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MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference


We are hoping to relaunch a new and improved version of this MA course for 2018 entry. This new course is currently undergoing the university's rigorous quality approval process and we hope to be able to advertise it very shortly at the conclusion of that process. We are accordingly no longer accepting applications for the MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference. If you are interested in the new degree please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Dr Oliver Davis, at O dot Davis at warwick dot ac dot uk. Applicants who have already applied for this degree for 2018 entry have been contacted to invite them to allow us to consider their applications for the new degree once it has been formally approved.

MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference

This is an innovative and interdisciplinary twelve-month full-time (24 months part-time) programme of study leading to an MA. Its aim is to examine translation between English and either German, French or Italian in a cultural context, and develop communicative, imaginative and critical abilities related to literary writing. Students are encouraged to develop their interest in intercultural communication and combine the study of theoretical models with active translation work and creative writing.

The departments of French Studies, German, and Italian Studies, are all involved in delivery of this MA, together with translation specialists based in the Department of English and and Comparative Literary Studies.

All students will take the following modules:

Core Module (Term 1):
One of the the Language specific Core Modules (Term 1):
One of the Writing Core Modules (Term 2):
One Option Module (Term 2) selected from the list of postgraduate modules offered by all the participating departments:

Option modules change annually, and an updated list is available at the beginning of the Autumn term. Modules typically but not necessarily available include:

  1. Practice of Literary Translation EN9A5-30 (English)
  2. Literary Translation and Creative (Re-)Writing in a Global Context EN971-30 (English)
  3. Advanced Study Option II FR930-30 (French Studies)
  4. The Lure of Italy FR922-30 (French Studies/German Studies/Italian)


Modules are assessed by a 5000- word essay, or portfolio of up to 7,000 words which may comprise of a translation with a commentary, or a commentary on the publication history/reception of a translated text, or creative writing with a commentary. In the summer term students will work on a 15,000-word dissertation. This may be a translation with a commentary, a comparative commentary on existing translations, or a dissertation on a topic related to translation studies or intercultural difference.

Entry requirements
  1. Good degree in English, French, German, Italian (2.1 equivalent), or an equally good degree in another humanities subject with proof of a high level of competence both in written English and at least one of the three languages, French, German, Italian.
  2. English language proficiency test result for students whose mother tongue is not English (IELTS 7 or equivalent)
  3. Final year essay and one piece of translation into native tongue.

Students graduating from the course will be well qualified to seek jobs in the fields requiring expertise in linguistic and cultural mediation (freelance translation, translation companies, media, publishing, educational institutions). The course provides an excellent foundation for further postgraduate work.

Student Profiles

Some past students tell us about their reasons for taking the course, and the experiences they had during it:

Una Brogan (2009-10)

I decided to undertake this MA after completing my degree in French and History at Oxford. This Masters appealed to me as it offered the chance to develop the more applied side of my language skills as well as giving me the opportunity to work on my creative writing. I was excited by the chance to combine these two areas in order to explore questions of creative production and literary translation which had long intrigued me.

The course provided me with an insight into the field of translation and cultural studies. Though a relatively recent discipline, there have been many theoretical advancements in the area over the past half-century, which I was given the opportunity to explore and interrogate. I was glad of the opportunity to be able to keep up my interest in literature and combine this with a translation studies perspective, and I found the creative writing component of the course extremely valuable and rewarding. Rather than confining me to a particular literary period, the flexibility of the course allowed me to complete my assignments on diverse topics such as contemporary press translation, translations of George Brassens songs and cultural transfer in eighteenth century French literature.

Having written my dissertation on the theme and practice of translation in a Diderot play, Le Fils naturel, I have now undertaken a Master 2 at Paris IV-Sorbonne in comparative literature. I aim to continue my studies in the field of cultural transfer and translation in French literature, an area which my Masters at Warwick gave me the opportunity to appreciate at a deeper level.

Katherine Ong (2006-7):
Having completed a BA in English and German Literature at Warwick, I spent a year working and travelling before returning to do my MA. I wanted more time to pursue my academic interests before embarking on a career path and the opportunity to study at Warwick again was too good to resist!

The unique interdisciplinary nature of the course, combining theoretical and creative elements with a cultural perspective, was really appealing. I enjoyed the challenges of working between different departments, drawing on diverse areas of expertise, and developing skills in new areas such as creative writing. It was particularly rewarding to have contact with and learn from people who translate/write professionally. I got to spend a week with the Royal Shakespeare Company as an interpreter backstage on a production by the Berliner Ensemble and completed my dissertation on several English-language translations of a Paul Celan poem.

My MA year was an extremely worthwhile experience and when it came to looking for a job I felt I had a great deal more to offer as a result. I now work as an editorial assistant for a well-known academic publisher, managing books on a broad range of subjects by authors based around the world. I hope to continue both translating and writing in some capacity in the future.

Further details can be obtained from:

Dr Oliver Davis (

SMLC Director of Graduate Studies