MA Translation and Interpreting Studies

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Interpreting, Society and Skills

Course unit fact file
Unit code ELAN65461
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit explores the practice of interpreting and the role and positioning of interpreters in a wide range of social contexts and settings against the backdrop of theoretical developments in interpreting studies. We explore the extent to which setting and features of interaction impact on the interpreting process and the interpreter’s decision making. Students will examine portrayals of interpreters in fiction and the media to gain an understanding of how perceptions of interpreting have been shaped over time. They will also develop ability to critically engage with core concepts and models of interpreter mediation, skills in discourse analysis and engage in contemporary debates about interpreter ethics. The course unit also includes a basic grounding in consecutive interpreting skills and performance analysis.

In addition to the scheduled lectures and seminars, students will have access to office hours and a series of professional development events. 

This unit is open to all students, irrespective of language combination.  

This unit provides conceptual foundations and practical skills for Dialogue Interpreting for Business and Public Services in Semester 2. 


  • To familiarize students with the development of interpreting in different contexts and settings
  • To develop basic skills required for effective interlingual and intercultural communication in the consecutive mode
  • To develop skills in discourse analysis
  • To foster critical engagement with key concepts in interpreting studies
  • To develop critical and analytical research skills

Knowledge and understanding

  • articulate the main influences on the development of interpreting since the mid twentieth century
  • distinguish between models of interpreting and articulate their relative merits and demerits
  • engage effectively in debates about interpreter ethics, drawing on relevant frameworks

Intellectual skills

  • Synthesis and analysis of approaches to learning topics about interpreting
  • Critical reflection and evaluation on personal engagement with the ways in which interpreting operates within and influences society
  • Expression – ability to make a reasoned argument for a particular point of view

Practical skills

  • apply the principles of effective interlingual and intercultural communication to a practical interpreting task in the consecutive mode
  • apply the principles of discourse analysis to an interpreter performance
  • engage in effective and targeted pre-interpreting preparation skills;
  • employ basic note-taking techniques for consecutive interpreting.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Computer literacy- ability to use word processing, presentation software and the internet to clearly communicate ideas
  • Applying subject knowledge to critically appraise societal attitudes to and organisation of interpreting services
  • Willingness to update knowledge—understand the need for life-long learning
  • Improving one’s own learning through planning, monitoring, critical reflection, evaluation and adaptation

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Self-management; capacity for self-appraisal; reflection and time management
Project management
Time management; meeting deadlines; ability to schedule tasks in order of importance
Ability to plan and implement an effective research project.
Independence; capacity for self-discipline, motivation and diligence

Assessment methods

Assessment task:

1. Performance Self-Analysis - 40%

2. Critical essay - 60%


Resit assessment:

If only one assessment task has been failed, that task will be resat. 

If both assessments have been failed, students will be required to resit Assessment 2.

Feedback methods

Feedback Method  Formative or Summative 
Oral individual and group feedback on in-class discussion (incl. peer feedback) Formative 

Oral individual and group feedback on in-class

tasks (incl. peer feedback)

Feedback on VLE-based discussion boards Formative 
Written individual feedback on assignments Both 


Recommended reading

The following list is indicative only. A specific course reading list will be provided to students.

Angelelli, Claudia (2004) Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Angermeyer, Philipp (2009) ‘Translation Style and Participant Roles in Court Interpreting’, Journal of Sociolinguistics 13 (1): 3-28.

Beaton-Thome, Morven (2013) ‘What's in a Word? Your enemy combatant is my refugee: The role of simultaneous interpreters in negotiating the lexis of Guantánamo in the European Parliament’, Journal of Language and Politics 12 (3): 378-399.

Downie, Jonathan (2021) ‘Interpreting Is Interpreting: Why we need to leave behind interpreting settings to discover Comparative Interpreting Studies’, Translation and interpreting studies 16 (3): 325-346.

Gillies, Andrew (2017) Note-taking for Interpreting: A short course, 2nd edition, Abindgon, Oxon: Routledge.

Luchner, Carmen Delgado and Leïla Kherbiche (2018) ‘Without Fear or Favour? The positionality of ICRC and UNHCR interpreters in the humanitarian field’, Target: International journal of translation studies 30 (3): 408-429.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 16.5
Seminars 9
Independent study hours
Independent study 124.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rebecca Tipton Unit coordinator

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