12th annual careers event a great success! 

For the 12th consecutive year, the Languages and Intercultural Studies department has held its annual Starting Work as a Translator or Interpreter event, co-organised by Fanny Chouc (LINCS) and Camrie Hole (Career Services). 

This event, initially launched in 2011, ran successfully online during the pandemic, and drawing from the experience, it was adapted this year to combine the best of both modes: a series of informative and insightful talks were held online and were open to all, and it was followed by a networking event on campus, exclusively for Heriot-Watt’s students and alumni.  

The aim of SWATI has always been to bring together industry representatives, practitioners and professional bodies, to give prospective translators and interpreters a more thorough understanding of their chosen industry and enable them to get valuable advice from professionals on how to get started.

This year’s line-up featured Morag Neath, the Head of the English booths at the European Commission, Fraser Brown, one of the project managers from Global Language Services (who catered for all language services for COP26), but also talented alumni and conference interpreters Roxane Schüller-Green and Rebecca Ritchie, translation project manager Daniel McLeod and freelance translator Bex Elder.  

Over 330 people joined the online talks and were able to ask questions from our distinguished panellists, showing that the interest in multilingual communication remains strong and relevant in our globally connected, multicultural world.  

The follow-on networking event took place in the Carnegie Lounge, offering a friendly environment for discussions with our additional guests Vineet Lal, experienced literary translator and regular Book Festival contributor, Eleonore Walper, who has worked in many sectors as a translator and interpreters, Sophie Adlington, in-house financial translator with EVS and Ramon Inglada, Convenor of ITI Scotnet. Panellists Roxane Schüller-Green and Daniel McLeod were also able to join in person. 

Participants valued hearing about the many “ways that they can boost their experience and CV”, praising the “diversity of invited speakers” and deeming the whole event “great”. LINCS and Career Services are already looking towards planning SWATI 2024, and hope to reach even more budding expert linguists.  

Thinking of a career as a translator or interpreter?

Join us for our annual SWATI event!

Our annual Starting Work as a Translator or Interpreter event will take place on Wednesday 8th February. We are delighted to open our online talks to anyone interested in careers in translation and interpreting. Note that the 2nd part of the event, the networking session, is reserved to Heriot-Watt LINCS students and graduates only. 

PART ONE:  Online Panel Session – OPEN TO ALL

Wed 8th Feb: 2pm-4pm [Registration Link HERE]

This online part of the event will include contributions from employers, alumni, and practitioners will give you an insight into different translation and interpreting career paths and advice on starting out. The event will cover the following:

  • Working with agencies
  • Working with European institutions
  • Understanding various professional pathways in Translation and Interpreting and knowing where to start

The line up will be confirmed ASAP, but we have some great speakers who can hopefully inspire and empower you to feel more confident about a starting a career in interpreting and/or translating.

PART TWO:  Networking Session (Carnegie Lounge, JWCC) – Heriot-Watt LINCS graduates and students only

Wed 8th Feb 5pm-6.30pm: [Registration Link HERE]

This informal networking event will give you an opportunity to speak with previous Heriot Watt graduates who have gone on to carve career paths in the Translating and Interpreting industry.  You can find out what first steps they took, what worked (and what didn’t) and create some professional connections all at the same time. 

Another Heriot-Watt graduate heading for the EU interpreting booths in Brussels! 

Gavin Darroch may have completed his MA in Languages with Interpreting and Translation (French and Spanish) during the first lockdown, graduating in June 2020, but it hasn’t stopped him from securing what he describes as his “dream job” less than 3 years later: he is now a fully accredited EU interpreter and will be starting work in the booths in Brussels in the coming months.

The lengthy selection process, which started back in the summer of 2022 and included simultaneous tests and consecutive tests, gives him a very sought-after EU accreditation which “unlocks a wealth of opportunities” because, as he rightly highlighted: “the system is inter-institutional, so EU-accredited conference interpreters can work for the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Union”. In some instances, the EU even shares its pool of high-profile interpreters with the UN, opening further exciting prospects for Brussels-based professionals. One such interpreter and fellow Heriot-Watt graduate has in fact recently moved from the EU booths to the UN ones in New York!  

Gavin’s achievement is no mean feat: he is only 25, a very young age to join the select ranks of the EU-accredited interpreting team, and only holds a British passport. He grew up in the Highlands, in a monolingual household, and studied French and Spanish at high school, before starting at Heriot-Watt on the Chemistry with a European Language course. He soon realised that languages were his true calling and became a fully-fledged LINCS student on the LINT programme.  

His desire to study languages was fuelled in part by an event that LINCS is bringing back on campus this year, on Wednesday 29th March: the annual Multilingual Debate. Gavin attended the event while in high school and was left “awestruck”. Languages won him over completely:  

“During my time on the LINT course at LINCS, I fell in love with conference interpreting and set myself the goal of one day becoming an EU conference interpreter. It still doesn’t feel real to say that I’ve achieved this goal. I did it!” 

To achieve his aim, Gavin drew from what he describes as the “endless passion, dedication, encouragement and expert guidance – both during and after my undergraduate course” of staff in the department. Additionally, he was able to benefit from the many EU-led sessions available to MA and MSc students, thanks to the established partnership between LINCS and DGI-SCIC, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Interpreting. As part of this collaboration, Gavin had access to pedagogical visits led by EU interpreters, as well as virtual classes, and receiving feedback and guidance from EU interpreters was “invaluable”, in his words. This type of experience provided students with a real “motivation boost” and consolidated his determination to one day work alongside these inspiring professionals.  

Following his graduation, Gavin knew he qualified for the entry requirements for the EU accreditation tests. However, drawing from the advice gleaned from professionals and industry insight built into his studies, he decided to consolidate his experience as a linguist, working for two years as an in-house translator. These two years helped him get his bearing in the T&I industry, but his goal remained the EU booths, so he started the application process while simultaneously beginning a postgraduate degree in Conference Interpreting in a bid to further polish his interpreting skills. But his initial training came in handy as he passed the simultaneous tests in October, only a few weeks into his further academic training. The simultaneous tests are now the first hurdle in the EU accreditation process, and Gavin successfully passed the last one, the consecutive tests, mid-January.  

When asked what advice he would give budding linguists and current students, Gavin said: “the demand for interpreters with English as their mother tongue has never been higher, so now is the perfect time to set your sights on an international institution like the EU”. And he hopes to soon be joined by more fellow Heriot-Watt LINCS graduates in Brussels! 

Metaphor Translation Workshop

The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with the School of Culture and Communication at Swansea University invite you to participate in a 1-day training workshop on the topic of metaphor translation.

The same workshop will take place on two ocassions, one in-person event at Singleton campus, Swansea on Saturday 18 February 2023, and one online event on Saturday 4 March 2023. The workshops are free of charge and for the in-person event, refreshments and lunch will be provided. To register on the Eventbrite website:

Register for the in-person event

Register for the online event

This workshop is an opportunity to learn about metaphor translation through a collaborative approach, and for networking with students and professionals in the translation industry.

The workshop is funded by a Heriot-Watt University ‘enhancement themes’ grant and a teaching grant by the School of Culture and Communication of Swansea University to investigate a collaborative learning approach to teaching translation.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be asked to complete a detailed feedback form about their learning experience to inform the research. A certificate of completion will be provided to participants.

The event covers the following language combinations:

Arabic/ English, Chinese/English, French/English. Proficiency in one of these combinations is required in order to fully benefit from the teaching.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email. Pre-workshop material and further information will be provided 2 weeks before the event.