Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Linguistics and Translation


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

The programme has been restructured from the BA(Hons) in Chinese and Bilingual Studies. Students can be admitted to the new BA(Hons) in Linguistics and Translation directly instead of through the Broad Discipline of Language, Culture and Communication.

Programme Aims

  • To train language and knowledge professionals for our knowledge-rich and highly connected world, with a special focus on biliteracy and trilingual proficiency;
  • To endow our graduates with highly sophisticated communication skills, especially cultural and domain sensitivity in intercultural and corporate communication; inter-personal skills and empathy in face-to-face communication as well as over digital media; and the technological know-how to master current and future new media;
  • To equip our graduates with a general knowledge of underlying concepts and profession-specific literacy and skills in linguistics, speech sciences, translation and interpreting, and corporate communication; and
  • To equip our graduates with competence in handling data analytics for language content, and the ability to extract and distil relevant trends and information from big linguistic data to meet society's needs.


  • Leveraging the combined strengths of linguistics and translation to create a synergy of theories, applications and professional training; and
  • capitalising on advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) to prepare language professionals for digital applications across a wide range of language-related professions (e.g. machine translation/interpreting, automatic tools for text and speech processing).


Medium of Instruction

English and Chinese*

*Putonghua by default; Cantonese only used in Elective Subjects on the Cantonese language


Credit Requirements

The overall credit requirements for BALT are as follows:

Part I - General University Requirements (GUR) 30 credits
Part II - Discipline-Specific Requirements (DSR) 75 credits + 3 training credits
Part III - Minor or free Electives 18 credits
Credit requirement for graduation 123 credits + 3 training credits

Academic pathways for students to pursue:

  • Major and Minor/free Electives
  • Single Discipline Major
Compulsory Subjects (18 subjects + 3 training credits) Elective Subjects (excluding subjects in Minor in Japanese and Minor in Korean within CBS)
  • Introduction to Translation
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Work-Integrated Education (WIE)
  • Introduction to Bilingual Communication
  • Academic and Technical Chinese Writing
  • Introduction to Modern Chinese
  • Introduction to Interpreting
  • Consecutive Interpreting
  • Translation for Corporate Communication
  • Translation for the Media in the Digital Age
  • Programming and Data Analysis for Language Studies
  • Semantics: Meaning in Language
  • Sounds and Sound Systems of Language
  • Pragmatics: Language in Use
  • Project in Language Studies
  • Translation Studies, Comparative and Contrastive Studies of Chinese and English Grammar
  • English for Advanced Academic Writing

  • Corporate Communication: Theory and Practice
  • Intercultural Communication in Corporate Context
  • Translation for Science and Technology
  • Translation for Legal Work
  • Simultaneous Interpreting
  • Literary Translation
  • Translation Criticism
  • Language and Society
  • Varieties of Chinese
  • Cantonese Linguistics
  • Fundamentals of Computational Linguistics
  • Syntax
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Corpus and Language Technology for Language Studies
  • Advanced Putonghua Communication Skills
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Language, Cognition and Brain
  • Language Acquisition
  • Analysis of Language Samples: Clinical Implications
  • Child Communication Disorders and Special Education Needs
  • Communication Disorders Across the Life Span
  • Language and Speech Production: Anatomical and Physiological Perspectives
  • Techniques in Language Sciences
  • Statistics for Language Studies
  • Programming Fundamentals
  • Data Structures

Career Prospects

With their high language proficiency and competence in technology, BALT graduates can develop careers in various professions, local and overseas, including but not limited to:

  • Linguistics research
  • Speech sciences+
  • Translation, interpreting
  • Administration and management
  • Education
  • Corporate communications
  • Language data analysis
  • Digital/social media content creation and editing
  • Social/cultural analysis
  • Editing and publishing
  • Civil service
  • Marketing and sales

+Further study such as a Master of Speech Therapy in CBS or another recognised programme must be pursued to become a recognised speech therapist in Hong Kong.

Entrance Requirements

PolyU welcomes applications from qualified candidates from around the world. The following guidelines are for the reference of students who wish to seek admission to PolyU based on non-local qualifications. Qualifications that cannot be found below will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

GCE A-level / International A-level

GCE Advanced Level or International Advanced Level with passes in 3 AL, OR 2 AL and 2 AS, subjects 

(This is only the minimum eligibility criteria. Applicants who gain admission, typically, attain at least BBB in 3 AL subjects.)

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A minimum score of 24 with at least grade 4 in 2 Higher Level subjects

(This is only the minimum eligibility criteria. Applicants who gain admission, typically, attain a score of 30 or above, including bonus points.)

SAT Reasoning Test/ACT/Advanced Placement Test/SAT Subject Tests

A High School (Graduation) Diploma (non-Chinese curriculum) and any one of the following:

  • a total score of 1190 in the SAT Reasoning Test; or
  • an American College Test (ACT) composite score of 24;


  • grade 3 in two Advanced Placement (AP) subjects; or
  • a score of 600 in two SAT Subject Tests

[English language requirement is waived for those attaining a score of 590 or above in the Evidence-based Reading and Writing in the SAT]

Applicants with good results in the GCE A-level / International A-level or International Baccalaureate (IB) can be granted up to 25% credit transfer upon admission to the 4-year degree curriculum.

Applicants are invited to attend an interview, accompanied by a possible written test in English and Chinese, to evaluate their potential/suitability for admission to the programme, and to examine their communication skills and interest in the field of study. 


My four years studying in the BACBS programme were very fruitful. I was given many opportunities for development in multiple academic fields and different locations around the world. The course design of the BACBS is both solid and flexible. I chose to focus on subjects related to linguistics and speech sciences while also taking some translation and communication subjects and completing a Minor in Computing.

The faculty members in CBS are very supportive of students who are interested in research. I completed several research assistantships during my study, which were very helpful when I was applying for postgraduate programmes. I was also very lucky to have presented my final-year project at several international and regional conferences, which connected me to the international linguistic research community and stimulated my curiosity about research. My undergraduate study also included an exchange semester in Singapore, two summer internships in Beijing and Moscow and a 10-day internship trip to New York.

I am very grateful for these humbling experiences, which broadened my vision of the world. Indeed, there are numerous ways of planning your university life in the BACBS programme, and opportunities are abundant if you are eager to explore.

Luo Jin (2017 Graduate)

My four years at CBS were all too brief but unforgettable. Whilst a lot of graduates feel lost and uncomfortable in their new workplaces, CBS equipped me well to become a well-rounded professional who can face new challenges. Most importantly, we have very kind and patient teachers, who are always helpful to students in need and provide countless opportunities for overseas internships or exchange study (I went to Osaka!).

In CBS, only studying your lecture notes does not lead to good grades, as the curriculum is designed to lay the groundwork to develop practical skills such as public speaking and presentations. The experience here provided a robust foundation for me to develop my career as a financial PR professional, which requires you to be well-equipped with both speaking and writing skills and the ability to multitask. The most important thing is precise time management, which you cannot learn from books, but have to develop through experience! Indeed, these skills are not only applicable to communication-related careers but very useful in all kinds of jobs. CBS gave me a platform not only to develop my essential knowledge of languages but also to sharpen my skills, giving me the capability to further develop my own career and explore my own diverse possibilities in life.

In summary, you might be a blank sheet of paper at the beginning, but over four years at CBS, you will become your own treasure map.

Lum Chun Fu (2017 Graduate)

Looking back over my four-year journey as a student of BACBS, I am glad to have been a part of a family that witnessed my growth and improvement.

The BACBS programme provides a diverse choice of disciplines, including Bilingual Corporate Communication, Linguistics and Translation and Interpreting, and also professional knowledge and practical skills in these specific areas. All of my valuable learning experiences equipped me with enhanced bilingual language proficiency and increased my understanding of the central role of culture in communication. The knowledge and skills I acquired helped me fully adapt to a working environment, in which good language competence is indispensable.

The programme also offers opportunities for experiences overseas. In my third year, I went to Denmark as an exchange student. I made friends from around the world and broadened my horizons considerably. This was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life, and I am thankful that the university provided me with such a valuable opportunity.

Yvonne Wong (2017 Graduate)

The PolyU campus community is built on warmth and affection. From joining the Faculty’s orientation programmes to taking part in activities hosted by various student groups, and through the big family of the Student Ambassador scheme, I have made lifelong friends and encountered many helpful schoolmates. We share our ups and downs and lend each other a helping hand whenever we face difficulties.

Throughout this year, I have been immersed in a multicultural environment with classmates from all over the world, like Austria, Italy, Singapore and Taiwan. By participating in the International Summer School and volunteering in the Buddy Programme for inbound exchange students, I have had various chances to use my communication skills and embrace our cultural differences. PolyU is an outstanding place for professional development. The Speech and Language Science Laboratory in our department are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and are excellent for conducting various linguistic experiments.

I am sure that studying in such a well-equipped and joyful university will help me to become a versatile future talent.

Lee Tsz Ching, Coco

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

With 80 years of proud tradition, PolyU is a world-class research university, ranking among the world’s top 100 institutions. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is a home for educating think ... Read More

With 80 years of proud tradition, PolyU is a world-class research university, ranking among the world’s top 100 institutions. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is a home for educating thinkers, communicators, and discoverers in delivering positive impact. We are committed to training tomorrow’s leaders today, through a professionally-oriented education that delivers graduates unrivaled placements to thrive in businesses and industries. We strive for inter-disciplinary research and impactful innovations for discoveries to solve real-world challenges. Our researchers are developing breakthrough ideas, fostering sustainability, lifting economic outcomes, and improving communities’ lives for the benefit of Hong Kong, the nation, and the world. Read less