragmatics: Meaning and Discourse on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Major Language: (Proficiency) option from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

Minor Language: (Post A-Level or above) option from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

Option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics
(0 CREDITS)

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Abroad Module 120 Credits
(120 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Modern Languages Capstone Project
(30 CREDITS)

What fascinates you? Want to undertake independent study on one or more of your languages? Produce a dissertation, in a foreign language, on a topic of your choice. Remember your dissertation could take the form of a treatise, a translation with commentary, or a piece of video subtitling with commentary.

View Modern Languages Capstone Project on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Practice of Translation and Cultural Mediation II
(30 CREDITS)

This module is to help you refine and consolidate the skill and strategies learned in the 1st and 2nd year of the course: public speaking, specialised translation, consecutive and bilateral interpreting. You will be experiencing a systematic approach to note taking for interpreting, alongside further aspect of Pragmatics and Interpreting ethics applied to business and public service scenarios. Introduction to technologies of translation to enhance and speed up the translation process will also be part of this module. In the AU term you will also be introduced to aspects of Audiovisual Translation and learn the foundations of subtitling skills. In the practical, language specific seminar classes, students will be discussing and finding solutions for the translation of technical as well as literary texts, they will be practicing note taking for interpreting in business and public service setting as well as practicing consecutive and dialogic interpreting. The translation and interpreting tasks will be quite specialised and therefore this module will be drawing on perspectives borrowed from multiple disciplines to find a transdisciplinary framework that helps to compare cultures: frameworks in psychology, anthropology, international business, applied linguistics and discourse studies.

View Practice of Translation and Cultural Mediation II on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Major language: (Mastery) option from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Minor language: (Proficiency or above) option from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics
(0 CREDITS)

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

Teaching

Undergraduate students studying English Language and Linguistics modules would typically attend a two-hour teaching event for each module every week. Seminars would usually have about 20 students.

Undergraduate students studying Modern Languages modules would typically involve two to three hours of classes per week (but note that the intensive language modules would involve four to five hours of classes per week). Classes usually contain up to 20 students within each group.

  • Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminar sessions or discussion classes
  • State-of-the-art technologies and materials create an ideal learning environment
  • Activities designed to develop your practical language skills, such as role-play and class presentations
  • Cultural and social themes are explored through film, music, the internet, theatre and literature

Assessment

  • You're assessed through a combination of coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations.
  • Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our 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 book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 17 August 2024 - Colchester Clearing Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

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

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of 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. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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