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Heriot-Watt Uni unveils new language labs

Heriot-Watt has invested £700,000 to refurbish and develop language learning and interpreting facilities. 

Pictured using the new equipment is Professor Steve Chapman, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt Uni, and Leslie Evans, Director-General of Learning and Justice.

Heriot-Watt has invested £700,000 to refurbish and develop language learning and interpreting facilities for its students, modelling them on those used in the European Parliament. The institution is already ranked in the top ten of UK universities offering modern language courses, and takes pride in helping to school a globally mobile workforce for multi- and trans- national companies and organisations. The expansion in facilities mirrors the University’s growing reputation as an international university, with a campus open in Dubai, and one being developed in Malaysia.

Four new labs and one self-study lab will provide students with more hands-on interaction with translation and interpreting equipment, and include facilities for the first British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting degree in Scotland, which was launched at Heriot-Watt University in September this year.

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said: “As day-to-day business, politics and culture are increasingly international and global, this enables Heriot-Watt University to meet the growing demand for graduates with second languages and translations skills and help our students to enter high-value sectors such as finance and commerce, technology, and energy. This investment will enhance our established reputation in this field, and enable us to develop a centre for excellence.”

Professor Gill Hogg, Head of School of Management and Languages added: “This expansion, together with our new British Sign Language course and the first Gaelic-English interpreting course, due to start next year, firmly reflects our ambition to continue to lead the UK in language and interpreting teaching, and provide a skilled talent pool for high-profile institutions such as the European Parliament and the UN.”

The new labs were launched at a special event for guests including representatives from the Scottish Government, the European Commission, British Deaf Association and the Scottish Funding Council.
Staff and students presented a variety of modes of interpreting in the new state-of-the art facilities with simultaneous, consecutives and liaison interpreting into and from English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Chinese. Staff and students involved in the newly launched British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting degree programme in Scotland also interacted in BSL.

About Heriot-Watt University

In addition to the 8,000 students based in Scotland, Heriot-Watt University delivers degree programmes to 11,900 students in 150 countries around the world. HWU is 1st in Scotland and 5th in the UK, in terms of the scale of its transnational educational provision, which includes the University’s Dubai Campus and a network of 50 universities and colleges delivering Heriot-Watt degrees in 30 different countries as Approved Learning Partners. Heriot-Watt awards almost half of all Scottish degrees studied overseas. The first British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreting Degree was launched at Heriot-Watt in September 2012 and is the only one in the UK on which students will graduate fully qualified and accredited BSL/English interpreters upon completion. Heriot-Watt University will be the first university offering a Gaelic-English interpreting CPD course starting in January 2013.

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