Universiteit Leiden

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Translation (MA)

Admission requirements

To be eligible for Translation at Leiden University, you must meet the following admission requirements.

Diploma requirements

You are eligible to apply for the MA Linguistics: Translation if you have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a research university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic Bachelor’s degree, and
  • Proven translation skills, academic writing skills, and knowledge and understanding of translation studies and culture specific translation issues, acquired by completing a minor in translation of at least 30 EC, or comparable skills and knowledge and understanding of those of students having completed the minor in Translation at Leiden University, for example: 
    • a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture or a language-related field and a completed minor in translation that includes Dutch-English translation and English-Dutch translation; or
    • a Bachelor’s degree in a non-related field, a completed minor in translation that includes Dutch-English translation and English-Dutch translation, demonstrated affinity with language and translation, and proof of academic writing skills in English;

Demonstrated by:

  • For applicants with a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture or a language-related field who have not completed a minor in translation that includes Dutch-English translation and English-Dutch translation: a sufficient entry test, consisting of an English to Dutch translation, a Dutch to English translation, and a multiple choice test on Translation Studies and Culture Studies for Translators;
  • For applicants with a Bachelor’s degree in a non-related field and a completed minor in translation that includes Dutch-English translation and English-Dutch translation: a 1500-word essay on a topic provided by the Board of Admissions, in which applicants demonstrate:
    1. academic writing skills in English
    2. knowledge of and understanding of the field of translation studies
    3. the ability to answer a research question, provide a reasonable and reasonably well-organised argument that demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of the topic of the essay. Please contact the coordinator of studies about the essay.
  • For applicants with a Bachelor’s degree in a non-related field without a completed translation minor:  
  1. a sufficient entry test**, consisting of an English to Dutch translation, a Dutch to English translation, and a multiple choice test on Translation Studies and Culture Studies for Translators; and
  2. affinity with language and translation, demonstrated by the Questionnaire Master Application;

Applicants who have a Bachelor’s degree from a Dutch research university in English Language and Culture or a language-related field and who have completed the minor in Translation at Leiden University are considered to have fulfilled the additional requirements for the specialisation Translation.

** The Board of Admissions will decide whether or not an applicant is eligible to take the test.

For applicants with a Bachelor’s degree from a university of applied sciences (hbo-bachelor) in English Language and Culture or a language-related field the Board of Admission may impose a translation pre-master programme (40 to 60 EC), to be completed before admission into the MA programme.

The Board of Admissions will decide whether an applicant is eligible to take the entry test or is eligible for admission to the translation pre-master programme, respectively. The decision will be based on sufficient knowledge of Dutch and English (minimum level CEFR C1), proven affinity with language and translation, and a Bachelor’s degree from a university or university of applied sciences (hbo-bachelor) in English Language and Culture or a language-related field.

For students who have not completed the minor Vertalen Engels-Nederlands, admission is only possible after passing the entry test. However, it is important to first start the application procedure in Studielink. The Board of Admissions will then decide whether or not an applicant is eligible to take the test.

The test will take place online. Please note that the entry test will only be offered on one day. There is no resit opportunity. It is not possible to get feedback on the test, students will only receive a pass or a fail.

The Entry Test for the MA Translation comprises two parts:

  • Part A: a 3-hour translation test (an English to Dutch translation and a Dutch to English translation, respectively);
  • Part B: a 2-hour test with multiple choice questions, true/false statements and short answer questions (Translation Studies and Culture Studies for Translators, respectively)

Preparing for the Entry Test
Part A:

  • To prepare for the translation test, we recommend practicing with a few texts at home.
  • A sample translation test (plus key) will be provided in June.

Part B:

  • To prepare for Translation Studies part of the test, please study the chapters from the course book listed under ‘Required Reading’ below (Munday, Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications).  A reader will be provided for additional explanations of the topics covered in the course book.
  • To prepare for the Culture Studies part of the test, please study the reader provided (Entry Test Culture Studies reader 2021). The chapters of the course books listed under ‘Required Reading’ serve as background reading.
  • In June, a mock exam will be provided with Translation Studies and Culture Studies questions.

Required Reading:
Culture Studies for Translators (part B):

  • Entry Test Culture Studies reader 2021
  • Oakland, J.. American Civilization. New York: Routledge. (latest edition): Chapters 6 and 7 (Political institutions), chapter 9 (The legal system) and chapter 12 (Education)
  • Oakland, J.. British Civilization. London: Routledge. (latest edition): Chapter 4 (Politics and government), chapter 5 (International relations: only the part on Northern Ireland), chapter 6 (The legal system) and chapter 9 (Education)

Please note that the exam will be based on knowledge and insight questions from the reader. There will also be a number of translation questions. The course books for the Culture Studies part comprise background reading.

Introduction to Translation Studies (part B):

  • Munday, J. (2012). Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications. London/New York: Routledge. (4th or later edition): chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and chapter 9 sections 9.0 and 9.1.

Please note that the reader for the Translation Studies part is not required reading, but aims to help candidates prepare for the Entry Test.

Translation Dutch to English and English to Dutch (part A):

  • No required reading. A mock exam and key will be provided in June.

Language requirements

In order to successfully participate in this programme, you must be proficient in English. The following requirements apply:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (a minimum score of IELTS 7.0 is required for each of the four components)
  • TOEFL (internet-based): 100 (TOEFL 25 is required for each of the four components
  • C2 Proficiency (former CPE) or C1 Advanced (former CAE): 185

In order to successfully participate in this programme, you must be proficient in Dutch. Students who have completed their secondary education in the Netherlands or Flanders do not need to submit further proof of their Dutch proficiency.

Dutch (Toelatingsexamen Universiteit Leiden – Gevorderd (language exam) at the Academic Language Centre of Leiden University).

For detailed information, including exemption criteria and methods of submission, refer to English language proficiency.

English tests accepted
Note that English test results may not be more than two years old. The following types of English test are accepted: 

  • IELTS: Academic
    • We do not accept IELTS General Training or IELTS Indicator
  • TOEFL: internet based
    • We do not accept the following types of test: TOEFL My Best ™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™  or institutional tests such as ITP.
    • We can accept the TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition™  and the TOEFL IBT Paper Edition for admission to the academic years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
  • Cambridge English Exam C2 Proficiency or C1 Advanced, depending on admission criteria

Please note: You do not have to submit proof of proficiency if you have completed your education in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada) Singapore, South-Africa or Malta, or when you hold an International Baccalaureate, or for Dutch students, if you have completed VWO level English or an English taught bachelor at a Dutch Research University.

>> Go to the next step: Check the application deadlines

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