Translation & interpreting

Students learning at the translation booth room at UNSW Kensignton campus.

Contributing to cross-cultural communication 

Studying translation and interpreting at UNSW School of Humanities & Languages will prepare you for a career as a professional interpreter or translator. Working as an interpreter or translator, you’ll make critical contributions to cross-linguistic and cross-cultural communication in today’s globalised society.  

Our master programs are endorsed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) and will help you make informed, ethical choices and engage in good practice in the domestic and international markets.

Learn from experts in the field 

Our teaching is informed by applied research, relevant theoretical principles and contemporary pedagogical approaches to interpreting and translation training. You’ll be taught by staff that are experienced practitioners and world-renowned researchers. 

As an area of research, translation and interpreting has been rapidly growing, attracting increasing interest from academics and researchers. We’ll teach you to expand your knowledge and learn skills such as critical analysis, independent research and preparation, project management, and teamwork.

Develop career-ready skills with work integrated learning  

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is an essential part of translation and interpreting study at UNSW. From internal school projects, interdisciplinary collaborations and university departments, to external clients such as small businesses, event organisers and international organisations, you’ll have the opportunity to provide expertise to real clients with real needs while securing valuable hands-on experience. 

During your study, you’ll learn the effective use of translation technologies, project management, language engineering, business to business and intercultural communication, and teamwork. This practical experience will bridge the gap between academic studies and industry practice, preparing you for a career with excellent applied skills and a professional profile.

Connect with the wider community 

You’ll work in collaboration with colleagues at other universities in Australia and around the world, as well as with colleagues in the legal and medical professions. We work with industry partners to ensure the relevance of our work.

Study with us

  • Our suite of postgraduate programs provides a contemporary and well-rounded education in translation and interpreting, combining theoretical, practical and professional courses. Our offerings are flexible as full-time and part-time programs and in online and face-to-face modes. You can also move between programs to upgrade your Graduate Certificate or Diploma into a Master’s program. 

    You’ll be provided with a learner-centred environment where you'll acquire academic and professional interpreting and translation skills, as well as transferable skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Our programs are set in translation and interpreting theoretical frameworks and based on current research findings. 

    You’ll gain relevant professional and technical skills developed through professional and practical courses, including a course exclusively dedicated to professional practice, which incorporates collaboration with the industry. Career opportunities are diverse, with interpreting and translation services required in a variety of domestic and international settings, including health, legal, business, diplomatic, academic and language technology sectors.

    Program options 

    We offer all the programs in English and seven different languages, including Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish. Select courses are run in English only and can be taken by students of any language combination as non-award courses. If your language is not included in the above, please get in touch with us to express your interest.

  • Further your education and extend your expertise with postgraduate research. We supervise Doctor of Philosophy and Masters by Research students in translation and interpreting studies.

Our work integrated learning highlights

  • UNSW / 2M WIL collaboration

    In 2018, 2M Language Services initiated a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) collaboration with our Master of Translation and Interpreting program. Together we offered our practicum students the opportunity to gain insights into the latest industry practices. 2M Language Services is one of Australia’s leading language service providers. They have taken many initiatives to help advance the local language service industry, including helping to form and lead the Australasian Association of Language Companies (AALC).

    The WIL collaboration aims to provide our future graduates with more practical and up-to-date knowledge of the current industry trends and practices, which could improve students’ employability. The collaboration also provides 2M with a channel to employ top graduates from our program, forming a virtual cycle between the industry and our academic program. Apart from the frequent exchange of the latest industry information between 2M and our program under the WIL collaboration, students with potentials are offered to sign individual WIL agreement with 2M for more personalised WIL experiences.

    On 1 May 2018, Thomas Lespes-Muñoz, the Digital Marketing Manager of 2M Language Services, came to UNSW to present a talk about the 2018 language industry market trends. Many students and practitioners attended the presentation. View the recording of the presentation below.

  • Translation of UNSW China student guides

    • UNSW China Student Guide 2015 & 2016 Translation
    • Subtitling for UNSW YouTube videos
    • Check out a series of videos subtitled in Chinese HERE.
    • Translating news for UNSW international office

    Translation services for UNSW innovations team

    • In 2014, we translated over 20 UNSW Innovation EasyAccess IP Factsheets, which were then used for marketing in China.
    • In semester 1 2015, we translated around 10,000 words of content for the Innovations team.
    • We continue to provide services to UNSW Innovations, particularly the Start-up China Program.

    Translation for international not-for-profit water sanitation resource project

    Our students provided translation services for the international not-for-profit water sanitation resource project website: Akvopedia. All content was managed, translated and reviewed by students through industry-leading translation tools and platforms. Students studying in the Chinese specialisation have translated more than 100,000 words of content for Akvopedia.

    Samples of students’ translations include:

    What our students say

    The UNSW translation and interpreting practicum was one of the most valuable experiences of my postgraduate study. It offered me a great opportunity to translate news and promotional materials such as UNSW China Guide pamphlet, and video subtitles for UNSW International Office, which not only enabled me to link my expertise to practice, but also helped me to improve my transferable skills such as communication skills through discussing translation requirements with project owners. It transformed me from a student into a productive translator and benefited my career.

    - Yifang Zhang, UNSW Translation and Interpreting alumn

  • Moot court: interdisciplinary court interpreting practice with UNSW Law & Justice

    We team up with UNSW Law & Justice every year to conduct an interdisciplinary moot court practice, where Law students act as lawyers and our students act as interpreters and the non-English speaking defendants and witnesses to perform multilingual mock trials. Real judges and barristers were invited to judge the mock trial and share their professional knowledge. This interdisciplinary collaboration started in 2012, with the most recent successful run in 2017.

    All sessions of the interdisciplinary moot practice were filmed and well documented for internal teaching and learning uses. They provided valuable learning and teaching resources to Law and Interpreting students. An HDR student also completed her PhD using these videos. The videos are also used by NAATI to provide further training on whispering / simultaneous interpreting for professional interpreters.

    What our students say

    "The participation of both students and professionals from the legal field add a challenging level of complexity that can only be experienced by taking part in this workshop. The discussions following each case are quite rewarding since the points of view of all actors (lecturers, judge, officers, lawyers, interpreters) are exchanged and their experiences shared, providing a better understanding of how these procedures take place in preparation for a real-life scenario.

    Taking part in the moot court is a perfect way to complement the preparation in legal interpreting from the lecture and the tutorials to put the theory into practice. Further, the recordings are made available so it is also a great tool to assess the interpreter’s performance to further develop skills.”

    - Yael Balandrano, Master of Translation and Interpreting alumn

    “Interpreting at the Moot Court was an outstanding learning experience in the legal interpreting course and MAITS Program. It allowed me to apply interpreting skills and knowledge acquired during the course in a real-life scenario where participants were Law students and practitioners of the profession. The preparation was comprehensive and also included a briefing of the case provided by the Law students, similar to an authentic legal case.

    Interpreting at the Moot Court provided me with an accurate insight into managing communication and shifting from dialogue interpreting to “chuchotage” and highlighted the significance of articulate public speaking skills in this setting. Interpreting at the Moot Court is a learning experience that enhances the interpreting skills acquired in the MAITS Program.”

    - Chirata Deneve Thomsen, UNSW Spanish Studies Course Co-ordinator

    Medical interpreting workshop: interdisciplinary medical interpreting practice with UNSW medicine

    In 2014, we initiated a collaborative project with UNSW Medicine, and started to offer medical interpreting workshops to medical students, raising their awareness of the appropriate ways to work with interpreters in sensitive cross-cultural communication situations. Our students participated in the workshops by doing role-plays with the medical students. The initiation was a success and has now become an annual event with four workshops per year. In 2015, the interdisciplinary activity won the faculty teaching award.

    Tour of Westmead Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children

    Every semester, we organise interpreting practicum students to visit the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children at Westmead to attend a hospital tour hosted by the famous ‘clown doctors’. As the host passionately explained the history, architectures, designs, technologies and practice of the hospital, students interpreted the host’s speech into their target languages in the mode of consecutive interpreting. The two-hour tour not only provided students with valuable background knowledge of the hospital, but also offered them an opportunity to experience real-life onsite interpreting in a dynamic setting and to practice their interpreting skills while interacting with the host, the audience and the environment.

    Festival des Métiers: interpreting for the Hermès Artisans at the Museum of Contemporary Arts

    In October 2014, Hermès hosted a 7-day exhibition known as Festival des Métiers at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney. Our French specialisation students helped with the event as French interpreters, interpreting alongside the artisans while they were explaining and demonstrating how various Hermès products were made from scratch. Students went through extensive preparation, learnt highly technical terms and did an excellent job at the exhibition, impressing the artisans with their skills and professionalism.

    What our students say

    “Festival des Métiers was a rare and unique opportunity for interpreting students to gain real-life interpreting experience and was a valuable complement to the interpreting program at UNSW. It was a great feeling to be able to put into practice the skills and training we learnt in the classroom. It was also a fascinating and exciting event to be part of, and it was a privilege to be able to facilitate the communication and interaction between the artisans and the public. All in all, it was a challenging experience and gave me valuable insight into the role of an interpreter.”

    - Nadia Barlow, UNSW French Studies alumn

    David Jones Fashion Show: interpreting for the Chief make-up artist from Japan

    In August 2015, two of our Japanese stream students had the pleasure to interpret for the chief make-up artist from Japan in the week of David Jones Fashion Show. Their performance and professionalism were well received by the client.

    What our students say

    "I felt a great pleasure to be a part of this amazing and successful fashion show as an interpreter. It reminded me of how challenging and rewarding it is to be the bridge between people through the means of language. I was struck by the sight of people laughing with each other and building relationships through my translation. This great opportunity not only motivated me to improve my language and interpreting skills but also gave me the chance to rethink the role of an interpreter."

    - Yoko Takano, UNSW Japanese Studies alumn

    Healthcare seminar interpreting for community centres

    • On 20 June 2015, three of our Chinese stream students interpreted a healthcare talk on osteoporosis to the elderly Chinese audience at Ermington Community Centre. Their excellent performance was well received by the audience.
    • On 7 October 2015, two of our Indonesian stream students interpreted a healthcare talk on ‘A Good Night’s Sleep’ to the elderly Indonesian audience for the Indonesian Welfare Association at the West Ryde Community Hall. Great feedback was given on their excellent performance.

    UNSW Community Development Project: interpreting for the Community Garden Projects

    Our students interpreted for the UNSW Community Development Project (CDP): Community Garden Projects. With the help of our students, non-English speaking resident gardeners were able to attend workshops given by professionals from the Royal Botanic Garden and participate in discussions in the community meetings. In September 2015, some of our students interpreted the community meeting at the Marton Community Centre, helping resolve some major issues concerning the community gardens.

    What our students say

    “I was very lucky to have the opportunity to interpret for the project coordinator and residents from the community. The welcoming and supportive working environment at UNSW CDP is very encouraging to both the interns and the residents involved. Project coordinators and interns get to know what the community need. Community members in Marten Garden share gardening experiences with each other while enjoying their time in the community garden.

    Community members in Poet Corner Garden benefited with guidance provided by a professional gardener from the Royal Botanic Garden. The project was also a good channel to set up some connections with the community and other social groups. For example, I met a social group while working at the Poet Corner Garden. We shared how to provide excellent community service and language support to those in need. It also gave me a better idea about what to expect at work so that I can better prepare for future work while I am studying at UNSW.”

    - Shuhui Lin, Community Development Project Coordinator

    What our clients say

    “Despite the pressure and the various challenges during the day, the performance of the three student interpreters was outstanding. They kept their cool, worked cooperatively with each other and ensured that we kept to the schedule of the program. The success of the symposium rested heavily on their shoulders and they acquitted themselves admirably. Two weeks after the symposium, I received a very warm letter of appreciation from the chairman of the JRHRC, thanking all Australian participants for their contribution. Mr Cheng, Ms Ogawa and the three interpreters should regard themselves as included in that appreciation.”

    - Louis Magee, Symposium Organiser

    Conference interpreting opportunities

    During the operation and management of practicum, high-level simultaneous conference interpreting opportunities were also given to students with potential. One good success story was one of our top graduates in the Japanese stream – Yoko Takano. She took on two challenging sales conference interpreting practicum jobs that were offered through the practicum program, overcame great difficulties and grew exponentially. At the end of 2016, she got her first fully paid conference interpreting job for the Abbort Diabetes Cares 2017 Kick-off Meeting, starting her own conference interpreting career.

    Fort Street Public School: volunteering for assistance in teaching migrant students

    In 2016, we carried out a collaboration with Fort Street Public School. On campus tours were carried out for interpreting practicum students to learn more about the primary school systems in Australia, and students were then offered volunteering opportunity to assist migrant students who had difficulty understanding English for a day or two. This provided hands-on experience working with non-English speaking Children as well as knowledge of primary school education and operation in Australia.

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