Universiteit Leiden

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Translation (MA)

The MA Translation at Leiden University offers a unique combination of translation theory, research and practice, preparing you for either a further academic career as a researcher or a professional career in the language industry as a translator, subtitler, terminologist, project manager or language consultant.

Thanks to our use of professional translation software (including Trados, MemoQ and SPOT) and our attention to developments in computer-assisted and machine translation, you will have all the necessary tools in your translator’s toolkit, as well as the ability to use them critically and reflect on their value in a world of increasing globalization and multicultural communication.

More than words

Translation is so much more than changing words and sentences in language A into words and sentences in language B. Most people have no idea just how complicated the Task of the Translator is! And why this means that it is actually unlikely that machines will soon take over completely and make all human translators obsolete. During your MA you will practice the translation of different kinds of texts – from legal contracts to young adult novels, medical leaflets to fantasy films, and corporate websites to Broadway musicals – using state-of-the-art tools and technologies, while learning about translation theory and research so you can reflect critically on your translation decisions. You will learn to look beyond the words and sentences and discover just how fascinating and important translation really is. 

Find out more about the programme

Why study Translation at Leiden University?

The MA Translation in Leiden is a member of the prestigious European Master’s in Translation Network and offers state-of-the-art training that includes the use of new tools and technologies and a strong focus on professional practice. The instructors all have experience in both professional practice as well as academic research, and their expertise is reflected in the different specialization electives: legal translation, literary translation, medical translation, and multimodal translation (including subtitling). Our programme includes translation practice both from English to Dutch as well as Dutch to English, as we believe there is a growing demand for translators from Dutch into English as a second/foreign language and lingua franca. At the end of your studies, you will earn a qualification that will give you entry to the national register of sworn interpreters and translators.

EMT network membership

The MA Translation at Leiden University is a member of the prestigious European Master’s in Translation (EMT) Network, an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation. Having been awarded this label (for the period 2019-2024) reflects the high quality of our programme and the successful integration of translation research, practice and technology. Membership of the Network includes possibilities for internships and theses with the translation departments of the European Commission and European Parliament, as well as international exchanges with other EMT universities via Erasmus+ and improved chances of a career in the European translation industry.

Social media

If you want to keep up to date of the latest news and activities from the MA Translation, then check the Leiden Translation Blog and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Career prospects

As a Leiden University-trained translator, some of your most important assets will include your experience in using professional translation tools, your knowledge of current translation studies research in your chosen domain (legal, literary, medical or multimodal translation), as well as your ability to apply knowledge of auxiliary disciplines, both linguistic (e.g. pragmatics, semantics, stylistics) and non-linguistic (e.g. literary studies, culture studies, comparative law), to translation problems in a wide range of texts. Our Advanced Translation course includes a virtual translation agency, allowing you to practice working as a project manager, translator and editor with your fellow students. In addition, our elective courses will introduce you to different career opportunities by hosting guest lectures from professionals in the language industry. Finally, you will gain important hands-on experience at a company of your choice during your internship, working as a translator, editor, subtitler, terminologist, IT specialist or language consultant.

Learn more about the career prospects


Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme?

Check the entry requirements

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 21 Education
  • 16 Communication and marketing
  • 11 IT
  • 11 Wholesale and retail
  • 5 Government and semi-government organisations
  • 5 Business services
  • 5 Culture, sports and recreation
  • 5 Industrial sector
  • 21 Other

The graph above is based on alumni data from the MA Translation 2016-2020.

Translation Lab at Leiden University

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After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited master’s degree in Linguistics, with a specialisation in Translation and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Susana Valdez

University Lecturer

Susana Valdez

"The Translation programme offers you the opportunity to learn how to translate texts and learn about translation technologies and tools; and how to justify your translation solutions for future clients. You will have the opportunity to choose a specialisation (such as literary, multimodal and subtitling, legal and/or medical translation). In our programme, you are also able to do an internship at a national or international company and do research on a topic of your interest for your thesis. Translation labs and interactive classrooms simulate work environments and mirror the challenges that you can encounter in the language industry."

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