Roundtable on literary translation

This event was held on Friday 9th June, and streamed online via Zoom. It was interpreted live by M.A. and MSc students, with the spoken interpreters working either remotely or on-site in the LINCS interpreting labs. There were 61 registrations for the event, with a mixture of university students and school pupils, and 150 views of the follow-up recordings.

The session showcased home-grown talents both through the panel and through the interpreting provided, and it also highlighted the existence of a dynamic research community. Panellists enjoyed the event and those who were not familiar with interpreting were impressed to witness the complexities of this activity.

Student interpreters also had a chance to network with the speakers over lunch, and were able to gain some experience of the challenges of a real, online remote interpreted event, with the support of colleagues to help them through – José Mari for the spoken interpreting  team, and Stacey for the BSL team.  

The panel was composed of the following contributors:  

  • Owen Harrington-Fernandez, who focused on his work on translating for a young audience, and the ways to translate various voices. Owen also talked about current research on literary translation. 
  • Maike Hopp, LINCS graduate, who currently combines conference interpreting and translation with her early career in literary translation. Maike shared her insight on the differences between these various forms of expert linguist work, and how complementary they can be nonetheless.  
  • Leri Price (current PhD student at Heriot-Watt and award-winning literary translator) and Esther Tyldesley (experienced award-winning literary translator) explored the challenges and strategies adopted when translating from languages (Arabic and Chinese respectively) which not only work very differently compared to English, but also entail concepts and references that are very culturally specific.  
  • Vineet Lal (MSc graduate, contributing teacher and experienced translator shortlisted recently for an award), who delved into the challenges of translating children’s literature and how to be faithful to a text in which musicality matters as much as meaning. 
  • Clémentine Beauvais (experienced translator and established writer) discussed her approach to translating poetry and how her own writing work feeds into her translation work and vice-versa.  

While the speakers had an opportunity to share their experience of literary translation, the audience enjoyed the detailed presentations by experts in this field, and also got the chance to experience an interpreted event. The student interpreters had an opportunity to practice their interpreting and also to network with the speakers. The roundtable discussion was a great success and we hope to organise another similar event next year.

Transformations in European Societies

By Chiara Cocco and Leri Price

In May 2023, members of the IRC visited Berlin to take part in the Transformations in European Societies (TiES) doctoral programme. TiES connects doctoral students and academic staff from selected universities in Scotland, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Israel, and Denmark through a biannual programme of seminars and presentations.

The programme examines European societies in a state of change, tracing the effects of these changes and situating these reflections within a global context. TiES provides a platform for students to present their work and receive feedback from peers and professors, and to establish links that may result in future collaborations. 

The network is usually hosted by one of the member universities, which also offers its members a chance to visit different places and experience their culture.  This spring meeting, themed ‘Creative Transformations’, took a slightly different form as it was kindly hosted by the Museum of European Cultures.  Dr Alastair Mackie, an affiliate member of the IRC who obtained his PhD at Heriot-Watt, organised the meeting in Berlin and made sure to keep the participants busy with exciting activities and events.   

In line with the theme of the event, students and staff had the opportunity to engage creatively with the various topics of the programme.  Dr Katerina Strani started off by chairing a thought-provoking workshop about fieldwork and creative methods in research.  Following on, Dr Britta Kalkreuter encouraged professors and students to reflect on the future of TiES through a half-day living lab.  Although not a formal part of the programme, both professors celebrated their birthdays in the course of the week, a TiES first!

On the last day, students and staff were not just given a tour of the Museum, but participated in a workshop where they were tasked with creating an exhibition about their interpretations of the meanings of Europe.

Doctoral students from the IRC Leri Price and Chiara Cocco also attended the meeting, with Chiara presenting an update on her doctoral project about cultural festivals in Europe. 

Meeting peers from all over Europe and sharing knowledge has been crucial for forging strong links that result in cutting-edge collaborations. As an example, three student members of TiES, including one current and one former HWU student, have established a podcast that communicates anthropological theories to non-academic audiences.   

HWU is proud to be a member of TiES, and to encourage its students to build strong links with colleagues and institutions across Europe.

LINCS students go to Brussels!

On the 6th and 7th of June, 11 of our M.A. and MSc students who specialise in conference interpreting were welcomed at the EU Commission by EU interpreters from the Directorate General for Interpretation.

This 2-day visit, which LINCS was able to secure thanks to its status as DGI-SCIC university partner, was hosted by Joanne O’Donnell, from the English and Irish Unit. Joanne visited our Heriot-Watt campus earlier this week as part of one of the pedagogical assistance visits LINCS secured for the 2022-2023 academic year, and she is herself a graduate from our M.A. programme.

As part of this visit, our students had a chance to get some valuable insight into the life of EU interpreters and receive detailed information on the new accreditation test procedures which have been introduced, thanks to a talk by the Head of Unit. The visit also included a preparatory session, looking at how EU interpreters work in the run-up to a specific assignment, and then students were able to put their preparation to the test during the meeting, working from dummy booths.

This fantastic opportunity enabled them to listen to professional interpreters at work during a live event; they were also able to practice interpreting off-mic and benefitted from valuable feedback from the team of EU interpreters who were on hand to support them. The visit culminated with a mock test, during which two of our final-year M.A. students volunteered to take a test in conditions similar to the ones they would encounter in authentic conditions, but with the added bonus of being able to hear the jury deliberations. This exciting challenge gave them an insight into what is expected of successful candidates, and they were able to put their 4 years of training to the test. Both students were delighted to hear that their performance would earn them a “pass” in test conditions, and left even more motivated than before.

But the real added bonus of the visit was undoubtedly the friendly welcome extended to the group, and the many opportunities to chat informally and network with DGI-SCIC interpreters and interns, and with several of our LINCS graduates. One of them has recently passed the tests himself, and was very happy to share his experience and some useful tips over lunch in between meetings, and over Belgian chips after his day in the booth, alongside other local LINCS graduates. A very inspiring 2-day visit, perfectly timed to motivate our M.A. students who found out their exam results the night before the start of the visit!

Summer School registrations closing soon – membership discounts

The LINCS Summer school courses are a fantastic opportunity to enhance your interpreting and translation skills, but registrations are closing soon (30 April 2023).

Our courses include one 3-day and one 5-day course in interpreting, as well as a 4-day Translation Summer School. 

For the translation summer school, you can register for the full package or select the individual workshops you would like to attend.  

1-day CPD courses such as Remote Interpreting for British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters and Intercultural Awareness in the Workplace are also available.  

We are excited to be able to offer some discounts that you won’t want to miss out on. Details of these and the links to sign up to your summer school of choice are provided below.


A 10% discount to our alumni, students at partner universities, and members of translation and interpreting bodies in the UK and abroad.  Click the Early bird ticket option to redeem this discount. 

An extra 20% discount is available on any second course selected (use the promo code TISS2023) and also for group bookings of 6 or more participants use the promo code TISS2023. If you are interested in group booking, please email us at to send you a registration link. 


Courses on campus:

Week 1. Introduction to Interpreting course, 3 days (18-20 August 2023) and 5 days (18-22 August 2023): Information and tickets are available here: 

Week 2. Translation Summer School, 4 days, 21-24 August, 2023. Information and tickets are available at 

You can register for the full week or select the seminars you would like to attend.  

Week 3 English Retour Interpreting (Advanced), 3 days (25-27 August 2023)and 5 days (25-29 August 2023). Information and reservations are available at 

Week 3. British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreting Summer School (Advanced), 5 days (25-29 August 2023). 

Online weekend courses:  

Week 1. Introduction to Interpreting course (7-9 July, 2023) 

Week 2. English Retour Interpreting (Advanced) (14-16 July 2023). Information and tickets are available at 

1-day CPD courses:  

Remote Interpreting for British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters  

Online 13 May 2023 Information and tickets are available at 

On campus 26 June 2023 Information and tickets are available at 

Intercultural awareness in the workplace

Online 17 June 2023 

In person 24 June 2023 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at  

We look forward to welcoming you this summer. 

BSL Science Signs Workshop at Gallaudet University

Gary Quinn, from the BSL section of LINCS, was invited to give a presentation about BSL Science Signs at the STEM Sign Language Lexicon Founders and Leaders Workshop at Gallaudet University in Washington on 2nd March.

This photo of Gary is courtesy of Dr. Erin Moriarty-Harrelson (one of the Mobile Deaf team). The man next to Gary is an interpreter, working from BSL to International Sign.

He gave a presentation about Ethics in relation to developing BSL Science Signs. The workshop aimed to develop principles that other countries could be encouraged to develop or expand upon in relation to signs for STEM terminology.

The BSL Science Signs Glossary was one of earliest to develop Science Signs, starting back in 2007, and the team have introduced their methods and approaches to the representatives of other countries who were also present at this meeting. This event was the first step towards preparing the first international conference for STEM signs, to take place next year.

The annual Multilingual Debate is back on campus!  

LINCS hosted its annual multilingual debate on Wednesday 29 March. It was wonderful to be back on campus after an interruption of 3 years, to relaunch this special occasion on site.

This annual event has been running for more than twenty years now, and although it was disrupted by the pandemic and had to be held online in 2021, it is now back on our lovely campus.   

We welcomed high-school pupils from across Scotland in the James Watt Auditorium for this exciting annual fixture. The event is very much a joint venture, as it is supported by the school, by recruitment and by marketing, by estates and facilities, and by our internal AV services.  

We also benefit from the support of external partner AV Department, who supplied the equipment needed for interpreting and a team of specialised sound engineers to manage the complex equipment throughout the debate.  

We were honoured to welcome a panel of distinguished speakers: the French Consul Mme Laurence Pais, the Spanish Consul Mr Ignacio Cartagena, the co-director of the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business Dr Ping Zhang, Dr Mette Sommer-Lindsay and Juliette Rutherford from LINCS, and former MSc student Julia Honnacker. They all joined in the discussion and presented their arguments either in favour or against the motion:

“This house believes that social media is the best vehicle for free speech”.

Our guests’ statements were followed by engaging contributions from the 320-odd budding linguists from Scottish high schools who were in attendance, and they presented their questions in a number of the languages covered by our interpreters.  

Each of our guests and audience members were able to contribute to the debate in their native language thanks to our M.A. and MSc students. They provided live interpreting from French, Spanish, German, British Sign Language and Chinese, and worked back into these languages and more during interventions in English.  

It was a fantastic opportunity for our interpreting students to apply their skills to a genuine multilingual event, thus gaining a taste for what professional life will be like. It also gave high-school pupils a fantastic insight into the type of careers that are open to expert linguists, as well as a chance to visit our beautiful campus. The event has inspired many linguists who went on to join LINCS as students, and some of whom are now working for the European Institutions as conference interpreters.   

Sign Neologisms workshop in Athens

In February 2023, Gary Quinn, from the BSL section of LINCS, attended the Sign Neologisms workshop in Athens, Greece, to present an e-poster about the BSL Glossary Project on workflow and ethics.

This workshop focussed on how signs develop for new terms in European countries. It brought together many different specialists working on lexical gaps and new words in sign languages from various perspectives.

It was hosted by EASIER, an EU Horizon 2020 project that aims to design, develop, and validate a complete multilingual machine translation system that will act as a framework for barrier-free communication among deaf and hearing individuals, as well as provide a platform to support sign language content creation.The aim of the workshop was to gather lessons from this collective experience to support the development of machine translation for sign language.

Forty-eight specialists from multiple professions (architecture, animation, avatars, computer science, linguistics, lexicography, deaf education, interpreting, mathematics, poetry, software development, translation, etc.) attended, from eleven countries: Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United States.

More info here:

Roundtable on starting work in the audiovisual translation industry

Hybrid event: 30 March 2023 at 02.30 BST

Are you interested in a language career, but don’t have a foreign language up your sleeve?

Are you a talented bilingual or multilingual, but not sure what to do with those amazing talents?

Are you a cinephile who dreams of rubbing shoulders with films directors and script writers?

Are you a Youtube or Tiktok aficionado who would like to raise your profile by subtitling your clips?

If this sounds like you, then come and join us and our guest speakers either in person at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Business School, LUMSDEN Suite North, EH14 4AS or online.

To join us online or in person, please register here:

Come and discover the different careers paths: timecoder, transcriber, audio description, Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of hearing, and many more.

During this session, our guest speakers who are all practitioners will be sharing their experience and providing tips to anyone aspiring to get a foot in this thriving industry.


Gabriella Büki, a freelance translator in the medical, scientific and pharmaceutical sectors as well as a subtitler and subtitle template creator for global streaming platforms.

Monika Svecak, vendor manager at Plint, and has also extensive experience as a subtitler.

Johanna Theng, senior vendor manager at Plint. Johanna is a trained translator and subtitler who’s been working on the project management and vendor relation side for the past 16 years.

Karli Webster, a free-lance subtitler since completing the Spanish and Applied Language Studies course at Heriot-Watt University in 2016. Karli’s key interest is in Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Michel Virasolvy, a free-lance subtitler with more than 11 years of experience in various projects aimed both at the general public and corporate departments.

Elena Zini, Screen Language director, is a subtitling, translation and accessibility consultant with over 10 years’ experience in the field.

We will try to take as many questions as possible on the day, but if you want to make sure your questions are not missed, go ahead and post it on our Event questions forum:

Silent Harm Project Launch – Domestic Abuse Questionnaire

By Jemina Napier & Lucy Clark

This blogpost is a translation from a vlogpost generated in British Sign Language (BSL):

In this v/blogpost Jemina Napier and Lucy Clark from the SIGNS@HWU team in the Centre of Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS) at Heriot-Watt University discuss an exciting new project. You may have seen previously that Jemina and Lucy worked on a project called Justisigns 2, which focused on developing support for deaf women who have experienced sexual, domestic, or gender-based violence and best practices for interpreters and support service providers to work together in this context, with a focus on police officers (see for v/blogposts about the project)

The Justisigns 2 project created a number of different training materials and resources through research interviews with deaf women, interviews with police officers and also a survey of interpreters and support service providers. Take a look at the Justisigns 2 website for more information about those resources.

This new project however, has been funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), along with the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) through a Scotland-Ireland Bilateral Network Grant. This extension to the project aims to expand upon and continue the work that was done in the Justisigns 2 project, using the materials that were developed in relation to training police officers and interpreters to work together to support deaf women who report domestic abuse.

This RSE-RIA project is focused on supporting deaf women who live in rural areas in Scotland and Ireland. We know that through the COVID-19 pandemic, the reporting of domestic abuse increased significantly amongst the general population, and furthermore we know that deaf women are two or even three times more likely to experience this kind of abuse than their hearing counterparts.

This joint project will deliver training to police officers and sign language interpreters who live and work in three different rural settings in Scotland and two rural areas in Ireland. We hope to encourage a better understanding of the situation for deaf women in reporting domestic abuse, as well as best practices for working together to increase support to deaf women who are in rural areas. These women may have more negative experiences due to their isolation and may not know how to report the abuse that they experience.

The 6-month project commenced in January 2023, and we’ve already completed our first task in relation to the Police Scotland ‘Domestic Abuse Questionnaire’ (DAQ). Many deaf women reported to us that they are confused by what the DAQ is and what its purpose is. It is simply a mechanism to support police to get a fuller idea of what’s been going on in a domestic abuse situation. There are 27 questions that are asked, and some of them often may not feel very relevant to the particular situation under investigation. It’s important that a holistic view is taken of the situation in terms of what’s been happening and what has happened in the past so that police and other frontline workers can collect a full picture of the evidence and then they can charge any perpetrators appropriately. So, the DAQ really needed explaining in an effort to enable deaf women to understand what’s in the DAQ and why it is used.

To explore the understanding of the DAQ we held a workshop bringing together three representatives from Police Scotland – one police officer who has a specific role in promoting BSL and working with the deaf community and the other two police officers work in the domestic abuse coordination unit, so they have the background and expertise in the area of domestic abuse. We also brought in a representative from interpreting agency JustSign, which operates in Scotland and specialises in providing interpreting for legal settings such as court and police interviews, along with a representative from Deaf Links, a Scottish deaf community organisation that currently has a project focused on supported deaf women who report domestic abuse. All those stakeholders came together with Jemina and Lucy to discuss the DAQ, and the complexities of some of the questions that made them difficult or challenging to interpret into BSL.

We decided not to try and translate all 27 questions, but rather to clearly go through the DAQ process step by step plus create an explanation about what the DAQ is in BSL for deaf women, so they understand why the police have to follow the very strict order of questions in this fixed process.

We wanted to ensure that because the process of asking all the DAQ questions can take some time, that deaf women understood the DAQ process and the fact that they have to clearly detail information so that police officers can get a full picture. We want to assist to improve this process, make it smoother and clearer. So, the representatives have taken note of which DAQ questions are complex and difficult to translate and are taking steps to try and simplify some of the questions or the ordering of questions. This work we have done on the DAQ we hope will make a real impact on the experiences of deaf women reporting domestic abuse, that may also benefit all women.

We will soon begin rolling out the training sessions. The three sessions in Scotland will take place at the end of March (in Galashiels down by the Scottish Borders), in mid-April (further north in Inverness) and the end of May on the West coast of Scotland in West Dunbartonshire. In Ireland, there will be two training sessions held in April and May in different locations.

At the end of the project we will also be delivering ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops in Scotland and Ireland for people who train police officers and interpreters so that they can think about how to incorporate information about deaf women’s experience of domestic abuse in the training. This will enable us to provide a longer lasting and continuing impact from this project.

Watch this space for more v/blopost updates!

Another LINCS graduate joins the European Institutions

LINCS is delighted to celebrate the success of former student Erika Kadlçikova, who recently joined the Council of European Union as a full-time Czech translator.  

Erika joined the Languages and Intercultural Studies department in 2015. A native-speaker of Czech, she was keen to consolidate her already excellent English and was able to make the most of the freedom of movement still available at the time to all EU citizens to come and do the MA in Applied Languages with French and Spanish. She picked up Spanish from scratch, making the most of the Intensive Beginners pathway available to all students who arrive with only one of the core EU languages offered on LINCS programmes. Erika already dreamt of an EU career and was aware that English and two of the core EU languages would stand her in good stead to achieve her goal. Thanks to her hard work and to the support of the Spanish section, she was able to quickly bring her Spanish skills up to speed, and she graduated from the MA with a first-class Honours degree in 2019.  

On the back of her MA, Erika was able to build up a portfolio of valuable experiences, first teaching English in Spain, then branching into English content creation for websites, while developing her translation and proof-reading freelance business.  

To further her chances to achieve her dream of working for the European Institutions and to add to her skills-set as an expert linguist, Erika then decided to move back to Scotland and do the LINCS MSc in Translation. The MSc enabled her to hone her existing translation and interpreting skills, and to add translation-related additional skills, such as subtitling. She subsequently secured work as a subtitler, and was involved in a number of projects like sitcoms, series and films for Netflix and Disney.

Throughout her training, Erika also had access to information about EU careers and opportunities which helped her plan her next move. She successfully applied for a number of prestigious and very selective traineeships with European Institutions following her second study spell at Heriot-Watt: she became a trainee with the Secretariat General of the Council of the EU, then with the Renew Europe Czech Delegation, before being selected for a traineeship at Euractiv, with a focus on French translation. 

This wide range of experiences, accumulated over a period of only a few years, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, led to Erika securing a full-time post as translator in the Czech unit with the Council of the European Union in February 2023.  

Even though Czech is not one of the languages offered on LINCS programmes, the training is very focused on skills and techniques. Erika was able to apply these transferable skills, developed throughout her MA and MSc, to other language combinations with her native language. She valued the multilingual community she found on our campus, as it enabled to her to further consolidate her English and reach a very high level of proficiency in French and Spanish. In her own words, “the translation and interpreting courses at HWU are mostly practice-oriented, which makes them stand out amongst competitors and also makes you, the future graduate, more confident and employable”.