M. A. Conference Interpreting

Degree Master of Arts (M. A.)
Regular completion time 4 semesters (incl. thesis)
Required course work 3600 hours (classroom and self-study)
Course credits 120 credit points
Admission winter semester (WS) only

Degree prerequisites

The general prerequisite for admission to this degree program is a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject. In addition, the following application criteria must also be met:

  • Passing the entrance exam for M. A. Conference Interpreting,
  • Submitting proof of language competency for the chosen first B-Sprache (main subject) and second B-Sprache (also referred to as C-Sprache, which refers to electives in interpreting) following the level C1 guidelines set out by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or other equivalent standard in one of the following foreign languages: English, French, Russian or Spanish. Proof of competency for the chosen first B-Sprache is to be submitted during registration for the entrance exam. Proof of competency for the second B-Sprache (C-Sprache) is to be submitted at the beginning of the first semester.
    The primary language (the so-called A-Sprache) in any language combination is always German.
  • Proof of vocal ability in the form of a phoniatric assessment (phoniatrisches Gutachten). Ideally, the assessment should be submitted at IALT during registration for the entrance exam. At latest, this document may be submitted upon acceptance to the university at the student office (Studentensekretariat) of Leipzig University.

Admission restriction: Students must pass the entrance exam and receive a positive phoniatric assessment in order to be considered for admission to the master’s program in conference interpreting at Leipzig University.

Program details

The M. A. Conference Interpreting is a practical degree program which normally builds upon the knowledge acquired in a translation-related bachelor’s degree.

Focusing on building the skills necessary for interpreting, this degree prepares students for a career as a professional interpreter. Several forms of interpreting are studied: simultaneous, consecutive, media-related, negotiation and “whisper” interpreting, as well as interpreting from written texts. Beyond this, skills will be developed in areas such as the translation of conference texts and preparation methods to use before interpreting work. Modern research techniques and electronic work equipment will also be covered.

In this degree program, two foreign “working” languages can be studied. The B-Sprache (English, French, Russian or Spanish) is established for the main subject, and this is then normally complemented by a second B-Sprache (sometimes called the C-Sprache). Students may also make a request to the IALT examination committee (Prüfungsausschuss) for permission to take a further language (30 credits) as an elective. This could be a language the student has not studied before or one in which he/she has little experience; this language will normally not be used in interpreting.

The aim of the degree is to equip students with the necessary methodological knowledge and fundamental skills in the following areas: interpreting science, specialist interpreting, rhetoric, language engineering, technical communication, and terminology. These skills will enable students to understand technical messages in the source language quickly and correctly, and allow them to translate those messages while retaining their content and stylistic properties in a linguistically and rhetorically appropriate manner.

Acquired skills and job prospects

The master’s degree in conference interpreting prepares students for a professional career as an interpreter in several different areas. Interpreters are often self-employed, but they also frequently find work in specialist agencies. In addition to the technical requirements for this career, the ability to cope with high levels of stress and a sufficient degree of mobility are a necessity. It is sometimes possible to find a permanent position at government ministries and agencies, in the EU or in other international organizations. Interpreters whose mother tongue is German often find interesting work opportunities abroad.

Note to students

New study documents apply for students who began their studies in October 2013 or later. The academic regulations, examination regulations and entrance exam regulations are applicable beginning in the winter semester of 2013/14.

Students who started their studies before 2013 are not affected by the changes. They will complete their studies according to the study documents of 13 March 2008.

last modified: 09.01.2019

Academic advisors

Dr. Beate Herting

Dr. Harald Scheel

Dr. Alexander Behrens

Dr. Martina Emsel