Research seminar

Wednesday 13th November, 14.15-15.45

Room MBG.33

The strategic nature of (signed language) interpreting

Isabelle Heyerick

Isabelle Heyerick

Institute of Advanced Studies, Centre of Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick (United Kingdom)

Faculty of Arts, MIDI group, KU Leuven (Belgium)

This talk introduces simultaneous interpreting as a cognitive activity, and looks at the mental processes underlying simultaneous interpreting and in particular the linguistic decisions signed language interpreters make. 

As has been put forward by interpreting studies scholars, simultaneous interpreting is a demanding cognitive process (Gile, 1995(revised 2009)) and essentially goal-oriented in nature (Pöchhacker, 2004). Previous research in spoken language and (to a lesser extent) in signed language interpreting indicates that the interpreter manages the cognitive process by applying interpreting strategies (Gile (1995), Kohn & Kalina (1996), Al-Khanji et al (2000), Bernardini (2001), Napier (2002), Pöchhacker (2004), Leeson (2005), Riccardi (2005), Heyerick (forthcoming)).

My focus lies with linguistic interpreting strategies. These appear to be an intrinsic characteristic of (signed language) interpreting, which – I propose – is strategic in nature. This presentation will explore the following ideas; (1) the strategic nature of interpreting, (2) the linguistic decisions interpreters make and how they can be situated on a continuum of consciousness, (3) the motivations underlying the linguistic decisions, and (4) the potential influence of ideologies concerning deafness, disability and language on the use of linguistic interpreting strategies. 

Flags from around the globeInternational Translator Day 2019

Wed, 2 October 2019, 18:00 – 20:00 BST

Lecture Theatre 2, Room G.07. University of Edinburgh. Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street. Edinburgh. EH8 9LE

The Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland at Heriot-Watt University & The Translation Studies programme at the University of Edinburgh jointly invite you to an event in honour of International Translator Day 2019

Latest CTISS report now online


In 2019, CTISS is pleased to announce a new initiative in the form of PhD student-led research seminars. The goal of the seminar is for a current PhD student to present their work-in-progress alongside one of their PhD supervisors and an externally invited scholar with relevant research interests. The structure of the seminar involves three presentations and discussion about how the themes interweave and influence the work of the PhD student. Thus you are invited to attend the inagural seminar as follows:

When: Wednesday 22ndMay, 13.15-16.15

Where:Heriot-Watt University, Esme Fairbairn Building, room 26 (Lecture Theatre) 

Title: Corporeal Translations: Considering space and the embodied nature of theatre translation and interpreting


PhD student: Danny McDougal

Supervisor presenter: Dr Annelies Kusters

External presenter: Dr Geraldine Brodie (UCL) 

CTISS 2019 Research Seminar - Demi Krystallidou (Ku Leven, Belgium)

Friday 15th March 2019, 3.15pm - 4.45pm

Room: EM303

Topic: Investigating empathic communication in interpreter-mediated medical consultations: results of a mixed-methods study 

Empathy is considered to be a basic component of all therapeutic relationships and is associated with positive health outcomes. Common components of the various definitions of clinical empathy in the literature include the ability to understand another’s experience, to communicate and confirm that understanding with the other person, and to then act in a helpful manner. Although there is evidence that in language-discordant consultations empathy is compromised, little is known about the underlying interactional processes and the interpreter’s effect on clinical empathy in interpreter-mediated consultations. 

In this talk I will present the findings of the first study on the interpreter’s effect on the co-construction, expression and management of empathic communication in interpreter-mediated consultations. I will provide insights into the interactional processes and semiotic resources participants use in empathic communication in interpreter-mediated consultations. A mixed-methods research design was used including the quantifiable coding of empathic communication combined with multimodal interaction analysis and qualitative content analysis of video-stimulated recall interviews with patients, doctors and interpreters. The results of the study show that iempathic communication is susceptible to the interpreter’s renditions and to the use of non-verbal semiotic resources in the triad, and ii) interpreters experience difficulties in recognizing patients’ empathic opportunities and rendering them in an appropriate manner. Interpreters and doctors require skills to detect patient cues, assess them correctly, render them in an appropriate manner (interpreters) and display culturally sensitive communicative behaviours. This can be achieved by providing interprofessional education for medical and interpreting students so that both groups can collaborate in a complementary manner as part of an interprofessional team. 

The Departmenrt of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University is offering up to two PhD scholarships to start in the academic year 2019/20. The term of the scholarship is three years. For further information about the scholarship and to apply click here

CTISS 2019 Research Seminar - Gabriela Saldhana (University of Birmingham)

Wednesday 17th April 2019, 2.15pm - 3.45pm

Room: EF26

Topic: Translation research

CTISS PhD Lunch & Member workshop

Monday 18th February 2019

PhD Lunch 12:00 - 13:00 

Room: EF26 (Crush area)

Member workshop with Jemina Napier: Grant writing

Time: 13:15 - 16:45

Room: EF26

LINCS PGR Symposium 2018

25th April 2018

10.00 - 16.00, MBG.20


Our PhD students will present their work-in-progress during the 1st LINCS PGR Symposium 2018.

The LINCS PGR Symposium is an intra-departmental opportunity for all PhD candidates both to gain experience in presenting their work, and to receive feedback and support from other postgraduate researchers and from staff in the department.

The Symposium will take place on Wednesday 25th April 2018, 10.00 - 16.00, in room MBG.20 on our Edinburgh Campus.

You can find the full list of speakers and the titles of their presentations by clicking here

There is no over-arching theme for the symposium, but we will have four main sessions about Translation, Language and Identity, Sign Language Interpreting and Spoken Language Interpreting.

Come along to support our research students and see what CTISS is all about!

Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.


PhD Scholarships 2018-19!


The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) is offering up to 3 PhD scholarships to start in the academic year 2018-19. 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 (currently set at £14,553 for 2017-18) per annum and a research support allowance of £2,250 over the registered period of study.

The closing date for applications is Friday 15 December 2017.

Please find all the information on our website or click here to apply.