Translation audio equipment

MA in Translation

This qualification is an exciting opportunity to develop your skills as a professional translator, equipping you to work in the fast-growing translation-services industry. You'll experiment with different genres through practical, inspiring translation activities, and hone your practice through peer review. You'll gain hands-on experience of using tools necessary to operate in this rapidly evolving area (e.g. audiovisual translation or cloud-based translation tools). You'll underpin your work with an understanding of translations theories and debates. The languages offered on this qualification are French, German, Italian, Spanish, Modern Standard Arabic, or Mandarin Chinese, in combination with English.

Key features of the course

  • Choose to translate using either French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese or Modern Standard Arabic – in combination with English.
  • Engage in authentic translation tasks and connect with established translation communities to develop useful employability skills.
  • Have the option to undertake a substantial translation or a more traditional academic dissertation.

The Open University is recognised as a Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) UK HE registered provider and is a Corporate Member of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI). We are also institutional members of the Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the UK and Ireland (APTIS).

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
2–6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

180 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Introduction to translation theory and practice (L801)

This module explores different approaches to translation and you will develop an understanding of the wider cultural, ethical and professional contexts of translation.

See full description

60 03 Feb 2024
Translation in practice (L802)

In this module, you’ll engage in authentic translation tasks and use the latest online translation technologies to translate texts in a range of fields.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Extended translation project/dissertation (L803)

You’ll undertake an extended annotated translation or a dissertation, drawing on your skills and understanding of translation theory and practice.

See full description

60 03 Jun 2023

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our MA in Translation. You’ll be entitled to use the letters MA Trans (Open) after your name.

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 March 2023.

Entry requirements

1If you don’t have an honours degree, talk to an advisor.

2If your first language is English and you’ve passed an OU level 3 module in your second language, your language proficiency should be suitable, as the exit level of our OU level 3 language courses is CEFR C1.

How long it takes

This qualification is designed for 20 hours per week to study part-time. It can be completed in a minimum of two years, up to a maximum of six years.

Career relevance

There is an increasing global demand for translators and language specialists, and this masters degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills to embark on a career as a translator. This is an immensely rewarding profession for those with an interest in languages and communication, and encompasses a wide and growing range of areas, including audio-visual translation, advertising or website localisation, as well as semi-specialised and specialised translation.

If you wish to pursue a career as a translator, be it as an in-house or freelance translator, this masters degree will equip you with necessary professional skills and familiarity with the professional tools needed in this fast-moving field. You will also acquire a raft of highly valued transferable communication and collaborative skills such as peer reviewing and team working, which are useful in a range of occupations in the communications sector.

If you are aiming for an academic career in higher education, this qualification will provide a route towards the higher level research qualification (PhD or EdD), essential for such a career. A Masters degree can help to enhance your career prospects as a teacher in secondary, further and higher education.

If you already have a career in the translation field and are seeking a further qualification as a way to develop your career or as a means to update your skills, then a Masters degree can prove invaluable.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

CIOL UK Registered Provider

The Open University is recognised as a Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) UK HE registered provider. By studying for this qualification you will be entitled to free membership of CIOL as a Student Affiliate. Being a Student Affiliate is the first step on your career ladder to becoming a Chartered Linguist.

Membership of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting

The Open University is a Corporate Member of the Institute of Translation & Interpretation (ITI). As such, we have signed the ITI Code of Professional Conduct and are committed to providing quality training for the translation and interpreting industry. By studying for this qualification you will be eligible for student membership of the ITI.

Membership of the Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the UK and Ireland (APTIS).

The Open University is an Institutional Member of APTIS. Membership of this innovative network allows us to share expertise with our partners as regards the teaching of translation and interpreting studies at UK and Irish HE institutions. We aim to advance education for the public benefit in the UK and Ireland so as to improve the quality of learning and teaching as well as research on translation and interpreting programmes at Higher Education institutions.