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Known and respected worldwide, our language services programs can be customized based on your interests and career goals.

Connect with Your Advisor

Your personal enrollment advisor is ready to help you navigate the application process, understand admission requirements, customize your program (see options below) to meet your career goals, explore ptions for financing your education, and connect with current students, alumni, career advisors, and faculty.

Connect with your enrollment advisor.

Choose Your Degree

Although you must select a specific degree when you apply, you will be exposed to many aspects of both translation and interpretation during your first year. After these two semesters, you, your faculty, and your academic advisor will know more about your strengths and interests, and you can finalize your degree choice and focus your studies. They are all two-year, 60-credit programs.

MA in Translation

Anything that is written is a potential translation assignment. The MA in Translation prepares you to translate treaties, laws, and press releases; user manuals, bidding specifications, and engineering plans; novels, poems, plays and subtitles for film and video; handwritten letters, medical textbooks, and historical documents; and much more. The software and localization industry also relies heavily on translators to adapt programs and user manuals to other linguistic and cultural environments. All students in the MA in Translation also receive a solid foundation in translation technology (e.g. computer-assisted translation or CAT tools) and terminology management and, with the proper prerequisites, can take additional Localization Management electives such as website localization, multilingual desktop publishing, and games localization. 

MA in Translation and Interpretation

Although translation and interpretation have much in common, the practice of each profession requires different skill sets. A translator renders the written word from one language to another. An interpreter renders the spoken word from one language to another. Some employers expect you to be able to perform both tasks and many students find that they greatly enjoy the balance of both. The Middlebury Institute is one of few graduate programs in the world that offers a combined degree that prepares you for expert professional work both in translation and interpretation. The degree also includes a grounding in translation technology (e.g. computer-assisted translation or CAT) and allows for additional localization-management electives.

MA in Conference Interpretation

A conference interpreter enables participants in multinational meetings, such as international conferences, the Olympics, diplomatic events, global business collaborations, and international litigation, to communicate with one another in a seamless fashion, making the language barrier almost imperceptible. Our MA in Conference Interpretation prepares you to interpret in two modes: consecutive and simultaneous. The degree also prepares you to sight translate documents aloud in a different language as needed during meetings or as an aid to simultaneous interpretation in a booth. Students in our Conference Interpretation degree in French or Spanish are required to have a C language.

Laura Burian on Ethics and Challenges of Diplomatic Interpreting

The 2018 summit between President Trump and Russian President Putin put the official diplomatic interpreter in an unusual spotlight. We asked Laura Burian, an experienced diplomatic interpreter, longtime member of our translation and interpretation faculty, and alumna of our program, to explain the role of the interpreter in situations like this.

Translation vs. Interpretation?

A good question, since we’ve been hearing a lot of news reports that seem to confuse them. Translation is when you take something from one language to another in the written word and interpretation is spoken.

What can the interpreter tell us?

You are bound by a canon of ethics for interpreters in general and then more specifically when you’re a diplomatic interpreter there’s a lot of laws, in fact, that will prevent you from speaking out about whatever transpired in the room. It’s typically if you are, for instance, for the US Department of State, if you’re a diplomatic interpreter, that means that you have a Top Secret security clearance, and you treat every interaction that you interpret for as Top Secret.

Any exceptions?

If something has been made public record, I suppose you could confirm, yes, that is what the public record says, but it’s not your story to tell.

What about contradicting public record?

I’ve never seen it happen. I know the reason we’re talking about this is because of recent calls for the interpreter for Trump and the meeting with Putin to come out to Congress and speak. I don’t know if she can be compelled to do so. It will take some legal investigation to figure out even if that’s possible. And I think that’s why there’s a bit of a delay and they’re trying to figure out even if they can ask for that.

How accurate are interpreter notes?

Interpreters take notes that are very much a shorthand that is to be used in the moment. Often the utterances are well under a minute in these kinds of back and forth discussions, and so you may or may not take any notes at all in the moment. If you do take notes at all for a longer utterance, you write down just what you need to remember it briefly. And so you can’t necessarily go back to your notes or even to your memory and recall, with great accuracy, everything that was said in the past. It’s in the moment that your notes are highly accurate.

Have you ever been asked?

Yes. And the instructions that I’ve followed, you know, if you’re working for the Ambassador and you are in the room and the Ambassador’s assistant is not in the room. And then you come out of the room and the Ambassador’s assistant says, can you tell me what happened? The answer is always no. There may be a reason why that person was not in the room. You don’t know all of the ins and outs of it. It’s not your judgement call to make, so it’s just always, I can’t remember, if they really press you.

Language Pairs

Students entering any of the programs choose to focus on one (or two) of the following languages, all paired with English. Each program has skill-based and language-specific courses, experienced faculty, and extensive access to internship and employment opportunities.

A, B, and C Languages

Your A language is typically the language that you grew up with and were educated in during school. This is the language and culture that you feel most familiar with and can understand and speak with fluency, cultural awareness, understanding of nuances, and grammatical accuracy.

Your B language is the language that you feel almost as proficient in as you do your A language. You typically have both substantial academic and in-country experience with this language. You understand its nuances and cultural references and can use it almost as fluently and expertly as your A language. Most translators and interpreters will listen/read in their B language as they interpret/translate into their A language, but many others will also work bidirectionally; that is, they will also listen/read in their A language and interpret/translate into their B language.

Your C language is considered a “passive” language—the language that you understand at the level of your A and/or B language, but that you will only listen to/read in order to interpret/translate into your A/B language. You will not typically translate or interpret into your C language. Many translators and interpreters add C languages to their repertoire throughout their professional lives. Pursuing a C language is only available in the Translation program and the Conference Interpretation program.  

  • C language is required for the Conference Interpretation degree in French or Spanish.  
  • C language is highly recommended for the Conference Interpretation degrees in Russian and German, as most professional positions in these languages will require a third language.

Content Area Electives

At the Middlebury Institute, you can combine your degree with electives in environmental policy, trade, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, threat financing, education management, international development, social change, and other key content areas. Once you are on campus, you will be able to explore these exciting possibilities with your academic advisor.

Spanish interpretation students have the option to take specialized coursework in Spanish community interpreting as electives.


You may pursue an optional career-oriented specialization:

  • Localization Management for those interested in pursuing more technological- or project management-oriented careers.
  • Intercultural Competence equips students with the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes to expertly lead and train multicultural teams

See the full list of specializations and certificates for other options.

Advanced Entry: Two-Semester Program


Each year, a group of highly qualified Chinese translation and interpretation candidates are selected for the Advanced Entry program, which allows them to complete the program in two semesters. These students have typically earned a master’s degree from a recognized translation and interpretation program or have at least two years of relevant full-time professional experience.

Advanced Entry students test out of the first year of courses by passing a rigorous exam offered at a variety of test locations in China or on campus at the Institute. Find out more about our Advanced Entry in Chinese.

Other Languages

For all other languages, you may be eligible to complete the degree in only two semesters if you already have a master’s degree from a recognized translation and interpretation program or at least two years of full-time professional experience, and if you test out of your first year of course work by taking the first-year final exams.

Joint Translation and Interpretation/Translation and Localization Management Degrees

Launch a flexible career in the language services industry with advanced language and technical skills. Earn two master’s degrees in three years by combining T, TI, or CI with the MA in Translation and Localization Management.

These three STEM-designated joint degrees give you more time to work on your near-native or “B” language making your translation and interpretation coursework more manageable, and increasing your chances of qualifying for advanced courses that will further your versatility in the market.

Learn more about the joint master’s degrees.

Learning Goals

The Middlebury Institute master’s degree programs in translation, translation and interpretation, and conference interpretation help students significantly improve the following professional competencies — all of which contributes to expanded career opportunities.  

These learning goals are woven throughout the entire experience at the Institute:


  • Produce consistently high-quality, purpose-effective written translations across a broad range of domains and text types,
  • Provide purpose-effective sight translation (on-the-spot oral translations of written documents),
  • Revise to publication quality their own translations and constructively edit those of others,
  • Intelligently utilize and leverage established and emerging translation technologies to optimize efficiency, consistency, quality, and collaboration in their translation work
  • Establish effective channels of communication and collaboration across different cultures, languages, norms, expectations, and circumstances,
  • Negotiate with clients effectively on the terms of an assignment,
  • Be ready to quote, budget, and invoice a translation project


  • Provide consistently high-quality, purpose-effective interpretation in both the consecutive and simultaneous modes across a diversity of bilingual and multilingual contexts, including international conferences and business, government, healthcare, legal and educational settings,
  • Intelligently utilize and leverage established and emerging technologies and resources to optimize the efficiency, quality, and adaptive delivery of interpretation,
  • Establish effective channels of communication and collaboration across different cultures, languages, norms, expectations, and circumstance,
  • Negotiate with clients effectively on the terms of an assignment,
  • Be ready to quote, budget, and invoice for interpretation services,
  • Recruit an interpreting team and serve as a chief interpreter,
  • Advise clients on optimal interpreting arrangements and technologies for effective multilingual events

Careers and Internships

The Institute has established partnerships with organizations around the world, providing Translation and Interpretation students with summer internships and postgraduate opportunities:

  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • United Nations (New York, NY)
  • Stanford Hospitals and Clinics (Stanford, CA)
  • Office of Language Services, U.S. Department of State (Washington, DC)
  • Organization of American States (Washington, DC)

Professional Affiliations

The Institute is an active member of a number of translation, interpretation, and localization professional and educational organizations:

Note-Taking for Consecutive Interpretation

Advance your skills as an interpreter in this online, self-paced mini-course: Note-Taking for Consecutive Interpretation. Learn key concepts and definitions, memory skills, symbols, speech types, tools to support listening, and more. Professor Laura Burian teaches this five-to-seven-hour course. Learn more.

Tuition and Fees

Visit our tuition and fees page for detailed information.