Course specification and structure
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PMCONINT - MA Conference Interpreting

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Arts Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Professional Development
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Subject Area Professional Courses
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS  
Part-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning

  • The MA Conference Interpreting is a balanced curriculum that offers theory embedded in practice. Skills are highly practical.
  • The main collaborative approach is based on the community of practice model which is defined for interpreters. Interpreting is a highly competitive environment and a CoP model is essential to offer a collaborative approach within a highly demanding and pressurised environment.
  • All teaching takes place in the Interpreting Suite at Moorgate. This is a unique professional environment that prepares interpreting students to work in professional settings on the private market as well as the international institutions such as the EU and the UN. Students are then taught to use the equipment and perform interpreting during set taught activities such as mock conferences but also independent practice organised by students and interpreting alumni. The interpreting suite is a state of the art environment which blends training needs and professional interpreting settings. This is the most vital facility in the course which could not run without it.
  • The course includes lectures, seminars, presentations, workshops and practical interpreting performance; there are research-based exercises, reflective exercises, practice-based exercises including professional simulations such as mock conferences (Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpreting) and interpreting in situ which includes a placement element. Students will be able to benefit from a unique module dedicated to conference interpreting in the EU/UN setting. This includes understanding how multilingual and multi cultural conferences are organised, following the EU/UN model. Students will then have to organise their mock conferences implementing new strategies, interacting with all stakeholders and programming digital interpreting equipment.
  • There is a mixture of class based and independent study, e.g. use of online speech repositories, review and interpreting practice of all filmed speeches done in class on our YouTube channel Interpreting at London Met; independent interpreting practice using tools such as Skype and Google Hangout; independent interpreting practice with interpreting alumni face to face or virtually.
  • Collaborative tools that are essential for face to face, semi independent and independent learning include the use of Weblearn, where all teaching materials can be found, discussion tools to prepare glossaries of terminology and audio files (speeches for homework). In addition, students are all members of a Google Community private page that allows them to communicate from the moment they have an unconditional offer on the course to graduation and beyond. They then become interpreting alumni and join the Ambassadors Scheme helping new students. The page is then helping them to set up as professionals and continue to benefit from the CoP synergies.
  • Virtual classes (interpreting practice with 10 partner universities , the United Nations and the European Commission across the world). Students can then practise language combinations they have as well as others which are not officially offered on the course such as Russian into Italian;
  • Students interpret in professional settings where they can practise interpreting in real professional conditions. This includes guided walks around London using the mobile interpreting system called tour guide system. Students can then practise interpreting ‘on the go’ as it is done professionally. Guided walks include visits to the Bank of England, Lloyd’s of London, Buckingham Palace and the Barbican centre. In addition, students have the possibility to practice interpreting in real life meetings at the European Commission (Brussels), the United Nations (Geneva), the International Maritime Organisation (London), the Court of Justice of the European Union (Luxembourg) and criminal courts in London. As London Met has a MoU with the UN (only 19 universities do in the world), works closely with the EU and is a member of the CIUTI (Consortium International des Universites de Traduction et d’Interpretation - only 42 members in the world), students can benefit from guidance from the professionals who are potential employers. These interpreting assignments outside university are then used for their placement elements. Many other possibilities of placement are offered to students.
  • Language specific tutorials led by HPLs who are professional interpreters, many of them working for international institutions and the private market. This offers students the possibility to gain specific feedback and learn current relevant interpreting strategies.
  • Use of library services for resources (IT and resources on line, journals and books). Use of IT hot desking areas and social learning areas in Moorgate (mainly 5th floor, canteen area and the HUB.

Course aims

The aims of the course are:

  • To provide students with an opportunity to study practical and theoretical aspects of interpreting at postgraduate level.
  • To offer students the opportunity to study and be trained in two interpreting fields: Public Service Interpreting and Conference Interpreting.
  • To provide an opportunity for research, theoretical reflection and self-assessment in interpreting.
  • To familiarise students with the professional interpreting environment and its requirements.
  • To offer opportunities of placement and to equip students with professional skills.
  • To familiarise students with the interpreter's professional etiquette and code of practice.
  • To produce linguistically competent and culturally aware language mediators who will meet the needs of both industry and the interpreting profession at entry level.
  • To fulfil University aims in relation to access and equal opportunity.

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice.

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
As previously stated:

  • apply methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship in Conference Interpreting
  • apply knowledge with originality, based on a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in Conference Interpreting
  • evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in Conference Interpreting
  • evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • exercise self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level
  • advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.
  • exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations
  • learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

There is no benchmark statement applicable to this course.

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment: essays, presentations, practical consecutive and simultaneous performance, research project or dissertation.
Formative assessment: self and peer evaluation, case study, mentoring scheme, group work, personal feedback, one to one support when required.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

The course includes a compulsory work placement made of three interpreting assignments (one assignment involves the shadowing of a professional interpreter at work; the two remaining interpreting assignments need to be carried out under supervision whenever possible. They usually are dummy booth practice or voluntary work). Work Placement is part of TR7051 The Interpreter’s Professional Environment.

Dummy booth practice and court visits organised by university can be used as placements.

Modules required for interim awards

For Masters award – see Course Structure
PG Diploma – All taught modules
PG Cert - TR7048, TR7049 and TR7070

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Students are encouraged to keep a log book and personal development plan with one to one interviews with lecturers. The log book is more specifically used for the module relating to employability.

Personal learning objectives are identified at the beginning of each practice with a review of achievements at the end of the practice. Peer assessment and group reflection take place in every taught session.

Interpreting practice is a performance practice and students are always exposed to what may seem a highly critical environment. This is why students are taught on providing self and peer assessment. In addition, tutors can see how students feel at the time of performance. It is possible to discuss stress management, progress and motivation at the end of lessons and during scheduled appointments.

The use of the Google Community private page is a collaborative tool that enhances trust within the group. As such, students continuously post information relating to formal and informal teaching and learning. Questions pop up all the time and it is possible for everyone including teaching staff to provide information and suggestions for strategies in real time. As the app is integrated in mobile phones and tablets, it is all done in real time and feels integrated to everyone’s life, at university and outside university life too.

Finally, interpreting is a face to face communication activity which means many hours with staff who can easily pick up on students who need additional time and support.

Arrangements on the course for careers education, information and guidance

There is a module dedicated to employability (TR7051) on both courses. This includes a placement already described above. Within the framework of this module, a representative of the Careers unit at London Met comes to speak to students about CV. In addition, dedicated boot camp days are being organised by the Accelerator, tailor made to self employed interpreters. Guest speakers from all professional interpreting and translation organisations (CiOL, ITI, AIIC) are invited to speak to students. Representatives of employers in the interpreting field come to London Met to present their profession within the context of their organisation.

Finally our extensive visit programme allows students to experience interpreting within the professional context of the European Commission, the United Nations, the Court of Justice of the European Union and courts.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

  • CIUTI experts coming as guest speakers or visitors
  • Staff from partner universities during virtual classes
  • Interpreters from the UN during placement in Geneva and during virtual links
  • Interpreters from the European Commission during dummy booth practice (Brussels) and during visits at London met (assistance pedagogique) and during virtual classes.
  • Professional organisations providing presentations (Institute of Interpreting and Translation, Chartered Institute of Linguists, AIIC International Association of Conference Interpreters)
  • Ad hoc visitors from the industry such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
  • Erasmus visitors from partner universities who teach interpreting
  • As a member of the National Network for Interpreting (NNI) and the NNT (National Network for Translation, student can benefit from many career opportunities and events during the year.
  • As a member of Routes into Languages, course taster days are organised. Out membership means we are connected to other professionals in the field and can as such be up to date with events and opportunities.

Career opportunities

Students who complete the course automatically fulfil the requirement to access the EU/UN interpreting accreditation test to work as conference interpreters. Graduates can continue to come to London Metropolitan University to practise conference interpreting thanks to our short courses and events (CPD).

Graduates are also fully qualified to work as conference interpreters on the private market in the UK and abroad, and to continue onto further study with a PhD.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a first degree with a 2.1 (or a 2.2 with professional experience in interpreting) (applications from candidates with substantial experience as a professional interpreter but no degree will be considered)
  • Certificate and Diploma level English and one other language / MA level English and one or two other languages
  • near-native proficiency in your first foreign language (language B) and/or a good command of their second foreign language (language C)

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Entrance aptitude test

Application forms are processed by the admissions tutor. Once you've demonstrated that you match the entry criteria, you're invited to London Metropolitan University (Moorgate campus) to attend the entrance aptitude test. For international students, the test can be done remotely. The entrance aptitude test is free and generally runs on Fridays between 10am and 1pm twice a month. It includes:

  • translations into and from English
  • presentations in the mother tongue and foreign languages
  • consecutive interpreting into the A language (mother tongue)
  • essay writing
  • an interview with the admissions tutor and interpreting lecturers

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
JACS codes Q910 (Translation Studies): 100%
Route code CONINT

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
TR7048 The Interpreter's Skills and Tools Core 20 CITY AUT MON AM
          CITY AUT WED AM
TR7049 Interpreting Theory and Research for Interpreters Core 20 CITY AUT MON PM
TR7051 The Interpreter's Professional Environment Core 20 CITY SPR WED AM
TR7070 Conference Interpreting 1 Core 20 CITY AUT TUE AM
TR7071 Conference Interpreting 2 Core 20 CITY SPR TUE PM
          CITY SPR TUE AM
TR7082 Conference Interpreting (EU/UN Context) Core 20 CITY SPR MON PM
          CITY SPR MON AM
TR7P81 MA Research Project Core 60 CITY SPR MON PM
          CITY SUM MON EV
          CITY SUM MON PM
          CITY SPR MON EV

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
TR7048 The Interpreter's Skills and Tools Core 20        
TR7049 Interpreting Theory and Research for Interpreters Core 20        
TR7051 The Interpreter's Professional Environment Core 20        
TR7070 Conference Interpreting 1 Core 20        
TR7071 Conference Interpreting 2 Core 20        
TR7082 Conference Interpreting (EU/UN Context) Core 20        
TR7P81 MA Research Project Core 60