Full-time, in class Interpretation and Translation Diploma (Mandarin Chinese/English)

Frequently asked questions about this program

Admission and application process

Q: Do I need a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score for admission to the Interpretation and Translation Diploma?

A: No. To be admitted to our program, you must meet the admission requirements and have a university degree. In addition, you must pass our pre-program interview and language assessment. We evaluate all application materials, considering both past academic performance and professional experience, in our decision-making process.

Q: Can I study/prepare for the screening tests?

A: No. Our assessment tests allow you to spontaneously demonstrate your language abilities. No quick-study techniques will help you prepare for the tests, but you can download a few samples.

Q: What is the application deadline for the Interpretation and Translation Diploma?

A: For the current application deadline, please visit our Program details page. Since space is limited, we encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Q: I don’t have a university degree. Should I apply?

A: We also consider other forms of post-secondary education from recognized universities and colleges. In some cases, we'll also consider an equivalent combination of educational and practical experience. If you are unsure about your qualifications, please contact us before applying.

Q: How soon will I receive an admission decision?

A: We typically make admissions decisions within four to six weeks of receiving your application.

Program-related questions

Q: Do you offer online interpretation and translation courses?

A: No, we do not currently offer online courses.

Q: Can I take individual interpretation and translation courses?

A: No. Our diploma is available only to students who are admitted to the program and take each course.

Q: How many students are in the program?

A: Class sizes are small. Each has 15 to 20 trainees to allow for more interaction with your instructors.

Q: Are there any textbooks required for the program?

A: There are no required textbooks. Class materials will be available on-line and in class.

Q: Do you offer a co-op program or job-search assistance?

A: Though we do not have a co-op program, we do offer some exclusive job and volunteer opportunities for trainees and graduates. Additionally, our curriculum includes professional development workshops in job search training and clientele building.

Further, the practical experience you will get through weekly interpretation field trips will be invaluable in your job search. On these trips, in addition to interpreting presentations, you will network and make potential business contacts with people in Greater Vancouver. You’ll also have an opportunity to connect with people at local and international conferences.

Career prospects

Q: What kind of jobs can I get after I finish this program?

A: In British Columbia, translators and interpreters who are fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English have an advantage in the job market. During the training program, you will acquire and develop the professional knowledge and skills you need to work competently as an interpreter and translator in a variety of situations.

It is important to note, however, that many of these job opportunities require experience and specialized skills. Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of the field trips we offer as well as potential volunteer positions throughout the community where you can network with potential employers.

Approximately 50 per cent of our graduates are currently employed as translators and interpreters. Almost a quarter are self-employed and have variable work schedules. Others work in politics, media and journalism, business, creative writing, marketing research, schools, immigration services, local councils, courtrooms, conference centres, health care and social services.

Because of their language skills, about 40 per cent of our graduates are hired by international organizations to work in project management, account management, and foreign-language customer service and sales positions. They sometimes work on freelance translation and interpretation assignments in addition to their full-time work.

Certification with the STIBC

Q: How do I become a certified interpreter/translator after I complete this program?

A: Certification is granted by the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia (STIBC). STIBC recognizes the coursework our program graduates have done and credit it toward their certification. For information about becoming a Certified Interpreter/Translator, please contact the STIBC directly.

Financial assistance

Q: Is the Interpretation and Translation Diploma eligible for funding through Canada Student Loans?

A: Unfortunately, this program is not eligible for student loans. If you are a Canadian citizen, you may be eligible for a grant. The Canadian government provides grants to Canadians with demonstrated financial need. You can find out more on their website.

Accommodation and living expenses

Q: What kinds of housing options are available to students?

A: SFU does not have designated accommodations located on or near our downtown Vancouver campus. It is up to you to find suitable accommodation. Many Canadian families welcome international students. Renting is another option open to students, but price, quality, and availability vary. Rents are often quite high in downtown Vancouver, and apartments are not always available. Some students share accommodation to keep costs down, and most find housing that meets their needs and preferences. The average cost of shared accommodation in Vancouver is C$600–$850 per month. The average cost of a suite or apartment is C$850–$1,500 per month.

Prices can vary greatly according to location and time of year, so try to make all the necessary arrangements before you leave for Canada.


Q: Are interpretation and translation students eligible for the U-Pass program?

A: Because our program is a non-credit professional training program, and our students do not pay various student fees on campus, they are not eligible for the U-Pass program.


Q: If I am accepted into your program, when do I have to pay my tuition?

A: When you are accepted into one of our programs, we will send you a letter of offer, which contains specific tuition payment details. If you are an international student, you will receive a formal letter of admission after you pay your tuition in full. You'll be able to use this letter to apply for your study permit.

Q: What do the tuition fees include? Are there any additional costs?

A: Tuition fees include classroom instruction, course materials, day field trips (excluding public transit where applicable), and on-campus wireless Internet access. Accommodations, health/dental insurance, incidental fees such as your student ID card, and out-of-town, on-site interpreting training are extra.

Q: Is there a different fee structure for international students?

A: No. Both international students and permanent residents/Canadian citizens pay the same tuition of C$13,500.  

Visas and study permits

Q: Do I need a study permit to take your program?

A: Yes. In general, foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. You must apply for a study permit before coming to Canada to take our eight-month, full-time diploma program. Ensure that you have a letter of admission from our program before you begin the application process.

Q: I am an international student. How do I apply for a study permit?

A: You can apply for the study permit at the Canadian visa office in your country, or, in specific cases, online with a formal letter of admission from our office, your passport, and proof of monetary funds available to you while studying in Canada. Some students may also need a medical exam.

Q: How will I receive a letter of offer/admission from your office?

A: All applicants who pass our assessment tests will receive a letter of offer via email. If you are an international student, you must pay your tuition in full before receiving your letter of admission, which you need to apply for a study permit.

Q: Do I need to purchase medical insurance?

A: Yes. Medical insurance is mandatory for all SFU students. You must purchase and provide proof of medical insurance coverage either before you arrive or on the first day of classes.
If you are an international student, we encourage you to apply for the B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as you arrive. You are responsible for applying for this plan.
Before you are covered by MSP, or if you are not covered by MSP, please visit Guard.Me to arrange for coverage. The cost for this plan is $1.45/day. You must purchase coverage for a minimum of 14 days but no more than 365 days. This coverage must last until you receive coverage from the B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP).

Q: Are international students allowed to work after graduating from your program?

A: Always direct visa-related questions and concerns, including questions about employment eligibility, to Immigration Canada. You may find general information about the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, at on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.