EIRSS 2016 programme updated!

This year’s Edinburgh Interpreting Research Summer School (EIRSS) is taking place on 04 – 08 July 2016, right after Critical Link 8.


We are delighted to have Daniel Gile as our guest speaker again this year. Professor Gile was also our guest speaker in the inaugural EIRSS in 2013.

The EIRSS is designed to offer intensive research training for existing and future scholars in any field of interpreting. Relevant to researchers interested in Conference Interpreting (CI) and Public Service Interpreting (PSI) alike, for both spoken and signed languages, EIRSS includes lectures on the state of the art in CI and PSI research, seminars on methodology  and research design and a round-table discussion. Suggested reading lists and other materials for personal study are also provided. EIRSS 2016 fits in nicely with this year’s CL8 theme, so if you are attending both, you pay a reduced fee for EIRSS.

The five-day programme includes guest lectures from world-leading figures in interpreting research as well as seminars by Heriot-Watt academics, librarians and research managers. Participants also have the opportunity to network with world-renowned researchers in the field of Interpreting as well as the chance to showcase their own projects and receive feedback from the expert staff in LINCS.

The updated programme can be found here

For more information about the EIRSS, please click here

To register, please click here – EARLY BIRD ENDS ON MAY 13th !!

Looking forward to meeting you and talking about research in Interpreting Studies!



Aahh, the holidays… (?)

"1859-Martinique.web" by Free On Line Photos. Licensed under No restrictions via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1859-Martinique.web.jpg#/media/File:1859-Martinique.web.jpg

“1859-Martinique.web” by Free On Line Photos. Licensed under No restrictions via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1859-Martinique.web.jpg#/media/File:1859-Martinique.web.jpg

June to September: Three long months with nothing to do, because there’s no teaching. So we lock up our offices with a “Back in September” sign and fly off to exotic places, or we stay here and catch up with our neglected hobbies of baking, knitting and gardening.


If only that were true.

Here’s what we’ve really been doing in the summer:


Conference on Corpus Analysis and on Interpreting: Claudia Angelelli presented her work on The California Hope corpus of healthcare-mediated communication in the panel entitled „The Benefits of working with corpora in community interpreting research: from qualitative analysis to quantitative verification – and back.” Meyer and Schmitt, organizers.  1st Conference on Corpus Analysis on Interpreting. Forli, Italy.

Prof. Angelelli was also invited to present two papers (Designing a valid and reliable measurement instrument for interpreting purposes and Teaching to their gift: the case of young bilinguals at high school) at the School of Interpreting, Forli, Italy.

A Study in Public Service Translation/interpreting in Cross-border Healthcare: Claudia Angelelli just returned from data collection for the EU Project: A Study in Public Service Translation/interpreting in Cross-border Healthcare, (which includes Germany, Greece, Italy Spain and United Kingdom), and a fellowship in China. During her fellowship at Sechuan University, Prof Angelelli lectured doctoral and master students on Translation and Interpreting Research Methods. She was also invited to give the following talks:

  1. Invisibility Revisited: Interpreters’ Dilemmas in Healthcare Interpreting. Paper presented at Sechuan University, Chengdu, China, May 28, 2015
  2. Bilingualism from a Different Perspective: the Case of Bilingual Youngsters Interpreting for Families and Friends. Paper presented at Leshan Normal College, Leshan, China June 5, 2015
  3. Minding the Gaps: the Value of Grounding Interpreting Teaching in Research. Paper presented at Beijing University of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Beijing, June 12, 2015.

WASLI 2015, Deaf History International Conference and 17th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf: Prof Jemina Napier, Stacey Webb and three students from the BSL department participated in this year’s World Association of Sign Language Interpreters conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Jemina also participated in the Deaf History International conference in Edinburgh and the 17th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in Istanbul.

IATIS 2015: Dr Marion Winters participated in this year’s conference of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies in Belo Horizonte, 6-10 July. She presented a paper on “New computational tools in corpus-based translation studies” and co-convened the panel: Corpus-based translation studies: innovations in the new digital age. She also co-facilitated the Workshop: Presenting your research orally in English.

Ediso 2015 Symposium: Prof Bernie O’Rourke and Nicola Bermingham participated in this year’s EDiSo Symposium

Spanish in Society Conference 2015: LINCS hosted the 5th Biennial Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Spanish in Society, chaired by Prof Bernie O’Rourke

MAMO 2015: Dr Kerstin Pfeiffer attended The Middle Ages in the Modern World (MAMO 2015) conference at the University of Lincoln from 29 June to 1 July.  MAMO 2015 was an international conference with ca. 100 speakers from a range of fields and disciplines including History, Literature, Film, Video Games, Performing Arts & Drama, Languages, as well as Museum Studies. The papers at the conference explored the continued return to, and relevance of, the Middle Ages in the post-medieval world in a variety of areas, from popular culture to public history, from science to advertising, and from pedagogy to political rhetoric.

ECA 2015: Dr Katerina Strani presented a paper at the 1st European Conference on Argumentation: Argumentation and Reasoned Action on 11/06/2015 in Lisbon, Portugal. This international conference brought together philosophers, linguists, argumentation theorists and computer scientists and culminated in keynote speeches by John Searle, Norman Fairclough and Simon Parsons. Katerina’s paper, presented together with Dr Evans Fanoulis, University of Leicester, was entitled “Arguing in Virtual Spaces: The Social Construction of a Multilingual Virtual Public Sphere”. The paper argued that the importance of language, in particular of multilingualism, in political argumentation has been relatively underexplored by both normative and radical democracy theorists. Multilingualism constitutes an integral part of the contemporary understanding of the public sphere, in which political argumentation may defy linguistic barriers. Digital technologies have altered the ontology of the public sphere to such an extent that one can currently talk about the emergence of multilingual, post-national, virtual public spheres. For more information on the conference, please see here.

SIEF: From 22-25 June 2015, members of the Intercultural Research Centre (IRC) participated in the 2015 congress of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) in Zagreb. The papers they presented ranged across a broad spectrum of topics: Postgraduate members presented a semiotic analysis of clothing, heritage & identity of Russian Old Believers in Romania (Cristina Clopot), a case study of fundraising for the National Trust Scotland (Anna Koryczan), and ethnographic insights into Lithuanian migration to Scotland (Vitalija Stepušaitytė). Staff members explored how emotional scripts of medieval passion plays are re-imagined for and by contemporary audiences (Dr Kerstin Pfeiffer), whether Derry~Londonderry’s year as UK City of Culture 2013 succeeded in generating a shared story for the city (Prof Máiréad Nic Craith, written with Dr Katerina Strani and IRC associate member Dr Philip McDermott), and political dimensions of place and belonging among displaced groups (Prof. Ullrich Kockel, reporting on his SML-IRG funded research project on expellee and refugee youth after World War Two). More info here.

5th Cambridge Conference on Endangered Languages: Dr Ashvin Devasundaram and Anik Nandi presented their paper ‘Contesting the Conventionalising of Castilian: Galician New speaker Parents as Counter-Elites’ at the 5th Cambridge Conference on Endangered Languages held at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) of the University of Cambridge on 31st July.

Bridging Language Acquisition and Language Policy Symposium: Anik Nandi presented a paper on ‘Speakers as stakeholders: Role of new speaker parents in creation of bottom-up language policies in Galicia (Spain)’ at the Bridging Language Acquisition and Language Policy Symposium which took place at the Centre for Languages and Literature of Lund University, Sweden between 17th – 18th June, 2015.

Annual Phalke Memorial Lecture 2015: Dr Ashvin Devasundaram gave the SACF’s 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Multiplicity in Motion: The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’. With multiple stories spanning the diverse demographic and geopolitical spectrum of everyday human experience, this lecture explores ‘the new Indian Indies as a glocal hybrid film form – global in aesthetic and local in content.’  Ashvin argues that the new Indies have emerged from a middle space between India’s globalising present and traditional past.  The new Indies’ paradoxical ethos is epitomised in their circumvention of Bollywood ‘song and dance’ sequences on the one hand and their incorporation of exoteric promotion and marketing strategies on the other, unlike their esoteric 1970s and 1980s Parallel art-house cinema predecessors such as Mani Kaul and Kumar Shahani.  In the absence of an autonomous Indie distribution infrastructure, new independent films often have to rely on big corporate production houses or Bollywood producers and stars to enhance their visibility and saleability.  However, the Indies share a common trait with their Parallel cinema forebears – they narrate both alternative narratives and narratives of alterity.  Films such as Peepli Live (2010), Harud (2010), I Am (2010), Fandry (2013) The Lunchbox (2013) and Ship of Theseus (2013) all espouse themes and issues that discursively engage with the contemporary ‘state of the nation’.  Some subversive Indies, such as Bengali film Gandu (2010) transgress normative notions of ‘traditional Indian values’ and hence encounter state censorship and regulation.  Drawing from in-depth interviews with directors, actors, academics and members of the Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, the lecture will try to contextualise the new Indies’ emergence in a Bollywood-dominated Indian cultural milieu.

SACF’s Annual Phalke Memorial Lectures have been delivered in the recent past by well-known Indian filmmakers like Shyam Benegal and Saeed Akhtar Mirza, film archivist P.K. Nair and the documentary filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

ECER/WERA: Emma Guion-Akdag presented her work at the Education and Transition – Contributions from Educational Research conference in Budapest.

Somali Voices at Summer School:  Emma Hill represented LINCS at the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities’ (SGSAH) first national Summer School in Glasgow. Research was displayed by 13 doctoral or early career researchers from across Scotland. Emma’s exhibition display ‘Locating Somali Voices in Glasgow City’ showcased a collection of posters and postcards containing voices, commentary and opinions from different Somali groups in Glasgow.

GRAMNet Research Day: Eloisa Monteoliva and Emma Hill presented the EU-funded project RADAR (Regulating Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism) at the research open day of the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network on the 17th of June. For more information on the GRAMNET research day, please see here.  For more information on RADAR, either visit the project website or contact the UK Coordinator, Dr Katerina Strani.

Emma Hill and Cristina Clopot also gave individual presentations on their PhD research.  Cristina’s research takes an ethnographic approach to understanding the particularities of Old Believers’ heritage and identity in the post-socialist period, whilst Emma’s is interested in the various ways in which the Somali population in Glasgow ‘have voice’.  All presentations received very positive feedback and encouragement to maintain links with the GRAMNet group. For a Storify version of the event, please click here


Applied English and Interpreting Summer School (3-21 August): Our Applied English and Interpreting course aims at strengthening linguistic skills, enhancing awareness of British culture and society, as well as practical interpreting skills. The first week of the course focused on English language & culture and the second week on practical interpreting skills. For more info and a detailed programme, click here.

Academic English Pre-sessional Programme (6-14 weeks): The English Section is particularly busy in the summer months running a Pre-sessional Programme for students with conditional offers who still have to meet their English language entry requirements for degree study. The Programme consists of three courses Project (14 weeks), Passport (10 weeks) and Portfolio (6 weeks). There were 330 students this year with the majority aiming to study in SML or MACS and smaller numbers going to EGIS and SLS. There was also a cohort aiming to study at Glasgow University. End of course exams were held as part of the resit diet this year, giving pre-sessional students an authentic experience of exam conditions prior to their degree studies. The pass rate this year was over 99% with only one student requiring to resit the assessment.

Along with the academic content there is also a vibrant Social and Cultural Programme with Topical Talks and a Carbon Café held each week at the Chaplaincy to promote engagement and discussion. Outdoor activities such as Go Ape and excursions to Loch Lomond, the Highlands and Whitelee Windfarm were amongst the most popular. The Heriot-Watt Pre-sessional programme is accredited by BALEAP, the professional body, and is one of the most highly respected in the sector. It is an excellent preparation for success in academic study with increasing numbers of Heriot-Watt students choosing to prepare in this way.

SCEN Early Language Learning University Partnership is a Scottish Government project which aims to link Scottish universities with local schools and enable Scottish primary school children to begin learning Mandarin at an early age.  Jane Bell is the contact person for the project in LINCS. 14 UG and PG Chinese students from Heriot-Watt delivered beginner Mandarin classes to children at Bonnyrigg, Burnbrae, Hawthornden, Lasswade, Loanhead, Paradykes and Rosewell primary schools. Informal feedback from primary school head teachers has been extremely positive. As a result, the student volunteers were presented with certificates at the Confucius Institute, in thanks for the time and energy they invested in this exciting new project, which they evidently enjoyed: “This is very precious experience for me.  I spend 10 weeks with these lovely children, and it helps me to improve my skill of making slides and presentation.” “Through teaching students … Mandarin, I learned how to use the resources around such as cyber resources and library resources.” “This experience helped me practice my English speaking and help me understand English culture more clearly.” “It was really enjoyable and memorable.” We plan to continue this project in 2015-2016.

Scottish Football Association referees: Dr Maggie Sargeant and Pedro Castillo ran a half-day course on public speaking and international communication to Scottish Football Association referees on Saturday 5 September.


Germans in Britain: As part of this touring exhibition created by the Migration Museum Project, Prof. Ullrich Kockel gave a public lecture on “German Roots and Routes in Contemporary Britain”. This was held at New Register House on Tuesday 21 July. The exhibition was brought to Scotland on the initiative of Heriot-Watt’s Intercultural Research Centre with the generous support of the German Consulate-General Edinburgh, the National Records of Scotland and the University of Aberdeen. More info here

Hearing Loss or Deaf Gain? Imagine we are creating an encyclopaedia for extraterrestrials. An argument breaks out over how we describe deaf people: some say hearing loss and others say it’s deaf gain. In this engaging debate, Prof Jemina Napier and Dr Noel O’Connell presented arguments from each side, drawing from research in the field of deaf studies. ‘Deaf gain is defined as a reframing of “deaf” as a form of sensory and cognitive diversity that has the potential to contribute to the greater good of humanity’ (Baumann and Murray, 2009). This thought-provoking debate was presented at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas during this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. More info here

UN meeting: Prof Jemina Napier participated at a UN meeting in Geneva to discuss development of new International Sign interpreter accreditation system. Watch this space for updates!

BSL Bill: Prof Graham Turner’s public engagement work has continued with a lot of committee/advisory work around the BSL Bill (eg for the sector’s BSL & Linguistic Access Working Group) which reaches Stage 3 in the Chamber on Sept 17th.  Graham is also developing new online info around BSL and is preparing his work as Parliamentary Fellow at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). It is important to note that Graham won the Principal’s Public Engagement Prize for his pivotal role in promoting BSL as a minority language.

National BSL Plan:  Prof Graham Turner has also secured funding from the Scottish Universities Insight Institute for a 6-month project on ‘Planning for the National BSL Plan’. The project aims to design a blueprint for getting BSL taught as a modern language in schools under Scotland’s national ‘1+2 languages’ policy. Work has been ongoing through the summer to design the first of a series of consultative events, with Deaf international keynote presenters from the US and Finland, coming up in the autumn.


Philip McDermott, Máiréad Nic Craith & Katerina Strani (2015), “Public space, collective memory and intercultural dialogue in a (UK) city of culture”, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power,http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1070289X.2015.1054828

Máiréad Nic Craith (2015) “‘Migrant’ Writing and the Re-Imagined Community: Discourses of Inclusion/Exclusion”, German Politics & Society, 33 (1-2), pp. 84-99 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/gps.2015.330107

Máiréad Nic Craith and Bernie O’Rourke (2015)  “Anthropology and Language in Europe: Setting the Context.” Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 24 (1): 1-6.

Máiréad Nic Craith and Emma Hill (2015) “ Re-locating the Ethnographic Field: From ‘Being There’ to ‘Being There’, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 24 (1): 42-62. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ajec.2015.240104

Jemina Napier and Lorraine Leeson (2016). Sign language in action, book submitted to Palgrave.

Special Issue (number 12) of New Voices in Translation Studies, co-edited by LINCS PhD students Lee Williamson, Marwa Shamy, Penny Karanasiou and Pedro CastilloThe issue includes a selection of the best papers submitted after IPCITI 2013, organised in Heriot-Watt, and it is the result of the long standing collaboration between IPCITI and New Voices in Translation Studies.

Claudia Angelelli:

  • (with Colina, S.,(2015): Translation and Interpreting Pedagogy. Special issue. TIS Translation and Interpreting Studies Volume 10:2.
  • Journal article:  Justice for All? Issues faced by linguistic minorities and border patrol agents during interpreted arraignment interviews. In MonTI Monografías de Traducción e Interpretación Special Issue on Legal Interpreting . Maribel del Pozo Treviño and María Jesús Blasco Mayor (Guest eds.) (pp.181-205).
  • Bilingualism and Multilingualism. In Claudia V. Angelelli and Brian J. Baer (eds.) Researching Translation and Interpreting. London/New York: Routledge. (32-42).
  • Translation and Interpreting Pedagogy. In Claudia V. Angelelli and Brian J. Baer (eds.) Researching Translation and Interpreting. London/New York: Routledge. (pp.108-117).
  • Exploring Translation and Interpreting. In Claudia V. Angelelli and Brian J. Baer (eds.) Researching Translation and Interpreting. London/New York: Routledge. (pp.5-14).
  • Bilingualism (Societal). In The Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies. Nadia Grbic and Franz Pöchhacker, eds. London/New York: Routledge.
  • Ethnographic Methods. In The Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies. Nadia Grbic and Franz Pöchhacker, eds. London/New York: Routledge.
  • In The Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies. Nadia Grbic and Franz Pöchhacker, eds. London/New York: Routledge.

Dr Ashvin Devasundaram

Dr Pedro Castillo

Dr Robyn Dean

Dr Xiao Zhao



  • Developing new research projects and applying for funding – exact figures to be announced
  • Course preparation and development
  • MSc dissertation supervision
  • Exam resits
  • Marking
  • Marking
  • Marking


Still, some of us also managed to squeeze in a holiday.

Now let the teaching begin!



On Deafhood Space

by Steve Emery


[English version]

Last week, I went to Paddy Ladd’s lecture. He was talking about “Deafhood – A Pedagogy”, which was about theories of teaching Deaf children.

It was really interesting, but there was one part of his lecture that really got me thinking,  when he was talking about  “Wounded Space”, which means “damaged space”…Well, what does he actually mean by that? This concept relates to the experiences of Deaf children through their development into adults and how the effects of oppression through oralism. The overwhelming and stifling experience of this has damaged Deaf children emotionally as individuals and subsequently as a community of adults. There’s a need to rebuild the community, to begin again.

During his lecture, Paddy Ladd explained what he meant by “Deafhood – A Pedagogy” and as he was doing this, it gave me a lot of ideas , and I was thinking about the process of change, how do we move forward and go through a transition from a Wounded Space to Deafhood?  To a place where we can become healthy, where we can improve, develop and build? I began to consider what we would need to do to be able to achieve this aim.

Paddy Ladd’s lecture focussed upon how the use of appropriate teaching methods is the way to achieve Deafhood. In my view, that is one part of it, to be able to advance and move forward, however, there are a number of other factors that need to be taken into account for us to attain this.

It’s very important for Deaf people to be a part of a collective group, this is essential. Yes we are all individuals, we have our own lives, but we need to be connected to each other as a collective, this is really important for us all,  it’s been recognised that we need to be a part of society.

The next thing that came to me, concerning the need to rebuild and develop a Deafhood Space, is that we need to have an input and participation from the wider community, not just from academics. Yes, academics are important individuals who have a place, but ordinary members of the community should not be excluded as the wider community of Deaf people need to participate and be involved in this process of development.

The third point I’d like to make is, that hearing people must be thinking, “Where do I fit in, into this Deafhood Space?”  This is really important , to be able to build a new space, Deaf and hearing people have to work together, as allies, to be involved in making and developing this new space.

My fourth and last point is about spirituality. Paddy Ladd talked about this in his lecture. Spirituality can mean many things, it can relate to religious beliefs for example. He gave his perspective that we Deaf people are of the Earth and that we are here for a reason. Our understanding and development of what that spiritual aspect of being Deaf means is a part of the development of Deafhood Space.

His lecture gave me a lot to ponder over especially this concept of Deafhood Space. Its very important for us to reflect and recognise the idea of Damaged Space, in ourselves and in others and how we can change this and make a transition by moving to and developing a positive space.  These are a few of the suggestions that I think are important for us to take into account when we are discussing moving towards Deafhood.

Looking for participants for anti-racism and anti-discrimination research project

A few months ago we posted some information on a new research project in LINCS on how racist hate crimes are communicatively constructed. The project is called RADAR  Regulating AntiDiscrimination and AntiRacism – JUST/2013/FRAC/AG/6271. It brings together 9 partners from 6 countries and it is funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Justice.

The overall aim of the project is to  provide law enforcement officials and legal professionals with the necessary tools to facilitate the identification of ‘racial’ hate- motivated and hate-producing communication. This will be achieved through training activities and events, but the project will also provide a handbook, comparative studies and analyses. For more information on the project’s objectives, deliverables and individual work packages, please visit the project website.

The project is still in its initial stages; it started in November 2014 and will end in October 2016.

We are currently looking for victims of racial harassment or racist abuse for the purpose of conducting interviews on their experience(s). If you have been the victim of racist abuse in the UK and you would like to be interviewed for the purposes of this project (your personal details will not be disclosed), please contact Dr. Katerina Strani at  A.Strani@hw.ac.uk

When ‘racially’-motivated hate crimes are not recognised as such, this leads to a violation of fundamental human rights.

Intensive Interpreting Practice – Easter Course 2015 !

In April this year Heriot-Watt University will be running an Intensive Interpreting Practice CPD course.

The course is designed for:

  • Interpreting students who are in the middle of their training and wish to improve both their English skills and their Interpreting skills.
  • Professional interpreters who would like to improve their English, either with the intention of making it a B language or simply to complete an intensive professional practice course.

This is a non-language specific course so all language combinations are welcome! We mainly work with audio-visual material (but not only!) and everyone will have the opportunity to practise intensively and to network with professionals in the industry.

Here are some of the comments from former students:

“The booths are amazing! “

“Great organisation!”

“I learned new skills”

“Very motivated and motivating teachers”

“The entire course was interesting”

You can visit our website for further information

Like us on Facebook!

We look forward to receiving your applications.

Mathilde Postel

3rd Edinburgh Interpreting Research Summer School!

The 3rd Edinburgh Interpreting Research Summer School (EIRSS) will take place from 22 – 26 June 2015 !

EIRSS 2015 offers intensive research training for existing and future scholars in any field of Interpreting and will include lectures from our Guest Speaker Claudia Monacelli as well as leading Heriot-Watt Speakers, including Professor Ian Mason. It will be relevant to researchers interested in Conference Interpreting as well as Public Service Interpreting, for both spoken and signed languages.

EIRSS 2015 is open to those who are about to embark on a PhD, those in the first stages of doctoral study and those considering a change of direction in their professional career or academic trajectory.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with world-renowned researchers in the field of Interpreting and will also have the chance to showcase their individual projects and receive feedback.

Please visit the EIRSS 2015 web page for more information about the course and the presenters, as well as details of how to apply.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Raquel de Pedro Ricoy & Katerina Strani
Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies
School of Management and Languages
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK

E-mail: eirss@hw.ac.uk

2015 call for PhD Scholarships in LINCS!

LINCS is now offering two School of Management and Languages (SML) Scholarships and one Professorial Scholarship for the next academic year, commencing September 2015!

SML scholarships available: 2

The term of the Scholarships is three years. Successful candidates will be expected to make a contribution to activities in the Department in return for a fee-waiver, a maintenance allowance of £13,863 per annum and a research support allowance of £2,250 over the registered period of study.

We welcome applications from suitably qualified candidates to develop projects relevant to key research areas across our two Research Centres:

  1. Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland – postgraduate research areas
  2. Intercultural Research Centre – postgraduate research areas

Additionally, appropriate candidates may apply to join the International Doctoral Programme on Transformations in European Societies. Current themes of the program are: migration/ interculturality, urban society/culture, and worlds of work.

The closing date for applications is Friday 27th March 2015.

Professorial Scholarship

Public Service Interpreting: Standardizing Quality and Professionalization

Lead Supervisor: Professor Claudia Angelelli, Chair of Interpreting

Number available: 1

The term of the Scholarship is three years. The successful candidate will be expected to make a contribution to activities in the Department in return for a fee-waiver, a maintenance allowance of £13,863 per annum and a research support allowance of £2,250 over the registered period of study.

Project Outline
In multilingual societies, cross-linguistic/cultural communication is increasingly frequent, especially when it relates to accessing services. As a result of mobility, immigration, and displacement, users of services (e.g. health care, justice, education) often do not speak the same language as providers (who generally speak the societal language). When providers and users do not share a language, translators and interpreters mediate communication. Translators and interpreters vary in their abilities and qualifications, and for some language combinations or communicative settings there simply are no professional interpreters or translators. This project explores constructs of linguistic rights and linguicism by studying quality and professionalism across languages and settings.

The closing date for applications is Friday 27th March 2015.

How to apply

For both the SML Scholarships and the Professorial Scholarship please submit your application via the Heriot-Watt Online Application Portal.

Under Application Type please select ‘Research PG’ from the options. In the section Planned Programme of Study please select ‘Languages, PhD’ from the options.

Please state clearly on your application which PhD scholarship you are applying for.

Once you have completed your application, ensure that you click ‘Application is Complete’ on the checklist.

In order that your application can be processed, please ensure that all the supporting documents listed below are submitted with your application:

  1. RESEARCH PROPOSAL (approximately 5 – 8 pages)
    The research proposal should contain as much as possible of the following: an introduction or outline of the proposed topic; a statement of objectives and/or specific research questions; a summary of some of the relevant literature which supports the research objective(s); an indication of the intended research methodology; an indication of the theoretical structure and/or conceptual outline; a provisional timetable of the major phases of the research process; results expected from the research e.g. practical value of the research or possible contributions to knowledge or policy or methodology. At this stage we are not looking for a definitive document but merely an indication that you have thought through most of the above issues.
    Please note that work submitted may be subject to screening via plagiarism software.
    Copies of full academic transcripts from all previous academic degree courses and copies of degree certificates for degrees already awarded. If you are currently pursuing a degree course please provide all available marks to date.
    If you have not already studied a degree programme that was taught and examined in the medium of English we require evidence of language proficiency. For IELTS: the minimum overall IELTS score is 6.5 with no score lower than 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/knowledge-of-english
    If you have references available these should be submitted with your application. If they are not currently available please ensure that you provide the names and contact details, including email addresses, of two academic referees on the application form.

Candidates may also submit a Curriculum Vitae.

Closing date

The closing date for both the SML Scholarships and the Professorial Scholarship is Friday 27th March 2015.

Further Information

For further information, and if you have any queries, please contact Caroline Murray c.a.murray@hw.ac.uk


LINCS research officially declared 'pure dead brilliant'

by Graham Turner

If you’re a wee bit geeky about higher education, like some of the staff of LINCS, you will have been holding your breath just after midnight on the morning of 18th December. You weren’t? What can I say? I guess you just had to be there.

What was the fuss about? It was the announcement of the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014, aka REF. How did LINCS fare? Pure dead brilliant.

In fact, Heriot-Watt University performed well as a whole in the REF rankings. The ‘headline’ announcement is that Heriot-Watt has risen to 33rd position in the UK (4th in Scotland), as compared with 45th in the 2008 audit. (You can see lots more, including a podcast/video presentation of our results by the University’s Principal, here http://www.hw.ac.uk/news/heriot-watt-demonstrates-significant-20137.htm.)

REF is a UK-wide audit of research performance. Every six years or so, it reviews the work of every department in every university in the land. That’s 154 universities, submitting 1,911 reports, covering research by 52,061 members of staff.

A series of expert panels were created – LINCS’ own Professor Máiréad Nic Crath was selected for one of these, which is a real endorsement of the esteem in which Máiréad is held by academic peers far and wide. The brave panel members then spent most of the year reading 191,150 publications (!) and reaching judgments about their quality.

Besides digesting the research itself, the panellists read documents describing the research environment in each department. And, in a brand new development, they also reviewed 6,975 case studies designed to demonstrate the ‘impact’ of research in ‘the real world’ – how it was valued by policy-makers, industry, the professions and the public.

Eventually, an elaborate series of grades and profiles were generated from the results. As soon as they were announced (last Thursday morning), the press inevitably went into overdrive producing league tables. (Those familiar with the soccer player Gary Lineker’s remark that “Football is a simple game: twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win” will recognise what tends to happen in the REF tables – for Germans, read Oxbridge and London.)

I know, I know – you just want to know how LINCS got on.

Well, one-third of our research was declared ‘world leading’ for its originality, rigour and significance by the Modern Languages & Linguistics panel. In respect of that ‘world leading’ measure, LINCS stands in 17th place in the UK, and top in Scotland.

Panels were looking assess the ‘reach and significance’ of our impact on the economy, society and culture. And here, we scored 90% ‘outstanding’ – placing us 2nd in the UK, and again top in Scotland.

For its ‘vitality and sustainability’ as an environment in which to do research in our fields, LINCS was rated 19th overall in the UK.

As I said, it all starts to get a bit geeky after a while. So why might it matter to you?

What REF tells you boils down to three things. One, you have a painstaking, independent endorsement of the claim that we do know what we’re talking about in our subject areas. Two, if you are interested in studying or working here, LINCS is a stimulating, supportive place to be – and that character is built in for the long term. And three, we’re really not here just to stroke our brain cells: we care passionately about doing work that changes people’s lives.

One last thought. It’s important to recognise that a department’s research performance is not the result only of the efforts of those named in REF as ‘active researchers’, but of everyone involved in the life of the department. That means academics, secretariat, students and associates.

 It’s always a team effort to make sure that, collectively, we’re doing all the things a good department should. LINCS truly does do all of those things, as REF helps to underline.

So, as we head into the holiday season, here’s a toast to each and every person who takes part in the life of LINCS, for every kind of contribution they make.

Who's who in BSL at Heriot-Watt University

Welcome to the 4th BSL blog on lifelinlincs

After the last three weeks where you have seen discussion of sign language-related topics, in the blog for this week we thought we would take the opportunity to do a profile of the BSL team at Heriot-Watt University – a who’s who of the ten members of the team, and to give an overview of what we do here and our research interests.

Below you will see a short profile of each staff member and PhD student in the BSL team, with links to webpages that provide further information about their work where possible. If you click on the link attached to their name, you can also watch their bio presented in sign language.

The most recently appointed member of staff is Professor Jemina Napier, Chair of Intercultural Communication. She is a signed language interpreter who grew up and worked in London before moving to Australia, where she lived for 15 years and began her career in teaching and research. She recently returned to the UK to take up her position at Heriot-Watt University, where she teaches in the BSL/English Interpreting 4-year undergraduate programme on courses including ‘Deaf People in Society’ (covering topics such as Deafhood, Deaf identity and culture) and practical interpreting and translation skills. She also teaches in the European Masters of Sign Language Interpreting (EUMASLI) programme, which is offered jointly between Heriot-Watt University, Magdeburg University in Germany and Humak University in Finland. EUMASLI has 24 deaf and hearing students from all over the world who are already seasoned interpreters, and have enrolled in the programme to explore and examine signed language interpreting at an advanced level. Jemina’s research interests focus on signed language interpreting, and deaf-hearing cross-cultural communication. She has conducted research on legal, medical and educational interpreting (for more information on her research and publications see her web research profile) and will be commencing two new key projects over the next coming year: (1) Justisigns, in collaboration with universities in Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland, to focus on legal interpreting across Europe, and (2) Examining experiences of deaf and hearing children when engaging in language brokering  (non-professional interpreting) for Deaf members of their family in comparison with young people and spoken languages. She is also keen to explore other opportunities for research on deaf-hearing relations and comparing spoken and signed language interpreting.

Rita McDade is a Teaching Fellow and the longest standing member of the BSL team at Heriot-Watt. Rita began her work in the Deaf community in 1985 as a Liaison Officer in a Deaf organization, and worked in various roles until she developed a keen interest in teaching and learning, especially in relation to languages, linguistics, translation and interpreting. Rita was one of the first people in Scotland to be involved in teaching deaf (relay) interpreters, and also to work as a deaf interpreter, and she is still very passionate about that work. Her research interests focus on intersections between language and culture and power dynamics in cross-cultural communication that influence sociolinguistic variation in how signs are produced. Although she has an interest in many issues in relation to deaf-hearing cross-cultural communication, she focuses most closely on research on teaching and learning and in particular on how students begin to learn early on in their course, which cements their future learning and development. At Heriot-Watt University Rita teaches in the undergraduate BSL/English interpreting programme, and five years ago she initiated offering BSL classes as an elective to any student who is interested in taking the course. Those courses are very popular and well attended by students from across the university, so it is Rita’s hope that both the BSL elective courses and the BSL undergraduate programme will grow and develop.

Professor Graham Turner is head of the BSL section and Chair of Translation. He has been at Heriot-Watt since 2005. At that time, the BSL work that had been initiated by others in the Department (see overview below on the History of BSL at Heriot-Watt) was still on a small scale, so his goal was to grow the area of BSL and sign language research at the university. Over the last eight years since his arrival the  BSL section has grown significantly in size, and now includes ten different members (as you will see featured in this blog post). Graham works with the team on various research projects on sign language, signed language interpreting and translation, Deaf culture and heritage, and a range of other topics. For more information about Graham’s research and publications, see his research web profile.

Gary Quinn is a Teaching Fellow and Coordinator of the BSL/English Interpreting undergraduate honours/MA programme. At Heriot-Watt he teaches BSL and sign linguistics, and in previous years was also responsible for teaching two cohorts in the Training of Trainers (TOT) course, to train deaf people as BSL teachers. He is currently conducting his PhD research on BSL grounding, examining how deaf people align with one another in signed interaction and engage in turn-taking appropriately. See his research web profile for other publications. Gary has been one of the key investigators on a research project conducted in collaboration with Rachel O’Neill and Audrey Cameron and the Scottish Sensory Centre, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh in the development of science signs for deaf school children. Click here to see Gary talking about the project in BSL (with captions).

Dr Svenja Wurm is a Lecturer in BSL and Translation Studies and is coordinator of the EUMASLI programme. She grew up in Germany and has been living in the UK for 15 years after coming initially to study in the BSL/English Interpreting programme at Wolverhampton University. Rather than working professionally as a signed language interpreter, she decided to pursue her interests in translation theory and research, and enrolled in an MSc in Translation Studies at Edinburgh University. In 2005 she commenced her PhD studies at Heriot-Watt where she explored the process of signed language translation from written English into BSL. In her role as Lecturer, in addition to coordinating the EUMASLI programme, she teaches in the undergraduate programme: Translation & Interpreting Studies, Subtitling and English/BSL Translation Skills. Svenja also coordinates the EdSign Lecture Series, which is co-hosted by three universities in Edinburgh (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh University and Queen Margaret University) and delivers a programme of lectures on a range of Deaf and Interpreting Studies topics that are open to the Deaf community, interpreters and BSL and interpreting students. Svenja’s research interests focus on English/BSL translation and interpreting processes, and a newer area of interest is in relation to multimodality and how people communicate using different modes of speech, sign and written text. She is also interested in deaf literacy and the various ways that deaf people communicate in BSL or English. For an overview of her publications, see her research web profile.

We also have 5 PhD students who are all investigating aspects of signed language interpreting:

Robyn Dean is a third year PhD student from Rochester, New York in the USA, and has been a practicing interpreter for 25 years, specializing in medical and mental health interpreting. Her work as an interpreter educator has focused on ethical decision-making (and she developed the Demand-Control Schema with her collaborator Robert Q. Pollard). Robyn’s PhD research is also exploring ethical decision-making for interpreters, and she is being supervised by Graham Turner, Svenja Wurm and Jemina Napier.

Xiao Zhao is a second year PhD student from China and is being supervised by Graham Turner and Svenja Wurm. (She is learning BSL and has basic Chinese Sign Language skills). Her research interest is in signed language interpreting on television in China, and the different perceptions of different stakeholders (e.g., the media, deaf people and signed language interpreters in China). Xiao chose to come to Heriot-Watt is that she felt that it is one of the few places in the world where one can conduct research on signed language interpreting that is relevant to your home country. The reason she has an interest in this area of research is because signed language interpreting in China is growing exponentially and there are many discussions of the importance of this provision in China, but they do not have enough resources to train interpreters, and not enough knowledge about best practice in signed language interpreting for the Chinese context. Therefore she sees this as an opportunity to immerse herself in a new field of study in order to learn something.

Yvonne Waddell is a first year PhD student from Scotland and is being supervised by Jemina Napier and Isabelle Perez. She has been qualified as a BSL/English interpreter for 3 years, and works in a variety of community and educational settings. She sees the need for more research on signed language interpreting in order to inform and influence best practice in signed language interpreting, which is why she has chosen to come to Heriot-Watt to undertake a PhD. Her research interest is to examine how behavioural decisions made by interpreters in different situations are perceived by hearing professionals and the consequent impact on deaf participants in interaction.

Clare Canton is a deaf first year PhD student from Scotland and is being supervised by Jemina Napier and Graham Turner. Clare was the first deaf person to be registered as a qualified BSL/English interpreter in Scotland, and interprets in a range of settings, including medical, mental health, with deaf migrants, and at international conferences. With her company Beyond BSL, she has provided training and support for learners of BSL in one-to-one and group contexts, as well as mentoring, for example in relation to theatre interpreting. She also delivers interpreter training on topics such as deaf-hearing interpreter co-working strategies. As a PhD student, Clare is interested in exploring language brokering experiences of deaf and hearing people in the Deaf community who have grown up brokering for family members.

Stacey Webb is also a new first year PhD student from the USA and is being supervised by Jemina Napier and Svenja Wurm. She is an ASL/English interpreter of many years experience, and also teachers interpreters in various courses. Thus her research topic focuses on interpreter education, where she hopes to explore the training of interpreters in more depth.