Monday, 21 January 2013


Issued: 21/01/13

For Immediate Release


Translation studies at Imperial College London could soon become a thing of the past.

Imperial’s Management Board is seriously considerating disbanding the Translation Studies Unit from October 2013 – not because of poor performance or high costs, but because it lacks ‘strategic fit’.

The TSU, which runs highly popular and successful MSc and PhD programmes in scientific, technical and medical translation, has been informed that it may be forced to down tools and move to another university – or close outright – simply because its work is not properly recognised by the institution where it is based.

The College argues that the unit does not fit in with its strategic aims and mission statement. However a careful reading of these two documents indicates that it matches them point by point. The unit’s MSc focuses closely on conveying scientific and medical knowledge across languages and cultures, and is one of the only programmes worldwide to offer such targeted training to tomorrow’s specialised translators.

Indeed, the programme is unique to the College and unlike all other Masters degrees in translation, most of which focus on general or literary rather than scientific types of translation. PhD students research relevant topics and the academic staff publish work on scientific and medical translation, translation technology and audiovisual translation.

Staff, students, alumni and wellwishers are up in arms about the proposals, which if given the go-ahead would see the unit being forced to look for a new home – or closing down entirely should this prove impossible.

A 30-day consultation period commenced on 18 January, during which time it is hoped that as many people as possible will make their views felt about this incomprehensible and potentially destructive plan. Already the unit’s online petition ( has attracted over 2,500 signatures in little more than 48 hours and is growing by the hour.

Notes to Editors:
1. Contact: Dr Jorge Díaz Cintas,, 020 7594 8747.
2. The Translation Studies Unit ( was founded in 2000 and has been running its MSc in Scientific, Technical and Medical Translation with Translation Technology since 2001. There are currently 52 students registered on the Masters, and around 300 former students worldwide. The Unit also supervises around 25 PhD students and is active in various relevant areas of research. The Unit has four core members of staff, one administrator and a large number of part-time tutors.

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