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.