Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about the MA in Translation Theory and Practice:
Q: Which language combinations does the MA offer?
A: We offer only a limited number of language combinations: French; German; Italian; Danish, Norwegian and Swedish; Dutch; Hebrew; and Russian. The courses involving French, the Scandinavian languages and Dutch cover translation into English only, not the other way round. The German and Italian courses involve translation practice in both directions. The Hebrew course covers primarily reading skills, and the Russian course is an advanced language course; here translation is only one aspect among others.
Q: Can I apply for the MA in Translation Theory and Practice if I don’t have one of the languages covered by the language-specific courses (Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish)?
A: Yes, you can. You can put together a programme on the basis of all the other courses on offer. If you are keen to include an element of practical translation into the programme, you can still write a dissertation consisting of an annotated translation from or into, say, Italian or Spanish – indeed just about any European language; or you can write a dissertation involving a case study of one or more translations from or into your language.
Q: Can I apply for the MA in Translation Theory and Practice if I don’t want to follow one of the language-specific translation courses (i.e. the courses involving French, German, Dutch, Hebrew, Russian or a Scandinavian language)?
A: Yes. You can put together a programme on the basis of the other courses on offer and, if you wish, still write a dissertation involving one or more of these languages (e.g. as part of a comparative study of different translations). If you are keen to include an element of practical translation but don’t want to follow one of the language-specific courses, you can still write a dissertation consisting of an annotated translation.
Q: Do I need to send a sample of writing when I apply for the MA in Translation Theory and Practice?
A: No. The application form does not ask for a sample of writing, so this is not required. You should however feel free to send one if you wish. In any case, if at some point in the application procedure we feel we need to see a sample of your work, we will ask for one.
Q: Is the MA programme intended only for native speakers of English?
A: No. The general UCL conditions for entry require that you have a command of English sufficient to enable you to copy with studying for a degree programme that uses English as its medium of instruction. That does not mean that English has to be your native language. The requirements for admission for the MA in Translation Theory and Practice stipulate that you need competence in at least one language other than English; this can be your native language.
If you choose a course involving practical translation from Dutch, French, German or a Scandinavian language into English, you should be aware that they require a high level of proficiency in English.
Questions about Research in Translation Studies
Q: What kind of topic can I propose as a research project?
A: In principle you can propose any topic you like. If we have the relevant expertise available, we will consider it. The list of staff and their research interests and the list of recent and current theses, both on this site, give an indication of the kind of translation research being conducted at UCL.
Q: Should I send a sample of writing when I apply for admission as a research student in Translation Studies?
A: The application form does not ask for a sample of writing, so this is not required. However, when you apply for a place as a research student, it is a good idea to enclose a sample of writing, e.g. your MA dissertation or another fairly substantial piece of work demonstrating your potential as a researcher.
Q: Do I need a concrete project proposal when I apply for admission as a research student in Translation Studies?
A: You will certainly need a research proposal. The more concrete and specific you can make it, the better. If you have only a broad idea of the kind of project you would like to work on, send it to the programme coordinator and ask for advice. Do this before you formally apply.
Q: What should a research proposal contain?
A: The proposal should contain the following:
- a statement of the aims and scope of your project (what do you intend to investigate? what are the questions informing the project? what texts do you mean to base your investigation on?);
- a paragraph on the approach and methodology you intend to adopt (with some indication why this approach is appropriate for the topic you want to investigate);
- a brief discussion of relevant research that has already been conducted on your topic, together with an indication of what your particular project is likely to contribute to the existing state of knowledge;
- a brief bibliography, properly organized and presented.
Q: How long should a research proposal be?
A: There is no standard or required length, but something between 3 and 5 pages would normally be expected.
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