The Linguist


The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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FEATURES Other projects focus on sign language and interpreting pedagogy: how to teach sign language as a second language to interpreting students; how to deliver BSL as a language in schools; how deaf or hearing adults might learn a signed language later in life; how interpreter educators deal with job demands and resources; and how we can engage in interdisciplinary training of people studying sign language interpreting and other disciplines (such as psychology and nursing) to prepare for working together in the real world. All of these projects have the potential to make a significant difference not only to the lives of deaf sign language users, but also to the professional practice of sign language interpreters, by providing an evidence base to inform policy, practice and pedagogy. Much of this research has led to policy changes, for example, through the development of best practice guidelines. The HWU BSL team are committed to engaging with deaf communities and interpreting practitioners about our research, so we always ensure that information is available in both sign language and English, and our research results are reported in various ways, including blog and vlog posts, community information events, the EdSign lecture series (held jointly with the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University), and through the creation of short films or documentaries. To find out more about the work of the BSL team at HWU, subscribe to, follow them on Twitter @HeriotWattBSL or like their Facebook page. This article is based on a talk given to CIOL's Scottish Society. For the society's forthcoming events, see In order to conduct research that is meaningful and relevant for participants, we involve deaf people and interpreters directly in research and policy making, drawing on their knowledge, experience and agendas. We see this as our collaborative responsibility to work with different stakeholder groups to develop best practice models. Making a difference A large proportion of our research focuses on 'understanding interpreting': examining sign language interpreter-mediated communication in different contexts. Various members of the team have been – or are currently – involved in projects that investigate how interpreting happens in police, court, classroom, medical, mental health, theatre, employment, political and conference settings; and also how interpreting and interpreters are experienced and perceived by stakeholder groups. Several members of the HWU team are also involved in research that documents the linguistic structure and sociolinguistic features of BSL, and the usage of BSL or other signed languages in different contexts between deaf and hearing people. Two newer areas of research focus on how deaf sign language users communicate across borders, giving consideration to mobility among tourists, migrants, immigrants and refugees; and the lived experiences of deaf sign language users in their everyday lives. Signed languages are not manual versions of spoken languages… A sign does not always correspond to a word © SHUTTERSTOCK

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