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Legal Interpreting Diploma

Get the skills to help meet the increased demand for qualified legal interpreters and translators caused by global migration.
September 2021
Up to 12 months
£77 per credit (UK) *
£117 per credit (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Brooke Townsley

Why study legal interpreting with us

Qualified legal interpreters and translators are in high demand – and our legal interpreting course gives you the expert knowledge and practical experience to pursue exciting career opportunities in both the UK and abroad.

Through a mix of classroom sessions, self-study, interactive activities and research and reflection, you’ll gain the essential training to take the Institute of Linguists Educational Trust Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) exam.

As well as your DPSI training, you’ll also gain a stand-alone interpreting qualification that will open up career opportunities in both criminal and civil justice settings.

Develop your legal interpreting skills with us

You’ll have access to our digital language laboratory and conference interpreting facilities – and you’ll learn to work collaboratively using our e-learning technologies.

Additionally, you’ll get the flexibility to tailor your studies to your preferred language combinations.

If you’re an experienced linguist, you’ll be able to apply for Accreditation of Prior Learning, which will give you direct entry into the second module.

Get the support you need to succeed

We ensure every student has adequate support throughout their time with us. That’s why you’ll get matched with a Personal Tutor as well as a Student Learning Assistant and a Graduate Academic Assistant. They’ll have experience in your subject area and will be able to help whenever you need.

If you achieve 1-5 on the University 20-point scale, you’ll automatically be able to register on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI).

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on the Diploma in Legal Interpreting?

The Diploma in Legal Interpreting consists of two modules:

DPSI: Foundations (15 credits)
This module is designed for those new to the discipline of interpreting and translation. Students without prior experience will take this module between September and January, in parallel with their Legal Specialisation module.

Those with 100 hours of accredited interpreting experience, the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting or an academic background in languages can apply to be considered for direct entry into the Legal Specialisation module.

DPSI: Legal Specialisation (30 credits)
This module teaches you the skills you need to work as a legal interpreter. The module runs from October to April/May. In addition to preparing you to graduate with an undergraduate level interpreting and translation qualification, the module prepares you for the Chartered Institute of Linguists Educational Trust Diploma in Public Service Interpreting, legal option.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

Changes for students in 2020

If you’re starting university in 2020, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.

We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so that we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we’re aiming to teach you through some small group sessions on campus, with other interactive teaching as well as larger lectures delivered online and recorded sessions available to you on-demand. If you’re unable to make it to campus at first, or we need to limit access to campus in the future, your course can be delivered fully online.

The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes and make arrangements for any face to face sessions (for example, in some cases these could take place every two weeks with an increased number of hours), the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario 1: course delivered fully online

Live learning

Contact time per week per level:

2 hours per module

Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week per level:

7 hours per module

On demand resources

Average hours per week per level:

1.5 hours per module

Scenario 2: course delivered with a mix of online and face to face learning with social distancing in place

Live learning

Contact time per week per level:

2 hours per module

Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week per level:

7 hours per module

On demand resources

Average hours per week per level:

1.5 hours per module

Face-to-face sessions

Contact time per week per level:

1 hour per module

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your Teaching and learning - typical structure experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching  with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live learning – Live learning will cover everything you’ll do with teaching staff like lectures, seminars, workshops and other classes, and we’ll schedule all of this for you. This might include some study outside your regular timetable, like taking part in discussion forums or online blogs where you’re supported by academic staff.
  • Independent learning – Independent learning is all the studying you’ll do outside your live learning sessions with teaching staff. This self-paced study will give you the chance to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time as you need to, and you’ll have access to on-demand resources and materials to help you do your best.
    • Self-paced study – Self-paced study will give you the chance to learn wherever and whenever you want to and at your own pace, outside your live learning sessions. This independent learning could include reading and reflection, preparation for classes, revision or homework along with access to other online activities such as quizzes.
    • On-demand resources – You'll have access to on-demand resources like pre-recorded video lectures and workshops as part of your independent study. You’ll be able to review and revisit whenever you need to at your own pace.
  • Face to face sessions – Wherever it’s possible to do so, and we can make the necessary arrangements to ensure your safety, you’ll be able to attend scheduled sessions, workshops or appointments on campus as part of your live learning. The number of hours given in this scenario provides an indication of the number of hours of face to face learning you could expect, and a full timetable will be provided to you before the start of your course.


You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will mainly be delivered online and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2020/21

Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees from October 2021
  3. EU / International
  4. Additional costs

How can the Diploma in Legal Interpreting support your career?

UK Police forces, the HMCTS and language service providers require their linguists to have formal interpreting qualifications. Rates of pay are also higher for qualified linguists. The Diploma in Legal Interpreting is one of these qualifications. Graduates of the Diploma in Legal Interpreting go on to work in a range of settings across the whole of the UK Criminal and Civil Justice systems, including police stations, Magistrates and Crown Courts, the Tribunals Service, and the Prisons and Probation Service.

Diploma in Legal Interpreting students who score between grades 1 -5 on the 20-point scale (equivalent in level to a first class honours degree) can also apply for registration on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) without the need to take a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI). For those who want to get a Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) in addition to their university Diploma, the Diploma in Legal Interpreting provides an excellent preparation for the DPSI exam.

Middlesex University is also a CIoL Exam Centre and a CIoL Higher Education Languages Partner.

Brooke Townsley
Course Leader

Brooke Townsley (MA, RPSI, FCIOL) is senior lecturer in public service interpreting and translation in the School of Health and Education. He worked as a legal interpreter and translator with English and Turkish in the Criminal and Civil justice systems before joining the university in 2000, having lectured in legal interpreting and translation.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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