MA (Hons) Modern Languages (Interpreting and Translating)

The course

UCAS code
RR12/RR14/RR24/RLCF/RLCG/RLCS/RLSL/Q193/Q194/Q195
Duration
4 years
Location
Edinburgh
Delivery type
Full-time

Heriot-Watt University has taught interpreting and translating for over 50 years. Study two languages from British Sign Language, Chinese, French, German and Spanish and combine highly employable, specialist skills in interpreting and translating.

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Overview

We are ranked 2nd for German, 2nd for Iberian Languages and 3rd for French in Scotland by the Complete University Guide 2022.

MA (Hons) Modern Languages (Interpreting and Translating) allows you to study two languages to degree level and spend a year abroad on placement with two of Heriot-Watt University's partner universities, immersed in your studied languages and cultures.

Study two languages from:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • British Sign Language

UCAS Codes and Language Combinations

  • French and German - UCAS Code: RR12
  • French and Spanish - UCAS Code: RR14
  • German and Spanish - UCAS Code: RR24
  • Chinese and French - UCAS Code: RLCF
  • Chinese and German - UCAS Code: RLCG 
  • Chinese and Spanish - UCAS Code: RLCS
  • BSL and Chinese – UCAS Code: RLSL
  • BSL and French – UCAS Code: Q193
  • BSL and German – UCAS Code: Q194
  • BSL and Spanish - UCAS Code: Q195

Applied language skills

In addition to British Sign language courses, Chinese courses, French courses, German courses or Spanish courses, you will learn applied language studies for which Heriot-Watt University is best known, developing highly employable abilities in interpreting and translating.

You will study your chosen languages to an advanced level, learning in small class sizes in our unrivalled language teaching facilities. Gain practical experience in our refurbished interpreting booths, which are modelled on those used by the United Nations and European Parliament, and our computer labs with state-of-the-art Computer Aided Translation tools, as used by professional translators.

In Year 1, if it is necessary, we offer intensive language courses to help bring you up to speed in your second non-native language. This tried and tested approach ensures you will be able to use your interpreting and translating skills in two non-native languages by the time you graduate. Year 2 introduces regular classes on simultaneous interpreting and advances your language skills further.

Year 3 is spent abroad on exchange placements with our partner institutions or working in the Sign Language community if studying BSL. This is a unique opportunity to spend a year living and studying, immersed in your chosen languages and cultures. In Year 4 you will study advanced interpreting and translating skills and learn about political contexts and organisations.

Transferable professional skills

Our Modern Languages Interpreting and Translating degree will prepare you for careers requiring the practical application of advanced language, communication and intercultural skills and it will teach you about the wider professional contexts in which you will use these skills.

For example, you will learn about the unique interpreting approaches required for various professional contexts, such as: health care situations, business situations, legal contexts, or for conferences.

Accreditation

The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies is a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

We are also official higher education partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists – a professional body that maintains the highest standards for practising interpreters and translators: Chartered Institute of Linguists

In addition, we are founding members of CIUTI, the world’s oldest and most prestigious international association of universities who train interpreters and translators: CIUTI

Course content

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Language and Intercultural Studies
  • Language 1: Intermediate (1)
  • Language 2: Intermediate or Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (1)
  • Elective unless doing Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (1)

Semester 2

  • Introduction to World History and Culture
  • Language 1: Intermediate (2)
  • Language 2: Intermediate or Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (2)
  • Elective unless doing Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (2)

Language 2: Intensive for Beginners is for students with little or no knowledge of a second foreign language and is the equivalent of two standard, 15 credit, courses. Those sitting this course do not take an elective in Year 1.

Language 1 = British Sign Language, Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Language 2 = British Sign Language, Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Societies and Institutions in Contemporary Europe
  • Language 1: Advanced (1)
  • Language 2: Advanced (1)
  • Elective

Semester 2

  • General Linguistics
  • Language 1: Advanced (2)
  • Language 2: Advanced (2)
  • Elective 

Language 1 = British Sign Language, Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Language 2 = British Sign Language, Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Year 3

Students taking 2 languages complete two five-month placements - one per language studied - studying at partner universities in countries where their foreign languages are spoken. Those studying BSL will spend one semester working in the BSL community.

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Dissertation (1)
  • Translation and Language Proficiency (1)
  • Advanced Interpreting Skills (1)
  • International Politics and Organisation

Semester 2

  • Dissertation (2)
  • Translation and Language Proficiency (2)
  • Advanced Interpreting Skills (2)
  • Option
Optional courses:
  • Translation and Interpreting Studies
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Sustainable Development and Intercultural Context
  • National Perspectives and EU Context

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Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (A in main language)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB (B in main language)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (HL 5 in main language)
  • BTEC DDM 
  • HNC B in graded unit 
  • HND BB

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (B in main Language)
  • A-Levels BCC (B in main Language)

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

Our language degrees include a compulsory year abroad at Level 3 so the normal entry route for all languages courses is to Year 1 for a four-year honours course. However, candidates with outstanding Advanced Highers or A-Level results may be considered on an individual basis. 

  • A-Level: ABB with A in main language
  • Advanced Higher: BB with B in main Language and AABB at Higher

Year 3

As our languages courses include a compulsory year abroad at Level 3, the normal entry route for all languages courses is to Year 1 of a four-year honours course. However, candidates with outstanding Advanced Highers or A-Level results may be considered on an individual basis.

Additional information

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2022 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £16,000

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.