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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Literary Translation?

Literary Translation is an exciting and challenging topic that involves the transferring of linguistic, as well as many layers of cultural units in literary texts from one language to another.

How do you define “literature”?

Literature for us means any text which has some human creativity in it. The text doesn’t even need to be written down. Speeches also count.

What is an MPhil and how is it different from an MA?

MPhil stands for “Master of Philosophy”. It is a master’s degree, just like the MA at other universities. However, Trinity uses an ancient system that awards MAs to people who have held Trinity undergraduate degrees for certain periods of time with no extra study. It uses MPhil for master’s degrees in order to distinguish them from these other degrees, which are not based on assessment. You can find our more here.

How long does the MPhil in Literary Translation take?

The course is one year long, starting in September and finishing in August

How many classes do you have to do?

The MPhil in Literary Translation is made up of four core modules, a dissertation, a portfolio of translations, and two optional modules. You can find our more here.

How many hours per week will I be in class?

Each of the modules has a class time of two hours per week. That means on average, you will spend an average of 10 hours in class. You will complete the vast majority of the work outside class.

What is a translation portfolio?

The translation portfolio is the centrepiece of the MPhil in Literary Translation. It is each student’s opportunity to choose 8-10 texts to translate, the strategies they would like to employ, and the target audiences they would like to reach. They produce their portfolios under the supervision of a language expert who they meat throughout the course. You can find out more here.

What is the dissertation?

The dissertation is the research component of the MPhil in Literary Translation. A student can choose either to produce a theoretical dissertation, where they analyse some historical, textual, or theoretical phenomenon; or they can opt to produce a translation & commentary dissertation in which they produce a hypothesis on the effect of translating a particular text in a particular way, and then test this hypothesis by producing the translation. You can find out more here.

What kinds of assessment are used? Is there an exam?

The MPhil in Literary Translation does not used examinations as part of its assessment package. Instead, assessments are either in the form of essays or projects which are produced over several weeks and submitted near the end of term.

What skills will I gain on the MPhil in Literary Translation?

The MPhil in Literary Translation builds a wide range of skills that will prepare you for a large number of professions, and equally for research at the PhD level. You can find out more here.

Which languages can I work with on the MPhil in Literary Translation?

All of our students work with English, and this is the common language for the course. All of our students also have skills in one or more other languages. These languages include: Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. Other languages may be accommodated too, but you are recommended to contact us to enquire about this. You can find out more here.

What are the fees for the MPhil in Literary Translation?

The MPhil in Literary Translation’s fees vary for EU and non-EU students. You can find out whether you count as an EU or non-EU student here. You can see the fees pertinent to you here.

Are there any scholarships available to study the MPhil in Literary Translation?

Trinity administers a range of scholarships which are available to students applying for a wide range of postgraduate courses. You can find a full list of the postgraduate scholarships administered by Trinity here.

What documents do I need to apply?

To apply for the MPhil in Literary Translation, you will need:
Stage 1 Document (available here)
Sample of academic writing
English language qualifications
Degree certificate(s)
Degree transcripts
Two reference letters
Online application form
Any documents that are not in English will need to be translated by a notarised official translator. You can find out more, including what we are looking for when we assess your documents here.

Where should I send my application?

When you have prepared all your documents, you should apply using Trinity’s online application system. Please do not email any documents to us. We can only accept documents uploaded to the application system. You can find out more here.

Is there a deadline for applications?

The MPhil in Literary Translation is a popular course. It is also prestigious, and places are limited both for the course as a whole and for each individual language. The last date on which an application can be accepted is 30th June. However, you are strongly recommended to apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment. You can find out more here.

If I studied English/translation/literature as my major in a non-English-speaking country, do I still need to get an English language proficiency certificate to apply?

Yes. All applicants who are not native speakers of English and have not completed a degree through the medium of English need a certificate to demonstrate their proficiency, irrespective of the subject they previously studied. You can find more details of the certification accepted by the university on this page: and on the “how to apply” page of the course:

What are the minimum entry requirements for the MPhil in Literary Translation?

The minimum entry requirements are:
A 2.1 honours class degree from an Irish university or its international equivalent (please see table on this page for guidance)
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 (please see table below for guidance). You can find out more here.

What type of career opportunities exist for graduate of the MPhil in Literary Translation?

Career opportunities for our graduates are extremely broad because of the wide range of skills we build. They include publishing, editing, project managing, subtitling, technical translation, and of course, translating literature. Our recent graduates have gone on to work in the computer game translation industry, as project managers for translation companies, and as recruiters for translation companies. Still others are pursing PhDs in related fields.

Why study Literary Translation at Trinity College Dublin?

Trinity’s MPhil in Literary Translation is unique, not only in Ireland but around the globe. We combine world-class expertise in the translation of literature and translation theory with a broad range of language and context knowledge. Our degree focuses on literature, by which we mean anything that involves creativity. This is the kind of text that is most difficult for machines to translate, and that is currently most in demand. In studying with us, you can develop a strong portfolio of skills which will serve you well in a wide range of future possible careers.

Will I learn about computer aided translation?

Yes. The MPhil in Literary Translation includes one module which introduces students to the world of computer aided translation or CAT tools. In this module you will be guided through the use of Trados, the industry-leading translation memory software. You will also have the opportunity to gain an addition qualification for your ability to use Trados at no extra cost. Moreover, we will teach you how to use subtitling software, and how to make machine translation software your friend.

What is it like being a student on the MPhil for Literary Translation?

Our students have their own room in the Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation, they work alongside industry professionals, including as our colleagues at Literature Ireland and Dalkey Archive Press, who share our building. They are also strongly encouraged to take part in all the activities of the centre, including its busy calendar of translation-based events throughout the year. You can find out more by watching our video here.