Literary Translation (M.Phil.)

NFQ Level 9
MPhil-1 year full time /3 years part time; PG Dip – 1 year full time / 2 years part time; PG Cert – 1 year part time 
20 Places


Course Overview

The M.Phil. in Literary Translation is a unique opportunity to develop a wide range of practical skills related to translation, while also building a strong understanding of the theory and history of translation thought and a keen critical eye.

The programme is based in the Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation, Ireland’s foremost centre for the study and practice of literary and cultural translation. Our students are ideally placed to build professional networks and to see the translation industry from the inside.

The course’s name uses the term “literary”. However, this should not be taken to indicate only novels and poems. In fact, the course’s definition of “literature” is so broad as to include anything that involves human creativity, including video games, subtitles, speeches, comics, and songs. Translation, and especially the kind of creative translation we develop as part of the M.Phil. in Literary Translation, has been a subject of huge interest in recent years, both within academia and in industry. At the same time, the demand for well-qualified translators continues to grow internationally, and this form of translation more than any other is coming to be valued as something that is not easily done by machines.

The M.Phil. in Literary Translation equips you with the skill to apply translation theory to your literary translation practice in creative and original ways. You will craft a unique portfolio of translations under the guidance of academic and professional mentors. You will take part in team projects, aimed at simulating the realities of the translation industry, and you will be trained in the latest specialist translation tools.

On this varied and demanding course, you will be provided with a wealth of opportunities to develop your understanding of translation, expand your practical translation skills, and prepare either to work in translation or to undertake advanced research.

Is This Course For Me?

Located in the heart of multicultural Dublin, Trinity College provides a uniquely rich environment for studying and researching translation. Trinity has fostered many literary giants over the centuries such as Nobel Prize winner, Samuel Beckett, and has one of the best records for teaching languages in the world. Trinity was even the first university in the world to introduce the study of modern continental languages in 1776.

Our students are taught by translation theorists and language specialists with a highly diverse range of research interests.

They also have direct contact with practising translators through our Literary Translator in Residence Scheme, and busy programme of events.

The M.Phil. in Literary Translation offers an unrivalled degree of freedom. Our students customise their own programmes, follow their own research interests in assignments and dissertations, translate what and how they want to translate in portfolios, and focus on honing the professional skills that are most valuable to them.

Career Opportunities

Trinity students are highly valued by the translation industry. We organise workshops with our industry partners throughout the year, and offer a long list of opportunities to network and collaborate from the beginning until the end of the degree.

There is a strong and growing demand for highly trained translators with the creativity and linguistic prowess to create aesthetically appealing work. Such translators are already sought out not only in the field of literature, but also in the private and public sector, in international organisations, media, and education. We have close ties with many such organisations and give our students regular opportunities to interact with them.

Course Structure

The programme can be accessed via three different entry routes, each of which offers its own advantages. The M.Phil. programme (90 ECTS credits) can be studied full-time over 1 year or part-time over 3 years. The Postgraduate Diploma (60 ECTS credits) can be studied full-time over 1 year or part-time over 2 years (30 ECTS per year). The Postgraduate Certificate (30 ECTS credits) is a 1 year part-time programme. Subject to satisfactory progress, it is possible to transition from the Certificate to the Diploma and then to the M.Phil.. For more information please visit the programme website:

Course Content

Certificate students take four of the core modules: Theory and History of Translation; Linguistic and Textual Analysis; Aspects of the Profession; and Interlingual Technologies. Diploma students add the Literary Translation Portfolio to this list.

MPhil students also add the Research Training Seminars.

Students choose two of the option modules from a variety of elective modules that vary year by year.Electives offered in recent years include: Discovering the Other: East-West Encounters in Translation History; Translation Studies Methodologies; Dantean Echoes; Europe and Its Identities: A Cultural History; Medieval and Renaissance Foundations of Western Europe; Madness, Nonsense and Identity in Literature; European Cinema and Identity; Don Quixote: Romance, Comedy and the Modern Novel; Food, Drink and European Cultural Identities; Postmodernist Literature in East and Central Europe.

Each student crafts a portfolio of 8-10 literary texts of their choice, together with short commentaries on the strategies used and how effective these were in reaching their intended goal.
Students complete a 15-20,000-word dissertation. This dissertation can take the form either of a theoretical analysis of one or more translations, or an experimental translation and commentary, in which a student posits a new way to translate,and demonstrates it.
Click Here for further information on modules/subjects.

Study Literary Translation (M.Phil.) at Trinity

This course video is designed to provide an understanding of Literary Translation postgraduate programme at Trinity College Dublin.

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Number of Places

20 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Director

Dr. James Hadley

Closing Date

28th June 2024

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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements:
•    A minimum 2.1 honours class degree from an Irish university or its international equivalent.
•    A demonstrable working knowledge of two or more languages
•    For candidates who are not native English speakers and have not completed a degree through the medium of English, a minimum IELTS score of at least 6.5 in each category or its equivalent is required
Application and next steps
You may apply at any point between the applications being opened in the autumn, and the closing date being reached in the summer. However, the course is popular, and applications are handled on a first-come first-served basis. So, you are strongly advised to apply early in order to avoid disappointment.
We do our best to provide applicants with an answer within 3 weeks of receiving their full applications. Partial applications that are missing any of the materials listed below cannot be considered until they are completed.
Required Materials
For this course, you will need to prepare all these materials to apply:
a)      Stage 1 Document:    The Stage 1 Document is available here.. It includes sections on the languages you intend to work with, a personal statement, and a sample translation. Please complete it in full without altering the format of the form.
When we assess your application, we are looking for evidence that you:
•    are able to pick up on and reproduce the idiosyncrasies of a literary text in another language
•    have a broad lexical resource
•    can create a translation with a high degree of cohesion
•    can understand and use a large number of grammatical structures accurately
•    understand what experience, understanding and skills you can bring to the programme
•    know why you would like to study literary translation at the postgraduate level
•    know why you would like to study literary translation specifically at Trinity
•    can show how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
•    know what you would like to do with your degree
The personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme delivers. Students whose aims fall outside the scope of the course are likely to be rejected on ethical grounds.
b)      Sample of academic writing:    You will require a sample of around 2,500 words of your best academic writing in English. This writing can be on any subject. It is used by our assessment panel to see whether you have the skills required to pass this course.
When we assess your application, we are looking for evidence that:
•    you are able to build an academic argument with a research question or thesis statement and conclusions
•    you are able to create a logical structure to your argument
•    you can critically analyse others' options and the evidence you see
•    you have a good working understanding of the apparatus of academic writing, including referencing, quoting, signposting, and using a bibliography
•    your command of academic English is strong
This course is highly intensive. The sample of academic writing is your opportunity to show that you have the skills required to pass the course. Students whose sample of academic writing do not demonstrate these skills to a sufficient extent are rejected on ethical grounds.
c)      English language qualifications:    Unless you have completed a degree through the medium of English or are a native speaker, you are required to prove your proficiency with the language. Trinity prefers IELTS, but will accept alternative tests run by international organisations, such as TOEFL.
d)      Degree certificate(s):    You will require the certificates that prove you have completed all of the degrees you mention in your application. If you haven't yet completed your degree, you can still apply and supply these documents when you have them.
e)      Degree transcripts:    You will need official transcripts showing all of the components you have completed as part of your degree(s). If these official documents are in a language other than English, they may need to be translated by a certified translator.
f)      Two reference letters:    You should ask two people who are not related to you to write letters of reference, recommending you for this course and laying out why you would be a good candidate.
g)      Online application form:    Once you have all of these materials, please click on the link below, 

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 896 3225

Dr James Hadley (course director):


Register Your Interest

Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

Register Your Interest

The M.Phil. in Literary Translation taught me to look at translation in ways I had never considered before. It taught me how to complete a professional translation project and interact with translation technologies, but also developed my interest in translation studies research. The course offers a balance between practice and theory, providing a solid foundation for anyone pursuing a professional career in translation or further academic study. I particularly enjoyed the events organised throughout the year, which gave me an opportunity to meet many authors and translators from all over the world. Furthermore, being based at the Trinity Centre for Literary Translation made me feel part of Dublin's literary community and having our own study space was a fantastic bonus during the exam periods!

Alicja Zajdel


In this programme we are always immersed in cultural diversity. We have students from different countries that speak different languages, and we always end up learning a lot from each other.

Priscila Ribeiro