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Conference Interpreting MA

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Fact file

Degree awarded
MA
Duration
12 Months [Full-Time] , 24 Months [Part-Time]
Entry requirements

An Upper Second class Honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject. Applicants must demonstrate (i) native or near-native competence in English and native or near-native competence in Arabic, Chinese, French, German or Spanish, or (ii) native competence in English and degree-level competence in two from French, German or Spanish. Holders of degrees in non-language related fields will also be considered but need to demonstrate the required language competence. Relevant professional experience will be considered on an individual basis if appropriate.

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
There is no limit on the total number of places available on the programme, but there is limit on number of places for certain language combinations (e.g. Chinese-English). Details will be posted on the MACINT website. Upon successfully passing the test, a deposit of 5% of the tuition fee is required to secure your place on the programme. Details will be given in the offer letter.
How to apply

For details on how to apply, go to: Apply online

Course options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning
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PGDipYYNN

Course description

The MA in Conference Interpreting (MACINT) aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills for a career in conference interpreting.

Students will offer one of two profiles, reflecting the two distinct profiles of practising conference interpreters.

Profile 1:  students who have English as their native language (A language) and two passive foreign languages (C languages). These students will be trained in both types of interpreting out of both C languages into their A language.

Profile 2: designed for students with Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Spanish as their native language (A language) and English as an active foreign language (B language), or English as their native language (A language) and Arabic, Chinese, French, German or Spanish as an active foreign language (B language). These students will be trained in both types of interpreting in both directions (i.e. B-A and A-B).

The taught component of the MA combines 75 credits of conference interpreting courses (consecutive and simultaneous interpreting) with 45 credits of research-oriented courses. The dissertation (60 remaining credits) is written on a research project or a specific interpreting assignment (interpreting plus critical analysis). The programme prepares students for a professional career as a conference interpreter, developing the range of linguistic, specialist and technological skills required in the work place.

Open days

Postgraduate Open Days for MA programmes in the School are organised on an annual basis.

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2014, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £6,300
    International students (per annum): £14,000
  • MA (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £3,150
    International students (per annum): £7,000
  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,200
    International students (per annum): £9,333
  • PGDip (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £2,100
    International students (per annum): £4,666

Please note: Only International students who do not require a Tier 4 visa are permitted to study the course part-time. If you are unsure if you require a Tier 4 visa, please consult this page for further information: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/do-you-need-a-visa/.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees. Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Scholarships/sponsorships

British and EU students intending to take an MA programme in the School are eligible to apply for support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). AHRC grants are competitive and provide payment of tuition fees and a maintenance stipend for UK students, and tuition fees (and a maintenance stipend, subject to eligibility criteria) for EU students. Please see the School website for further details.

The School also offers a limited number of fee bursaries on a competitive basis for MA students. Details of bursaries available in a given year will be posted on the School website in January.

SCIC Bursary

Prospective European language students may be eligible to apply for a  study bursary of up to €2,400 from the Directorate-General for Interpretation of the European Commission (SCIC).

Details of the SCIC funding can be found via:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/scic/cooperation-with-universities/interpretation-bursaries/index_en.htm

Candidates are encouraged to contact MACINT admissions tutor, Dr. Mouna Mannaa ( mouna.mannaa@manchester.ac.uk), before applying.

Contact details

Academic department
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Telephone
+44 (0)161 306 1259
Email
Website
www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/tis/postgraduatetaught/taught/

Academic department overview

See: About us

Related subject areas

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

An Upper Second class Honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject. Applicants must demonstrate (i) native or near-native competence in English and native or near-native competence in Arabic, Chinese, French, German or Spanish, or (ii) native competence in English and degree-level competence in two from French, German or Spanish. Holders of degrees in non-language related fields will also be considered but need to demonstrate the required language competence. Relevant professional experience will be considered on an individual basis if appropriate.

English language

Students whose first language is not English must submit either:

  • an IELTS score of 7.0 or higher overall, with a score of 7.0 in the writing component
  • a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based test), 250 (computer-based test) or 100 (internet-based test) or higher overall, with a score of 5.5 in the TWE component (or 25 in the writing component for internet-based test)
  • a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 70 or higher overall, with a score of 70 in the writing component.

Applications will not be considered complete without a copy of one of the above.

English language test validity

Some English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

How to apply

For details on how to apply, go to: Apply online

Advice to applicants

Format of aptitude tests for Profile 1 applicants (ACC)

The native language (A language) is English, with two passive foreign languages (C languages). These students will be trained in both types of interpreting out of both C languages into their A language.

Part 1: tests aptitude for oral summary from the C1 to the A language (e.g. French - English). The candidate listens to a short, structured oral presentation in the first C language (approx. 2.5 minutes) and presents an oral summary of main ideas in the A language/English. The oral summary should not exceed 2.5 minutes, and should be presented immediately after the source speech finishes. The candidate is NOT permitted to take notes during the listening phase.

Part 2: tests oral summary aptitude from the C2 to the A language (e.g. Spanish - English). The candidate listens to a short, structured oral presentation in the second C language (approx. 2.5 minutes) and presents an oral summary of main ideas in the A language/English. The oral summary should not exceed 2.5 minutes, and should be presented immediately after the source speech finishes. The candidate is NOT permitted to take notes during the listening phase.

Part 3: The candidate will then be asked to answer a set of questions relating to test speeches and/or current affairs in the A language. The Q&A session will take place either after each part of oral summary, or at the end of two summary practices.

Format of aptitude tests for Profile 2 applicants (AB)

The native language (A language) is Arabic, Chinese, French, German or Spanish with English as an active foreign language (B language). These students will be trained in both types of interpreting in both directions (i.e. B-A and A-B).

Part 1: tests aptitude for oral summary from the B to the A language (e.g. English-Chinese). The candidate listens to a short, structured oral presentation in the B language (approx. 2.5 minutes) and presents an oral summary of main ideas in the A language. The oral summary should not exceed 2.5 minutes, and should be presented immediately after the source speech finishes. The candidate is NOT permitted to take notes during the listening phase.

Part 2: tests oral summary aptitude from the A to B language (e.g. Chinese - English). The candidate listens to a short, structured oral presentation in the A language (approx. 2.5 minutes) and presents an oral summary of main ideas in the B language. The oral summary should not exceed 2.5 minutes, and should be presented immediately after the source speech finishes. The candidate is NOT permitted to take notes during the listening phase.

Part 3: The candidate will then be asked to answer a set of questions relating to test speeches and/or current affairs in both A and B languages. The Q&A session will take place either after each part of oral summary, or at the end of two summary practices.

How your application is considered

If their application is successful, they will be made either:

  • A conditional offer of a place (for example, if they have not already completed their current programme of study or have yet to satisfy the English language requirements).
  • An unconditional offer 

On receipt of an offer, applicants should inform the Postgraduate Office as to whether they wish to accept the place, this is done via the online system. If there are conditions attached to the offer, they will need to let us know as soon as they have been satisfied and provide the necessary documentation.

Aptitude test requirement

Applicants to the programme must pass an aptitude test to secure an unconditional offer of a place. There is no deadline for MACINT application, and aptitude tests will be arranged on an ongoing basis. However, as there are limited places with MACINT, we reserve the right to close application for certain language(s) if all places of that/those language(s) have been taken up. We will publish this information as soon as it happens, but we strongly recommend candidates to start their application at an early date.

For both rounds of testing, applicants will not be permitted to sit the aptitude test if they have not yet achieved the requisite results in the IELTS or equivalent examination, i.e. at least 7.0 overall and 7.0 in writing.

It is strongly recommended that candidates do not submit their application for the MA programme until they have secured the required IELTS/TOEFL/Pearson scores.

Applicants who fulfil the English-language requirement and meet the deadlines above will be notified of their allocated test slot. Tests can be taken remotely via video link or in person in Manchester. All test candidates will receive written feedback on their test performance.

Deferrals

Offer-holders will be allowed to defer entrance to the programme once.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course description

The MA in Conference Interpreting (MACINT) aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills for a career in conference interpreting.

Students will offer one of two profiles, reflecting the two distinct profiles of practising conference interpreters.

Profile 1:  students who have English as their native language (A language) and two passive foreign languages (C languages). These students will be trained in both types of interpreting out of both C languages into their A language.

Profile 2: designed for students with Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Spanish as their native language (A language) and English as an active foreign language (B language), or English as their native language (A language) and Arabic, Chinese, French, German or Spanish as an active foreign language (B language). These students will be trained in both types of interpreting in both directions (i.e. B-A and A-B).

The taught component of the MA combines 75 credits of conference interpreting courses (consecutive and simultaneous interpreting) with 45 credits of research-oriented courses. The dissertation (60 remaining credits) is written on a research project or a specific interpreting assignment (interpreting plus critical analysis). The programme prepares students for a professional career as a conference interpreter, developing the range of linguistic, specialist and technological skills required in the work place.

Aims

  • To equip students with the knowledge and advanced interpreting skills for a career in conference interpreting
  • To provide specialist training in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting
  • To provide a gradual transition into the professional world through practical, real-life interpreting tasks
  • To provide guidance on professional conduct and ethics
  • To enable students to reflect critically on their own and others' interpreting practice
  • To equip students for further study and research

Teaching and learning

The MACINT degree is devised to train students with aptitude for Conference Interpreting in an intensive and highly individualised manner.

Contact hours with CTIS staff will involve a mixture of seminars with students studying all five languages on the MACINT degree (Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Spanish) and language-specific tutorials focusing on your particular language combination. In the Professional Development for Conference Interpreters unit, students will also have the opportunity to work as part of a team of interpreters at a number of simulated multilingual conferences. As a result of the technology involved in simultaneous interpreting, class sizes are small which allows for intensive contact with teaching staff. In addition to class contact hours, e-learning provision provides students with the support and feedback required between classes, as well as allowing them the possibility for tracking their progress. Guided self-study sessions in small groups are an essential part of the MACINT degree. These sessions encourage self-reflexive learning and also nurture peer assessment and feedback skills. As a result of the expertise of CTIS staff, students will also be taught conference interpreting on the basis of research carried out in skill and expertise acquisition in Interpreting Studies. In addition, teaching and learning is informed by current research in Interpreting Studies on issues as diverse as cognitive processing and the social and ethical role of the interpreter.

Coursework and assessment

MACINT is designed as a specialised postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting. Course units in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting complement one another and teaching and learning is informed closely by the research-led components. As the modules in MACINT are progressive (e.g. Consecutive Interpreting II builds on skills learnt and settings covered in Consecutive Interpreting I), with structured self-study forming an integral part of the course design, students are able to track their progress clearly as the programme develops.

Assessment on MACINT takes two forms: (1) assessed coursework and (2) end-of-unit examinations. The theoretical units (Interpreting Studies, Research Methods I and II) are assessed entirely by coursework, with two tasks spaced throughout the semester, enabling students to critically reflect on the material covered in class and receive formative feedback. Assessment in the practical interpreting modules is weighted towards end-of-unit examination, assessed by a panel of internal and external examiners, reflecting the task and professional practice of conference interpreting. However, coursework assessment is also integral to the practical interpreting units. This takes the form of an interpreting portfolio to track student progress throughout the semester, alongside other tasks such as compilation of a glossary-based terminology and interpreting performance in multilingual conferences.

Course content for year 1

For full-time students:

Semester One

Consecutive Interpreting I (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Simultaneous Interpreting I (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies I

Interpreting Studies

Semester Two

Consecutive Interpreting II (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Simultaneous Interpreting II (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies II

Professional Development for Conference Interpreters

MA Dissertation

For part-time students:

Semester One

Consecutive Interpreting I (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Interpreting Studies

Research Methods in Interpreting Studies I

Semester Two

Consecutive Interpreting II (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Course content for year 2

For part-time students:

Semester One

Simultaneous Interpreting I (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Semester Two

Simultaneous Interpreting II (B/C1 - A and C2 - A or A -B)

Professional Development for Conference Interpreters

Research Methods in Interpreting Studies II

MA Dissertation

Course collaborators

Students on MACINT benefit from the close collaboration between Manchester and the Interpretation Service at the United Nations in Geneva, with places for students to spend a week at the UN in Geneva shadowing staff interpreters and working in a dummy booth, as well as an annual visit from a UN staff interpreter to Manchester. We are also in contact with the Directorate-General for Interpretation and Conferences at the European Parliament and have received visits from the Directorate-General for Interpretation at the European Commission. These contacts are part of developing links for pedagogical assistance for MACINT students, involving workshops from EU interpreters and visits by MACINT students to the European Commission and Parliament. In addition, MACINT staff have close links to the freelance interpreting market and organise workshops with guest speakers on professional development topics.

Facilities

The facilities for the MACINT degree are internationally competitive. Students benefit greatly from the state-of-the-art simultaneous interpreting conference room which was installed in summer 2009.  This includes simultaneous interpreting booths with interpreting consoles and integrated teaching software from leading simultaneous interpreting equipment manufacturer, Televic. This is the same equipment used at international organisations such as the European Parliament.

We also offer a Melissi digital self-study lab which provides excellent resources for group study and individual practice. This lab allows students to edit and use a wide range of multimedia materials. Additionally, the digital recording systems make it easier to record and monitor performance, both for consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting exercises.

The John Rylands University Library (JRUL), on the doorstep of the Samuel Alexander Building, boasts one of the best stocked libraries internationally for Translation and Interpreting Studies literature. It also holds subscriptions to leading international journals in the field of interpreting such as Interpreting and The Translator. In addition, students have access to the most comprehensive abstracting service in Translation and Interpreting Studies, Translation Studies Abstracts (TSA), via John Rylands University Library.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: disability@manchester.ac.uk

Career opportunities

Career opportunities as conference interpreters for MACINT graduates are very promising in two markets in particular: international organizations and the freelance market. High profile international organizations are very interested graduates who have completed a dedicated postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting, such as MACINT. In 2009, the European Commission launched a recruitment drive for native English speakers, predicting a serious shortage of interpreters. According to the European Commission, the demand for mother-tongue English translators is fuelled by the facts that (1) English has replaced French as the lingua franca of the EU's civil service; (2) many native-English interpreters were recruited from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s after the UK and the Republic of Ireland joined the EU. As these interpreters reach retirement age, they cannot be replaced at the same rate because English-speaking countries are not producing enough interpreters. This situation is likely to get worse over the next 10 years, with the EU also facing increased competition from UN bodies for top interpreters.

The freelance interpreting market is also continuing to grow, particularly in terms of rising demand for qualified conference interpreters in Chinese and Arabic-speaking countries. As these languages are predominantly required in combination with English, graduates of programmes in the English-speaking world, such as MACINT, seem best positioned to meet that demand.

A postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting also provides students with highly developed research, analytical and summarizing skills, excellent public speaking skills and an advanced understanding of mediation between cultures and languages. These transferable skills can be used in a variety of different job profiles.

Accrediting organisations

Professional accreditation of Conference Interpreting programmes does not exist in the UK context. However, there are a number of bodies which recognise the quality of postgraduate programmes in Conference Interpreting. Such institutional affiliation and recognition is important for the standing of the programme in academic and professional circles and for the future employability of students. Relevant bodies and recognition schemes are the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), DG Interpretation at the European Commission and DG Interpretation at the European Parliament and Interpreting Services at the UN Geneva and UN New York.