Taught programmes (CTS)

MA Conference Interpreting & Translation Studies (MACITS) / Postgraduate Diploma in Conference Interpreting (PGDCI)

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These two flexible, one-year programmes offer you the opportunity to develop the high-level interpreting and translation skills which you will need as a professional in the Language Services Industry. 

The focus of both programmes is to provide students with a comprehensive conference interpreting training during which they will be able to develop general interpreting, active listening, consecutive and note-taking skills (semester 1), as well as specialised consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills (semester 2).

As a programme included in the AIIC Interpreting Schools and Programmes Directory, the Leeds interpreting programme follows best practices that are recommended by the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and enjoys close ties with the UN. We are regulated by a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Leeds and the Directorate General for Interpretation and Conferences of the European Parliament in recognition of the excellence in the training of conference interpreters. We also receive pedagogical assistance from the European Commission's Directorate General for Interpretation (DG SCIC).

The University of Leeds has built a solid reputation in the market of offering top UK programmes in conference interpreting, as recognised by International Organisations such as the EU and the UN. As an example, in 2014, graduates from our interpreting programmes had the highest pass rate of all UK universities at the EU interpreting accreditation exams.

Our long-standing collaborations with International Organisations, combined with the excellent relationships we enjoy with professional organisations such as the Institute for Translation and Interpreting (ITI), not to mention our state-of-the art interpreting suites, ensure that you have plenty of opportunities to learn and develop as an interpreter and translator while at Leeds.

What is the difference between MACITS and PGDCI?

MACITS students are required to complete a total of 180 credits. You will have to take modules in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, specialised translation and translation theory, and undertake a summer project (dissertation or extended translation).

PGDCI students are taught alongside MACITS students and take advantage of the same facilities and training opportunities, but they are only required to enrol in two thirds of the credit total of MACITS (120 credits). This programme lasts nine months and focuses solely on conference interpreting; translation modules are optional and there is no summer project. The programme is suitable for those who already have some professional experience or a postgraduate qualification in translation.

Language combination
In order to cater for the requirements of the profession, we offer two possible training scenarios for both programmes:
  • Two-languages (ACC): students train to interpret from two foreign languages (C languages) into English (A language) only. For example, you might work from French and German or from Spanish and Portuguese into English.
  • Bidirectional (AB): students train to interpret both ways between one foreign language and English. For example, you might work from English into Chinese and from Chinese into English, or both ways between Italian and English.

Why interpreting?

Training as an interpreter provides you with the opportunity to develop your language skills in a professional context and embark on a career that is very competitive and extremely rewarding.

Although the market for interpreting services varies from country to country, qualified and professional interpreters are in high demand and can end up working for international organisations such as the EU or the UN, or on the private market.

Both our interpreting programmes are designed to enable you to acquire advanced interpreting skills which you can apply in a professional capacity. 

How is the programme distinctive?

Core training: In addition to translation theory and specialised translation, these programmes aim to provide students with training in conference interpreting. The core modules in interpreting will allow you to develop general interpreting, active listening, note-taking and consecutive interpreting skills (semester 1), as well as more specific consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills (semester 2).

Students enrolled with an AB language combination can also benefit from Retour Interpreting, a core module Retour Interpreting specially tailored for their needs. The CTS at Leeds has established itself as high-level training centre on retour interpreting. So much so, in fact, that Leeds has been repeatedly selected to provide retour interpreting training to professional EU interpreters.

To ensure training in a variety of areas relevant in both a business context and IOs, students will be working on different topics every week. These include, among others, finance, trade, the EU and the UN.

From the first day of semester one, students will enjoy access to state-of-the-art interpreting suites equipped with both single and double booths. The programmes also involve mock conferences (semester 2), where interpreting students will be able to put their skills to the test in a simulated professional environment. These situations will also provide our students with a taste of a professional setting, where many languages and different accents may be used.

In addition, students will be offered the opportunity to take part in a study visit to the European institutions (Parliament and Commission) in Brussels, to the UN headquarters in Vienna or to other IOs. These visits aim to familiarise trainee interpreters with the work of professional conference interpreters and let them try their simultaneous skills in the booths.

Summer project: You have great flexibility when choosing your summer project. You can expand your translation portfolio by selecting to translate a large text of your choice in your relevant language combination(s). We encourage our students to establish collaborations with content producers and therefore work on authentic source materials for these projects. If you are interested in research in the areas of interpreting or translation studies, you can opt to complete a dissertation.

Elective modules: In addition to the research and professional practice-led compulsory modules, there are a number of elective modules led by research that respond to the concerns of the translation industry, dealing with machine translation, the uses of corpora, writing for professional purposes, and an introduction to audiovisual translation or to computer-assisted translation (CAT). Non-native speakers of English have modules such as English for Professional Purposes specifically tailored to their needs. You may also take electives offered by other sections of the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, by the Language Centre or by other faculties.

Languages on offer: The Two-language (ACC) pathway offers training from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish into English. The Bidirectional (AB) pathway offers training both ways with the following language pairs: Arabic-English, Chinese-English, French-English, German-English, Italian-English, Portuguese-English and Spanish-English

Academic and teaching staff: our interpreting trainers are members or fellows of AIIC or of other professional interpreting and translation associations (such as ITI and CIoL), EU- and/or UN- accredited, have been trained in-house by the DG Interpretation in Brussels and are practising interpreters.

Career training: You have access to a customised Personal Development Plan which you will discuss in detail with your personal tutor and are given the opportunity to attend frequent Professionalisation Talks delivered by important players from the language industry. Our speakers include representatives from International Organisations, NGOs, Language Service Providers and freelance linguists working on a range of areas from localisation to diplomatic interpreting, project management and public service interpreting. For more information on past talks please visit the Events page.

For more detailed information on the different modules available in this programme, please visit the module catalogue.

Career prospects

Many of our interpreting graduates work as interpreters either for the EU or the UN. Others have decided to focus on the private interpreting market in different continents, while some have decided to continue their careers in translation.

The interpreting programmes provide students with transferable skills which can be applied in other environments. Our graduates progress to jobs at leading private companies, government bodies and international political organisations, such as the BBC, the UN, World Bank, WTO, SAP and major translation companies.

For more information how our graduates use their degrees to further their career, please consult the Employability pages of this site.

Why the CTS at Leeds?

The Centre for Translation Studies (CTS) at Leeds has gained a reputation for excellence in consistently anticipating industry trends, in partnership with professional bodies, leading employers and translation tools providers.

We are one of partner Universities developing the ORCIT project (Online Resources for Conference Interpreter Training), an open interactive and multilingual learning resource with materials launched in October 2010. The online materials are aimed at consolidating conference interpreting techniques, focusing on five main competences necessary for successful training: listening and analysis; mastery of the A language and public speaking; early and advanced consecutive interpreting; early and advanced simultaneous interpreting as well as research skills.

We collaborate with leading European universities, professional bodies and tools providers to stay at the forefront of professional training. eCoLoRe, led by CTS, is the first of several EU-funded projects to design novel resources for training in translation tools and deliver them online for the benefit of all. The eCoLoTrain modules have been adopted for training by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators; MeLLANGE provides training materials on corpora and machine translation; IntelliText offers open interfaces to large corpora, while HyghTra implements a hybrid architecture for quality machine translation, to name but a few of the research projects we have been involved in.

Pages in this document

  1. Introduction
  2. MA Applied Translation Studies (MAATS) / PGDip Applied Translation Studies (PGDATS)
  3. MA Conference Interpreting & Translation Studies (MACITS) / Postgraduate Diploma in Conference Interpreting (PGDCI)
  4. MA Business and Public Service Interpreting and Translation Studies (MABPSITS) / Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Public Service Interpreting (PGDBPSI)
  5. MA Audiovisual Translation Studies (MAAVTS)