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Translation (MA)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

What our graduates do

As a graduate of the MA Translation, you will have access to a wide range of jobs and you may enter the national register of sworn interpreters and translators.  The master’s programme in Translation is now also a member of the prestigious European Masters in Translation (EMT) Network, an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation. Our graduates will now have even greater access to the international translation profession.

According to our survey, our graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in a range of professions. Examples include:

  • Project manager for subtitling at a translation agency
  • Translator at the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs 
  • Freelance interpreter and legal translator
  • Copywriter at a software company
  • Technical translator at a translation agency
  • Translator at a software and consultancy firm
  • English teacher at a secondary school
  • Communications officer at a consultancy firm
  • English teacher at a Dutch secondary school
  • PhD candidate at a European university

Your qualifications

Your communicative and practical competences, your translation skills, and your editorial talents, will put you in demand. As a graduate of a research master's programme you are qualified to work as a junior academic researcher within an institute or company, or carry out PhD research.

Teacher qualification

If you are interested in a career in teaching, you can apply for the Dutch-taught teacher-training MA at the ICLON Graduate School of Education after graduating from the master’s programme. To be admitted, you need to have a master’s degree in the  relevant discipline. Fluency in Dutch is mandatory, and additional entry requirements may apply.

Nina van Ruijven

Graduated in Translation in Theory and Practice (Dutch/English) (MA Linguistics)

Nina van Ruijven

"I have my own small translation company and last August I started my first job as an English teacher at a high school. I chose to do this MA course, because I love the interplay between languages and making another language accessible for people who do not speak that particular language."

Dive into your personal interests

"During my studies, I learned a lot about both English and Dutch and I use this knowledge every day both as a translator and as a teacher. As a translator I obviously use the learned skills and knowledge the most. I know how to translate text and I know why I do this in a certain way. In my classroom I try to use as much of this knowledge as well, as I try to make a new language accessible for students. I thoroughly enjoyed my MA course, as the course was really personal. You can really dive into your personal interests and have access to lots of personal attention from the teachers."

An academic career

Graduates interested in pursuing an academic career have gone on to do research internships or to pursue a PhD. If you are interested in pursuing an academic and research career, you can consider applying for the two-year Research Master's in Linguistics. Please keep in mind that this programme has additional admission requirements. You can explore the possibilities with the programme coordinator.

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA Translation 2016-2020.

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

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 47 % found a job within two months
  • 79 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

Academic rigour is a principle characteristic of every programme at Leiden University. Our graduates share advanced academic skills in the interpretation of texts and the analysis of conceptual problems, and the ability to conduct high-quality scientific research. In class, we encourage every student to participate in discussions with fellow students and lecturers to develop their confidence articulating ideas. 

Based on your specialisation, you will graduate with solid knowledge of linguistic theory and develop academic and research skills ranging from data collection, analysis and reporting to applied language skills such as text analysis, translation and editing.

During your studies you have ample opportunity to gain experience studying, working, or conducting research at an organisation or institution. This experience is highly valued within international organisations. Many of our students choose to do an internship during their study. Internships are a great way to gain invaluable first-hand experience in your area of interest before you decide on making it a career.

In recent years, students from the Translation MA have participated in internships at:

  • Leiden University Academic Language Centre
  • Global Voices
  • Medilingua
  • Taalmuseum (Language Museum)
  • Textwerk
  • Vertaalbureau.nl
  • Wilkens C.S.
  • Europees Parlement
  • KERN B.V. Vertaal- en Tolkservice
  • Autoriteit Consument en Markt
  • Belastingdienst

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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