Module code: TRAM181

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the professional dimension of the different fields of Public Service Interpreting (PSI). It covers current issues such as the specific ethical requirements, codes of conduct, working conditions and legislation associated with PSI, as well as new trends in a constantly evolving industry and their repercussions on the PSI landscape.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

ZOU Yuan (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 90

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 8

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module explores the professional dimension of PSI (its history, current trends and professionalisation). In the module, students are acquainted with the environments and contexts in which PSI is required, and with the professional associations and opportunities for further professional development in the field of PSI, thus enhancing their employability skills, resourcefulness and critical views. Selected contexts such as police, court, healthcare are then analysed in greater depth to provide students with relevant knowledge about the procedures of interpreting in these settings. The module content is continuously updated based on contemporary phenomena and developments, and emerging trends. Case studies and examples are used to discuss the role and ethical responsibilities of the interpreter in Public Service settings and to enable students to identify the links between these responsibilities and relevant codes of conduct. The module also includes an overview of the situation and status of PSI in different countries, a discussion of national and international legislation such as Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, a reflection on how interpreters and clients can cooperate to master the challenges of PSI and the impact of technology-supported methods of interpreting as increasingly important modalities in public service setting in terms quality, interaction, perception, etc.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework GUIDED COMMENTARY (1,000-1,500 WORDS) 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their critical and reflective skills, alongside their ability to critically evaluate and appraise sources and develop own opinions and views on topical issues related to the PSI sector and profession.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

* a Guided Commentary (30%)

* a Small-Scale Research Project with Report (70%)
(This can be based on observation of practice, hands-on experience of interpreting,  or a topic covered in class discussions or identified via independent readings).


Formative, verbal  feedback will occur in class from the tutor and peers on their students’ engagement and contributions to the class discussion, as well as in individual appointments if required. Students are expected to participate actively in all activities and will receive comprehensive feedback and feed-forward to facilitate the preparation of the report.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: acquaint students with the professional and institutional contexts in which PSI is carried out
  • enable students to develop in-depth knowledge of the procedures and requirements of different PSI settings, including in particular legal and healthcare settings
  • familiarise students with the role of the public service interpreter and the ethical aspects and specific ethical dilemmas of PSI
  • enable students to develop a thorough understanding of the interpreters' codes of conduct and legislation relating to PSI
  • provide an outlook on trends such as new modalities of work and professionalisation requirements and their specific challenges in the PSI context

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will be able to: appraise the professional environments in which Public Service Interpreters work KP
002 Identify and critically engage with the procedures and requirements for different PSI assignments CP
003 Appreciate the role and ethical responsibilities of a Public Service Interpreter and interpreters¿ codes of conduct KCT
004 Demonstrate practical experience of Public Service Interpreting PT
005 Critically evaluate new trends in the field and the specific challenges that these create in PSI contextscontexts CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Combine teacher-led input and discussion (approx. 80%) and practical project work (20%).

  • Enable learning and discussion in small and large groups allowing students to enhance their global and cultural capabilities by developing awareness of the challenges and opportunities associated with PSI in different countries and contexts

  • Encourage critical evaluative skills by analysing a variety of sources, encouraging students to stay up-to-date with what is happening in the field and form an opinion in relation to how it is evolving and potential repercussions on the industry as a whole, thus enhancing their resilience, resourcefulness, sustainability and employability potential.


The learning and teaching methods include:

    • Contact hours shaped as interactive seminar format, which are complemented with materials and activities posted on SurreyLearn. These range from scholarly literature to articles from newspapers, industry magazines and other non-academic sources, including audiovisual materials, which are discussed and systematised in class, through active learning activities, small and large group discussion and, where appropriate, practical simulations.

    • Independent study during which students are expected to carry out research and read around the subject areas. To this end, students are encouraged to work individually as well as in groups, explore the history and current landscape of PSI (within the language industry) in relation to the countries whose languages they speak. This will enable students to develop increased global and cultural capabilities as well as resourcefulness and to enhance their knowledge base and competence on relevant and topical issues for interpreters.

    • Students are encouraged to be active participants throughout the course, and in doing so, develop as informed, confident, collaborative and independent learners.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: TRAM181

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in a range of areas. 

This module broadens students’ horizons in relation to a key area of interpreting, namely for public services, which is constantly evolving and varies significantly across the world. By actively engaging in seminars and discussions, students will explore the challenges and opportunities of working in this sector and will exchange information and opinions on the similarities and differences in its status and recognition across the world. As such, the module allows students to demonstrate awareness, understanding and respect for different areas within PSI. Furthermore, it helps students develop confidence in speaking as knowledgeable professionals in this field, thus preparing them for venturing out in the professional world and educating future users of interpreting in these areas. Students have opportunities to develop their critical thinking, their responsiveness to different views and, more crucially, their resourcefulness in identifying and capturing information on PSI-related issues with a view to contributing to knowledge and/or understanding of the root causes and evolution of specific challenges. Through this module, students also have the opportunity to demonstrate thorough knowledge of the forces and tensions underlying a fast-developing industry, which, in some countries, is still underrepresented. By doing so, students become educated professionals who can actively contribute to the professionalisation of a field whose mission is to give a voice to (often unrepresented) cultures or languages in socially-relevant domains (e.g. healthcare, social services, legal and pedagogical settings). By exploring a wider range of resources, beyond purely academic ones, including grey literature, multimedia and audiovisual sources, students will learn to navigate relevant platforms where to find information on the latest developments of this profession, thus finetuning their research and digital skills, while learning how to identify different nuances in an argument and develop their own critical views. 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Interpreting (Chinese Pathway) MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Translation and Interpreting Studies MRes 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Interpreting MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Translation and Interpreting MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.