MA Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling in a nutshell

The University of Essex offers a 12-months Master called Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling (MA TIS in short).

The MA does not focus just on one of the three subjects, but it aims to the formation of professionals who will be able to work as translators, interpreters or subtitlers right after the end of the studies.

12 months

The 12 months are divided in three parts: the autumn and winter semesters, when you have lessons and seminars, and the summer semester, when you write your dissertation.

The master ends in mid-September, when the dissertation is due. This will be marked in the following months and you will receive your results by December.

Lectures end in March, before the Easter holiday. That week you will have your exams and after that you will have to write two essays for mid-April. All the other courses have their exams after the Easter break or in June. The bright side of having the exams earlier is that you can actually enjoy the Easter break and from that moment on you just have to focus on your dissertation.


Lectures & seminars

The Master is 90% practice, with just one module on the theory of translation and interpreting, in the first semester. To complete the master it is necessary to take 8 modules, divided per discipline.

Translation: you will have one module in the first semester and one in the second.

Interpreting: same as for translation. The modules will focus on Consecutive Interpreting.

Subtitling: there is only one complete module about the subject, but it’s perfectly sufficient to learn the basics. Students can also decide to take one of the extra modules in subtitling.

SDL Trados practice: there is one compulsory module in the first semester, but I do recommend to also take the second one in the second semester.

One module can be chosen between 4 different options (3 theoretical and one practical in Trados).



Personally, I was terrified by the possibility of writing essays for each one of the modules. Likely, students have to write just 4 essays in the entire year: two Translation Portfolios, one essay for Principles of Translation and one for Subtitling.

The rest of the exams are practical: using of Trados and interpreting exams.



The dissertation must be 16,000 words long, and can be on one of the 3 different subjects of the master: translation, interpreting or subtitling.

In the first case, the dissertation must include a translation of 8,000 words.

For the interpreting dissertation you participate to mock conference, that will be recorded.

For the subtitling dissertation it is necessary to subtitle a 1 hour video.

For every dissertation type, you should work from your L2 to your L1.

It is also possible to apply for a Work-based Dissertation in a translation company. In this case you will sign a Tripartite Agreement between you, the university and your employer who will provide you with the words necessary for the dissertation. The final result will be really similar to a portfolio.





5 thoughts on “MA Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling in a nutshell

  1. Thank you very much for the informative article, it’s just what I was looking for. I am waiting for a reply from the University of Essex to see if I got accepted in the same course. Is finding a place to live difficult / expensive? Any fun places (live music, activities, etc)! All the best!

    1. Hi Nicolae! Thank you for your nice message! There are more articles in the same section that might be interesting! I’ll write more based on people’s question, so keep tuned!

      1. Yes, I commented before I looked. Your blog is great, thank you for all the info (Also I live in Portsmouth too, haha)

  2. Hi, it’s me again. Just an update, I have started the course now and they have introduced online quizzes as a form of assessment, along with essays and everything else.

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