MSc Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting

The course

Full-time, Part-time
Course type
Entry date

Heriot-Watt University's Masters degree in Interpreting and Translating is the most established in Scotland and this programme allows those with proficient ability in Chinese and English to develop professional translation and interpreting skills.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


September 2023 entry

The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 31st August 2023. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 1st August 2023.

MSc Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting

MSc Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting is a twin-focus masters degree which will prepare you for an exciting, international career as a professional translator and interpreter from Chinese-English and vice-versa.

This specialist programme develops a necessary balance of theoretical knowledge and professional language skills, with options to study intercultural communication or international politics and organisations alongside your translation and interpreting courses.

Professional skills

Studying MSc Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting at Heriot-Watt University will give you access to our excellent facilities, which include professional-standard translation and interpreting labs.

You will be taught by professional interpreters and translators and your learning will focus on developing a professional expertise in areas such as:

  • Technical and scientific translation
  • Subtitling and audio-visual translation
  • Use of Computer Aided Translation tools
  • Sight translation
  • Simultaneous interpreting
  • Consecutive interpreting and note taking

You will develop these skills to a proficient standard and learn about the different approaches and skillsets required from interpreters when working in distinct professional contexts such as healthcare, court and legal, educational and conference interpreting.

Professional-standard classrooms

Our state-of-the-art language labs and suite of simultaneous interpreting booths will provide you with the ideal setting in which to perfect your translating and interpreting skills to professional standards.

Our Interpreting Booths are modelled on those used by the United Nations, the European Union and the Scottish Parliament, whilst Translation Labs provide access to industry-standard software such as TRADOS, a computer aided translation memory tool and WinCAPS, the professional subtitling tool.

Your practical interpreting and translating skills will be developed through a combination of practice seminars, lectures, masterclasses, and workshops and virtual classes delivered by our external partners. In addition to regular practice seminars in your chosen language combinations, you will attend mock conferences throughout semester 2 to practice simultaneous interpreting, relay, event chairing and public speaking for a real audience including lecturers and peers.

You will also fine-tune your conference interpreting skills on a larger scale at the annual Heriot-Watt University Multilingual Debate. This is a formal debate between two multilingual teams which is watched by thousands of school-aged languages pupils from across the United Kingdom.

Taught by the experts

You will be taught by a team of highly-qualified researchers, educators and practising professionals who bring knowledge, expertise and guidance to the classroom.

A true blend of academic and professional expertise helps our programme maintain its position at the fore-front of industry practice and means you gain practical insights into the careers of successful interpreters and translators on a daily basis.

Links with industry

By studying on our MSc Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting you will gain access to an ever-growing international network of employers who recognise the high standard of skills and expertise of Interpreting and Translating graduates.

These industry links contribute to our SWATI Day (Starting Work as a Translator or Interpreter), an industry-focussed conference which brings key figures from industry to Heriot-Watt University for a day of professional guidance and networking.

Graduate destinations

This degree has a strong focus on career preparation, so our graduates are sought after and respected across the translation and interpreting industries.

Recent graduates from our interpreting and translation degrees have progressed to the following careers:

  • In-house translator
  • Freelance conference interpreter
  • Founder of translation and interpreting agency
  • Courtroom interpreter
  • National Health Service interpreting head

You will also be equipped with the transferable skills and qualities necessary to build successful careers as project managers, copywriters, editors, media specialists and educators, especially in settings where Chinese language and intercultural knowledge is beneficial.


Heriot-Watt University's MSc Interpreting and Translating is regarded as one of the strongest degree programmes of its kind by many within the industry. This is reflected in our professional membership of Conférence Internationale Permanente d'Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes (CIUTI) a multinational organisation of universities which is dedicated to upholding a standard of excellence in the teaching of interpreting and translating.

CIUTI recognition is a guarantee that the course content, teaching and examinations are conducted at the highest standard. It is a mark of quality which is recognised by major international employers of interpreters and translators.

Chinese Interpreting Student

I really enjoyed the weekly the mini-conference on the degree. In these sessions, we created a real working environment in the interpreting labs so that we know what we are going to face as a professionals. Bringing students together from different language combinations, we learnt from each other's interpreting and gave advice. And, it's not just about practicing the skills, we also discussed topics of interest and exchanged our thoughts

Mo Fan, International Operations, Chinese Real Estate Company

Course content

Semester 1


  • Skills for Interpreting
  • Translation Practice I
  • Translation and Interpreting Studies


One from:

  • Liaison and Public Service Interpreting
  • International Politics and Organisations
  • Business Communication 1: Communication in the Workplace
  • Intercultural Communication in the Workplace
  • Subtitling
  • Translation Technologies

Semester 2


  • Research Methods
  • Conference Interpreting
  • Translation Practice II
  • Introduction to the Translation and Interpreting Professions

Semester 3

Dissertation in Chinese-English Translating and Interpreting

Entry requirements

  1. Native/near-native command of English plus native/near-native command of Chinese
  2. A good degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Aptitude test

Suitable applicants will be invited to undertake a short online translation test and an interview. The interview includes a discussion of the applicant’s background and motivation, a short presentation of a current affairs topic in Chinese, and a verbal rendering in English of a short text written in Chinese. 


Additional fees information

Tuition fees for this degree will be published soon. Contact us using the form above with any enquiries.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.