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.
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
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.
Are you a language student or professional interested in exploring new theory and practice in the field of metaphor translation?
The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University invites you to participate in a 1-day training workshop on Saturday 9 April, 9:30 am – 4pm on our Edinburgh campus. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.
The workshop is free of charge as it is part of a research project funded by a Heriot-Watt University ‘enhancement themes’ grant 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. Ethical approval for this project was granted on 13/9/2020 under ref no. 2021-1480-4597.
This workshop is a fully accredited CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training and all participants who complete it will receive a CPD Certificate.
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.
There are 20 spaces available on a first come first serve basis.
Conceptual metaphors exist in all languages and across all genres and text types. For example, the English conceptual metaphor COVID IS AN ENEMY gives rise to expressions such as ‘fighting Covid, shielding against Covid, working on the front line’. However, these conceptual mappings are not universal and might vary across languages. Consistency in translating these metaphors is especially important when those metaphors are used as behaviour triggers (e.g. stay home to protect lives in the context of the war on Covid).
The workshop will combine theoretical presentations with discussion and practical group work activities. It will cover:
Conceptual metaphor theory
Conceptual metaphor translation
Text accuracy and consistency
Who can attend this workshop: Postgraduate or final year undergraduate students in languages and/or translation; Early-career or experienced translators (Arabic, Chinese, French).
Both students and professionals can benefit from this in-depth exploration to improve their analytical skills and the quality of their translations.
Who will deliver this workshop: The workshop will be delivered by three experienced researchers and translation trainers.
Dr. Sui He is a Lecturer in Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation at Swansea University. She completed her PhD in translation studies in 2022, with a focus on metaphor translation in popular scientific discourse. She is an experienced freelance translator/interpreter between English and Mandarin Chinese/Cantonese.
Dr. Khadidja Merakchi is Assistant Professor of French at Heriot-Watt University. She is a fluent speaker of Arabic, French and English. She completed her PhD in popular science metaphor translation from English to Arabic at the University of Surrey in 2017. She is an experienced professional translator and interpreter, as well as a teacher in both of these fields.
Ms. Juliette Rutherford is Assistant Professor in Chinese at Heriot-Watt University. She is a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish and English. She worked as a professional in-house translator for 8 years before joining Heriot-Watt in 2019. She studied conceptual metaphor theory as part of her MSc programme, and is interested in researching this topic further both from a pedagogical and translation studies perspective.
This online event, made up of 4 related webinars held over 2 weeks, is co-hosted by the Training Committee, International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) and The Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS), at Heriot-Watt University.
Museum translation, an encompassing term which can be understood as translation activities in their broadest sense taking place in or in relation to museums, has gradually received some attention from translation scholars in recent years. The multimodal and intercultural museum space and exhibitions have provided opportunities for researchers in translation studies to explore new dimensions, and in particular, to work with different stakeholders in this process and space of communication. This event consists of four webinars, with each presenter sharing their experience of engaging with one or more groups of stakeholders, including museum curators and visitors, interdisciplinary research collaborators, translation trainees, and the multilingual community. It is hoped that this event will further studies and interaction with other stakeholders in museum translation.
Tuesday, 1 March (16.00-17.00, UK time)
Initiating and Boosting Stakeholder Engagement around Translation: A Look at the Heritage and Museum Sector
The events will be held on Zoom and are free to attend, but to confirm your place at these events please register in advance. Log-in details and Zoom link will then be emailed to all those who have registered. You are welcome to join one, more or all of the events.
If you have any questions, please contact the event organizer: Dr. Min-Hsiu Liao (email@example.com)
This blogpost is published to coincide with the publication of the DESIGNS research project report. This presentation was originally planned to be delivered at the Bridging the Gap 6 conference in Cardiff in November 2019, but due to technical issues with trying to live stream it could not happen. So instead we filmed our presentation and have created this blogpost to provide an English text equivalent. The goal of the Bridging the Gap conference series is to ensure that research taking place in academia is made available to the British Deaf community, and also that deaf BSL users can shape the research agenda. The 2017 Bridging the Gap conference was hosted at Heriot Watt University, so we hope that by making this blogpost it will some way make up for not being able to present at the 2019 conference.
Both of us work at Heriot-Watt University in the SIGNS@HWU team, which is affiliated to the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS), and we were the UK team in the Designs Project from 2017-2019. The project is now finished, and the aim of this blogpost is to provide a conclusion to our work by presenting our key findings and also to provide information about the resources that have been developed through the life span of the project that specifically pertain to the UK context. In the videos linked to this blogpost you will see a taste of the resources that we have created.
What was the DESIGNS Project?
The DESIGNS Project was about deaf people in employment and the key focus of the research was to examine how deaf people work best with interpreters in employment contexts, including getting a new job, continuing employment working alongside regular interpreters, and also how one’s career progresses and how one gains promotion in the work place.
Funding for the project came from ERASMUS+. The research delved into what it is like for deaf people and, importantly, for interpreters who work alongside deaf colleagues in employment settings, as well as finding out employers’ views about deaf people in the workplace. There were seven project partners working across four different countries, so we worked with partners in Ireland, Belgium and Germany, including the European Forum for Sign Language Interpreters (efsli) and the European Union of the Deaf (EUD).
The culmination of the project was a meeting at the European Parliament in April 2019 when we shared the findings and discussed implications at a concluding event hosted by the (then) deaf MEP Helga Stevens.
One of the key aims of the project was to develop resources and training materials, as well as guidelines to help interpreters, deaf employees and employers to understand best practice in the work place. The project team felt that it was important to have research as the foundation for our work so that the resources we developed had a solid evidence base and linked theory to practice.
DESIGNS project research phases
The research itself had four phases. In the first of those, the EUD conducted a survey via national deaf associations across Europe pertaining to numbers of deaf people in employment and numbers of those who are unemployed. The survey also asked questions about the payment and booking of interpreters as well as a number of other issues. In the second of the four phases, we conducted a global literature review in the area of deafness and employment. Thirdly, each of the universities involved in the project conducted either focus groups or individual interviews, which were either face to face or online. We asked questions of employers, deaf employees and interpreters to really understand how they felt about the barriers and challenges they face as well as positive stories from their employment experiences. We were keen to gather information about these positive experiences as the team’s goal was to produce best practice guidelines, rather than focussing on negative experiences and obstacles. In summary, the third and fourth phases were aimed at eliciting views from the three groups of stakeholders: deaf employees, employers and interpreters.
This blogpost focuses on the British data set and we will share with you our findings from the three stakeholder groups in the UK and show you some of the resources we have developed for use in the UK.
We collected a wealth of data that we analysed for key themes and to identify gaps in existing knowledge.
We found that most people did not know what rights and what responsibilities they had and there were gaps in, firstly, organisational culture meaning the culture of the working environment and how it affects deaf employees. Secondly, we identified a gap in experience, thirdly a feedback gap and fourthly we identified systems gaps. An example of this being when deaf people finish school or university and attempt to transition into the workplace, many do not know how to find an interpreter, how to source funding to pay for support or how to work with hearing people. Many of our respondents went to deaf school and therefore struggled in an unfamiliar hearing environment. That is an organisational or cultural gap that we had not realised existed, as well as being a systems gap in terms of the lack of knowledge of where to find funding.
Also, most respondents reported feeling anxious about job interviews, again through lack of knowledge about how and when to source interpreters for the interview process. Further, they stated they lacked practice in interviews, interview techniques and how to work with interpreters in interview situations. The need for funding and where to find the funding was an identified gap. We would describe this situation as an experience and knowledge gap.
Many workplaces with multiple deaf employees make use of staff interpreters. Deaf respondents found this positive because it helps when the interpreters and deaf people are familiar with each other as this allows for smoother interpretation. Because the staff interpreters are familiar with the work place, it helps them to feel confident but a lot of people reported that they did not have access to regular interpreters and this creates a gap, as interpreters find it more difficult to interpret unfamiliar meetings, jargon and people’s names. Because of this difficulty, we identified that it is important for a regular pool of interpreters, familiar with the workplace, to be available.
This also helps interpreters to be more confident and competent in those work settings. There was a reported difficulty in finding the right interpreter because there are not enough interpreters and the demand exceeds the supply which sometimes resulted in respondents using Communication Support Workers (CSWs) not only due to the lack of interpreters but also because CSWs are cheaper for the company. So, not having enough interpreters is another gap.
Also, respondents commented on the importance of preparation so that interpreters know what to expect, as well as feedback to the interpreters from both hearing and deaf workers, which helps improve the standard of the interpretation and also encourages team work; the result being that deaf people are represented better. But many deaf respondents were nervous about giving feedback in case the interpreters took this negatively and then would not come back to work with them. This difficulty was expressed within the context of not having enough interpreters.
In relation to the UK Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme, many of our deaf participants reported that when starting a new job, they were unaware of how to apply, fill out the forms, etc., which led to delays of up to three or four months meaning it was difficult for them to start a new job without interpreting support. So, there is a need to change that situation and ensure immediate support is available because without such, hearing colleagues could misunderstand and get the wrong impression of their new deaf colleague.
Once in employment, a lot of our deaf respondents reported a lack of confidence in applying for promotion. This phenomenon could be linked to there not being enough interpreters or lack of available training. Deaf employees undertaking training have the additional burden of interpreter costs and questions remain over who will pay for interpreting services. For these reasons, it is more difficult for deaf employees to seek and gain promotion. Furthermore, not being able to hear means that they also miss out on office chat and gossip which may include informal information about pending available promotions. So, that’s another gap.
Also, hearing people are generally not familiar about how to work with deaf sign language users, so they experience anxiety and hesitation about how to relate to their deaf colleagues. These issues could be cross-cultural or due to misunderstandings and communication breakdowns. Thus, there is a need for training to be provided to non-deaf, or rather, non-signing personnel. The necessity of such training highlights the importance of the DESIGNS project.
The themes and gaps were identified as a pattern across three different countries: Germany, Ireland and the UK. We found a similar picture in each country so these issues are not only specific to the UK. They are widespread and similar in other countries too. What we have done here is used examples, such as Access to Work, that are specific to the UK to discuss the issues in relation to this country.
Training materials were developed in parallel across the different countries. So, we’ve developed specific resources in BSL. We have videos and also a training course that all stakeholders could undertake together. There’s an e-guide presented in sign language for deaf community members and we have versions of this in BSL, Irish Sign Language (ISL) and German Sign Language (DGS). We have a written guide for employers and all of these materials are available through the Designs website.
We have now finished the project and most of the resources are now available through the website with everything we have learned. We would like to share some sample clips of materials and resources we’ve developed throughout the project.
The first videos focus on job interviews and show what it’s like when deaf people go for interviews with an interpreter to try to get a job. The videos can be used in training for all three stakeholder groups: employers, deaf employees and interpreters.
In the Job Interview: Scenario 1 video, the interpreter was booked at the last minute, being contacted on the morning of an interview due to take place that afternoon, meaning that neither of the deaf interviewee or interpreter were prepared; they did not have the opportunity to meet beforehand and neither really knew what was involved.
In the Job Interview: Scenario 2 video, we see what happens when there is preparation; both the deaf interviewee and interpreter preparing beforehand and discussing the interview.
We have used these two videos in the training that we did with hearing, non-signing employers from a range of different organisations. We showed them the video without subtitles, so they had to watch and listen to the interpreter’s spoken English interpretation of the deaf interviewee’s signed utterances. They could obviously access the interviewers’ speech as well. After showing them both videos, we ask them to contrast the two. When we asked the employers what they thought about the deaf candidate in the first video, they responded that they would not have given her the job as she did not sound confident and was hesitant. With regards to the second video, they reported that they would have given her the job.
It was only afterwards that we told them that the candidate’s signing was exactly the same in both videos, and the hesitation actually came from the interpreter in the first video due to lack of preparation. The employers were dumfounded by the difference the interpreter made in their perception of the deaf interviewee, which made them aware of this issue. From this example we can see how important it is for interpreters to be prepared, to know the person well and generally be ready to interpret for a job interview. It is unfair for deaf candidates if the interpreter is unsure about who is present, information about the company and so on.
We have also shown the same two videos in a masterclass that we held in Edinburgh in collaboration with Deaf Action, where we had three groups representing deaf people, employers and interpreters. We showed them the same two videos and followed exactly the same procedure and got a similar reaction from all three groups. It had an impact on all of them, for example the deaf participants fully appreciated how working with an unprepared interpreter could seriously damage their job prospects at interview and for the interpreters, the experience also underscored the importance of preparation. All three groups realised how important an issue preparation is.
An important outcome of the project was to show different positive deaf role models in employment; success stories of those whose careers have gone well. So, we filmed various case studies of deaf people to share their experiences of how they have succeeded at work, including Toby Burton, who works in the finance industry.
We just picked one short clip from Toby’s video, as an example of a positive story that shows a deaf person being successful in his work and attaining a high-level position in industry. By showing what deaf people can do, the goal is particularly to encourage young deaf people by showing them what is possible through a variety of role models from a diverse range of backgrounds and in very different jobs, some working in deaf or sign language focused work and others not.
We also collected various case studies from a number of people across the three stakeholder groups of deaf people, interpreters and employers, in order to showcase good practice and give insights into experiences in deaf employment.
Our research showed that there did not seem to be enough visible deaf role models to show others how to succeed, as well as a lack of mentors, so it is even more important to have videos like these available.
The course curriculum contains a number of different modules, which are grouped to focus on the training needs of each of the three stakeholder groups. For the deaf participants, we focussed on their employment rights, such as interpreter provision as well as how to best work with an interpreter; and for the interpreter group, we gave similar information about how to build rapport with both the deaf candidate and the employers thereby creating a triadic relationship. For the employers’ group, we gave information about deaf people and their rights but also how to include them as employees in the workplace, dispelling any fears they may have and so on. So, the content of these modules can be made available to other institutions, such as universities or training centres and the videos and other training materials make up a whole package that can also be used for CPD workshops. In essence, these modules are available to pick and mix according to need and are freely available for anybody to use.
This is particularly useful for a deaf person starting a new job as they can select some of the materials to help their colleagues understand how best to work with them.
Example Session 4 is one example of one module content about what happens when deaf people graduate from college or university and how they then navigate the world of employment, including learning outcomes that link to videos and in this example, the video is a person from Ireland giving advice to deaf jobseekers.
Other materials have been designed specifically for deaf communities in the form of a tailored E-Guide each for the UK, Ireland and Germany, which is like written guidelines but presented in the national sign language, in our case BSL, and give ten tips for deaf sign language users on getting a job. These videos will be useful for young deaf people because they are delivered in sign language.
We also produced a guide for employers, which comes in the form of a small booklet and it is aimed at employers who are preparing to bring a deaf employee into their workplace. It contains useful information gathered through our research from employers who told us what they needed to know.
The employer guide has been sent out to employers that were involved in the project so they can share it with others, and is available to download from the project website, so please feel free to disseminate it as widely as possible. We want to enable deaf people to have as smooth a transition into employment as possible.
IPCITI is an annual postgraduate conference organised by students for students and it marks the consolidation of the collaboration between Dublin City University, Manchester University, the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. Its main aims are to promote greater participation in Translation and Interpreting research and foster a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment where research and academia can be accessible in real terms.
This year, the IPCITI 2017 Organising Committee (Jafar Ahmad, Nga-Ki Mavis Ho, Lorraine MacDonald, Michael Richardson and Paola Ruffo) has worked hard to welcome delegates from all over the world to Heriot-Watt and create a diverse and enriching programme, which included meaningful contributions across all areas of Translation and Interpreting Studies.
The conference started with a workshop by Mr Ramon Inglada (CTISS, Heriot-Watt University) on ’CAT Tools: welcome to the cloud-based (r)evolution’ followed by Dr Ana-Frankenberg Garcia’s (University of Surrey) keynote on ‘The use of corpora in translation research’. Day two saw Interpreting research and practice join forces to discuss ‘Interpreting theory and practice in dialogue’ with a panel formed by Prof Graham Turner (CTISS, Heriot-Watt University), Prof Claudia Angelelli (CTISS, Heriot-Watt University), Mr Martin Gallagher (Police Scotland) and Ms Delphine Jaouen (NHS Scotland).
A variety of topics has been discussed by our international presenters over the course of these two days, covering diverse areas of T&I Studies such as translation and interpreting technologies, literary translation, interpreters’ training, British Sign Language interpreting, risk in translation, and news translation in relation to ideology and human rights.
To quote our Head of School, Prof Robert MacIntosh, who opened the conference: “We have a long heritage of Translation and Interpreting of which we are very proud” – this year’s successful and high-quality IPCITI drove that point home again.
You can follow The International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting on twitter (@ipciti) and on the dedicated website www.ipciti.org.uk.
International Translation Day is celebrated every year on the 30th of September, the day of the feast of St Jerome, who was a Bible translator and is considered today as the patron saint of translators. LINCS is celebrating this important day with an event focused on 21st century translators and translation research. There will be talks by Prof Graham Turner, Dr Marion Winters, Paola Ruffo, Ramon Inglada and David Miralles Perez.
The event will take place on Wednesday 4th October 17:30 – 20:00 and is open to the public. Join us in celebrating International Translation Day in LINCS! #ITD2017
Now Welcome week is here and the campus is buzzing with newly arrived students. There is a truly international mix, and that’s not just LINCS.
Teaching starts on Monday 12th September. In the meantime, we are running events to welcome all LINCS students. From coffee and muffins for 1st year students at the newly-opened Learning Commons, to drinks and nibbles in town for MSc students, we make sure that you are properly welcomed and are ready to start your academic journey with us. Our consistentlyhigh NSS results (2nd in Scotland and 6th in UK for student satisfaction!) prove how much we value the student experience.
But we never rest on our laurels.
This year, we are asking new and continuing students to participate in a competition to celebrate European Day of Languages. Students need to answer the questions “Why study languages?” and “The best thing about studying languages is…” for a chance to win Harriet, the Heriot-Watt cow that can also be used as a stress ball. There are 10 cows up for grabs!
The winning statements will be put on a poster which will be displayed at the LINCS stand during the University Open Day on 23rd September, as part of the celebrations for the European Day of Languages on 26th September.
We have a range of programmes in both languages and cultural studies, as well as some exciting new elective courses to add more flexibility to your degrees and give you more options depending on your needs. More information here for undergraduate and here for postgraduate programmes.
With 246 posts, almost 90,000 views and more than 42,000 visitors since the blog was launched in 2011, we will continue to publish posts about research and practice in Languages, Interpreting, Translation and Cultural Studies.
Click here to see a version of this blogpost in BSL.
As part of the Justisigns project, which is funded through the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme, a masterclass was run in November 2015 jointly between the Heriot-Watt University BSL/Justisigns team and Police Scotland and included CID/police interview advisors, Deaf community representatives and BSL/English interpreters. The workshop involved joint and group sessions on the potential barriers for deaf people in accessing police interviews, the challenges for interpreters to accurately convey the goals of police interviewers, and deaf/sign language awareness raising for police interviewers, as well as interactive simulation role plays of BSL interpreted police interviews.
One of the issues raised during the discussions was the lack of standardization in a translation of the Scottish police caution, so interpreters may produce different versions of the caution in BSL. As the police caution is legally binding, the words are used specifically and are read out verbatim by police interviewers and sometimes followed up by an explanation if the person being questioned does not understand the formal caution.
Although a BSL translation of the English police caution is available, the wording of the caution is different from the Scottish caution, and therefore the BSL translation is also different from what is needed in Scotland.
At the masterclass workshop it was identified that having a BSL translation of the Scottish Common Law Caution available on video as a reference point for police, interpreters and the Deaf community would be a useful development. The ideal would be for a BSL translation to be accessible online for police to access on a mobile device (for example if detaining someone before an interpreter arrives) or for interpreters or deaf people to access at the point of a police interview (e.g. through an iPad or computer). At no point would the availability of the BSL translation circumvent the need for a BSL/English interpreter, as it is a legal requirement for interpreters to be present for any interaction between a police officer and a person who uses a different language.
So as a follow-up to the masterclass, we organized a translation workshop and invited key stakeholder representatives to be involved in discussing, developing and finalizing a standard BSL translation of the Scottish police caution. In addition to the Heriot-Watt University BSL/Justisigns team participants included representatives from Police Scotland, the British Deaf Association (Scotland), experienced legal BSL/English interpreters and a deaf interpreter.
The participants engaged in a ‘forward and backward’ translation process (Tate, Collins & Tymms, 2003), reviewing drafts of BSL translations, discussing lexical and legal conceptual challenges and creating new BSL versions of the caution.
At the end of the workshop a final version was agreed upon and filmed. This BSL translation of the Scottish Law Caution is now available to be referenced by BSL/English interpreters and interpreting students, police officers and Deaf community members in Scotland.
(Scottish Law Caution BSL translation translated by deaf interpreter, Clare Canton)
As part of the discussions it was also agreed to film an explanation of the Scottish Law Caution in BSL, to reflect what typically happens in a police interview where a police offer would read the caution verbatim, and then provide an explanation. The explanation that we agreed upon is as follows:
This Scottish police Caution means: You have the right to be silent. You don’t have to answer any questions, and you don’t have to tell me anything about what’s happened. But if do you have any explanation or comment to give at any point in this process, this is your opportunity to do that and we will record it (written, audio, video). And the recording may be used for further investigation in this case and in court proceedings.
This BSL translation of the explanation is also now available to be referenced by BSL/English interpreters and interpreting students, police officers and Deaf community members in Scotland.
(Scottish Law Caution BSL explanation produced by legal interpreter, Brenda Mackay)
We would like to thank all the workshop participants for their contribution to creating this resource for interpreters, police and deaf BSL users in Scotland, and encourage as many people as possible to access this resource.
“Unequal exchanges: The role of Peruvian indigenous translators and interpreters in resource-exploitation consultation processes”
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. 14:15-17:15, 12 April 2016
The Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS) at Heriot- Watt University will host a symposium on the role of Peruvian indigenous translators and interpreters in consultations regarding the exploitation of natural resources. The symposium is open to the public. Registration is free, but places are limited. Please book yours here.
o Prof Rosemary Thorp (Peru Support Group): “Mining and the threat to indigenous communities”
o Mr Agustín Panizo (Head of the Indigenous Languages Division, Ministry of Culture, Perú): “Prior Consultation as a space for redefining communication between the State and the indigenous peoples of Peru”
o Presentation by Dr Jan Cambridge (Chartered Institute of Linguists): “A code of conduct is the scaffold supporting ethical safe outcomes”
o Prof Rosaleen Howard (Newcastle University), Dr Luis Andrade (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú) and Dr Raquel de Pedro
(Heriot-Watt University): Findings of the project “Translating Cultures: The legislated mediation of Indigenous Rights in Peru”