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The award
MSc

How long you will study
12 months

Domestic course fees
GBP 6960

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
GBP 15120

All study options

About Interpreting and Translating at Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University is home to the most established Interpreting and Translating Masters degree programme in Scotland and is proud to have the largest suite of Interpreting and Translating labs of any Higher Education Institute in Europe.

Our Interpreting and Translating MSc programme is a uniquely twin-focus degree which will prepare you for an exciting, international career as a professional translator and interpreter in the following languages combined with English:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

This globally recognised programme has been tailored to meet the needs of industry and will allow you to develop the ideal balance of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Your learning will focus on developing a professional standard of expertise in specific areas of interpreting and translation 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
  • Sight interpreting

You will develop these skills to the highest 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.

Practice in a professional setting

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 suite of interpreting booths is the largest owned by any Higher Education Institution in Europe and have been recently refurbished and modelled on those used by the United Nations, the European Union and the Scottish Parliament.

Our interpreting booths and translation labs allow you to put your theoretical knowledge of language and culture into practice and develop crucial real-world technical experience with industry-standard software such as TRADOS, a computer aided translation memory tool and WinCAPS, the professional subtitling tool. The ability to master these tools is essential for all modern translators and interpreters.

Your practical interpreting and translating skills will be put to the test in our language labs with around 15 hours of academic contact per week and through weekly mini-conferences where up to 5 languages are spoken by around 20 - 30 students and teachers.

You will 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.

Academic and professional expertise

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

This blend of academic and professional expertise helps our programme maintain its position at the fore-front of industry practice and ensures that you will gain practical insights into the careers of successful interpreters and translators on an almost daily basis.

See beneath Course Descriptions below for brief profiles on our senior academics and lecturers on this programme.

Industry links: An international network

By studying on our MSc Interpreting and Translating programme 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 help us offer students our SWATI Day (Starting Work as a Translator or Interpreter), an industry-focussed conference event which brings key figures from industry to Heriot-Watt University for a day of professional guidance and networking.

Our graduates are given access to exclusive internship opportunities with organisations such as IAMZ, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza in Spain, which gives four MSc students with a proficient level of Spanish the opportunity to take up partly Erasmus-funded 3 month Simultaneous Interpreting placements in Spain. 

Graduate destinations

Our hands-on, professional standard experience of interpreting and translating is the ideal preparation for industry and ensures that our graduates are widely sought after and respected across the industry.

Many recent graduates of this programme have gone on to build successful careers in areas such as:

  •          In-house Translator
  •          Freelance conference Interpreter
  •          Founder of Translation and Interpreting Agency
  •          Courtroom Interpreter 
  •          National Health Service Interpreting Head

Recent Interpreting and Translating graduates have also been equipped with the transferable skills and qualities necessary to build successful careers as project managers, copywriters, editors, media specialists and educators.

Language combinations

In the practical translating and interpreting courses students opt for one of two 'strands', corresponding to their chosen languages:

Strand A

Study of English + one other language from Chinese, French, German or Spanish. Students work in both directions between the two languages chosen.

Strand B

Study of English + two foreign languages from French, German, Spanish, or Chinese. Students on this strand work from the two chosen languages into English.

Programme duration

Mode of StudyMScPG Diploma
Full-time12 months9 months
Part-time24 month21 months

Professional recognition

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. 

Our CIUTI recognition is a guarantee that the course content, teaching and examinations on our Interpreting and Translating programme are conducted at the highest standard and it is a mark of quality which is recognised by major international employers of interpreters and translators.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 6960International course feesGBP 15120
  • The awardMScHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 6960International course feesGBP 15120
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study9 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 6960International course feesGBP 15120
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study21 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 6960International course feesGBP 15120

Notes about fees for this course

Status*Full-timePart-timePer course
Scotland / Non-UK EU£6,960£3,480£870
England / Northern Ireland / Wales£6,960£3,480£870
Overseas£15,120£7,560£1,890

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

** Fee per course

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 taught scholarships.

Entry requirements

Strand A

  • Native / near-native command of English plus native / near-native command of Chinese, French, German, or Spanish
  • Good degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.
  • Strand B

  • Native / near-native command of English plus an excellent command of two from French, German, Spanish, Arabic or Chinese.
  • Good degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.
  • Entrance tests

    Suitable applicants will be invited for interview and to undertake a short test.

    English language requirements

    Non-native speakers of English must provide evidence of their English language ability. This must be IELTS 7.0, or equivalent, with at least 6.5 in all components. A score of 6.0 in writing may be accepted if the applicant performs well at interview and test.

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