• The focus of the CTISS is on translation and interpreting, and related language and communication practices, as the subjects of basic and applied study in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Bringing together research expertise across the aligned disciplines of translation studies, interpreting studies, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics, our researchers engage in interdisciplinary work to examine translation, interpreting and languaging as situated social practices in Scottish and global contexts; as well as approaches to the learning and teaching of languages, translation and interpreting.
  • CTISS promotes cutting-edge research through the lenses of multimodality, multilingualism and technology.
  • Aligning with the research strategy of Heriot-Watt University, the CTISS aligns our research goals with the key themes of inclusivity and global challenges.


The overarching aim of CTISS is to build a diverse and coherent body of knowledge which seeks to address socially-relevant issues in Translation and Interpreting Studies across languages and cultures in the global context. We are interested in the lived and linguistic experiences of all those who participate in interpreting and translation processes, from new language learners and educators, to end-users in communities, public services and the professions. 

In pursuit of its aims, the CTISS will: 

  • Conduct systematic, basic research directed toward greater knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of translation, interpreting, language and communication practices.
  • Conduct systematic, applied research to gain knowledge or understanding to determine the means by which recognised and specific needs may be met in translation, interpreting, language, and communication related activities.
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaboration among members and between members of the Centre and the wider academic community
  • Develop collaborative projects, including research users
  • Submit funding bids specifically geared to building research capacity for early career researchers and PhD students
  • Engage with public bodies, and relevant industries and organisations to identify significant research needs and develop projects which have real-world impact on language communities
  • Provide mentoring and support mechanisms for research career development Encourage funding applications and cooperate in the development of bids
  • Develop and offer research training opportunities for Centre members and external participants
  • Disseminate research findings through academic publications, blogposts, academic presentations and public-engagement activities (in different languages where relevant. 


Historically, the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies’ (LINCS) primary research focus has been in the field of Translation & Interpreting studies: it was with the express purpose of promoting such a focus that the Department was founded over 40 years ago.

A distinctive profile in this area developed under the leadership of Professors Basil Hatim and Ian Mason, who carried forward the Department’s research agenda together until 2005.

Since that time the research aims of the Centre have broadened to include a wider range of translation and interpreting related activities that also encompass language and communication practices more generally, and also language, translation and interpreting pedagogy.

Research awards

June 2017

The ‘Interpreting Team’ shortlisted for the Heriot-Watt University Principal’s Public Engagement Prize for work on legal interpreting and collaboration with Police Scotland and other professional and community groups.

March 2017

The British Sign Language team – winner of the Guardian University Awards for Social & Community impact.

November 2016

The Justisigns project – shortlisted for Scottish Council on Deafness award for ‘Partnership Working’ with the British Deaf Association and Police Scotland.


CTISS is uniquely positioned worldwide with its long history in sign language related teaching and research. With early work led by Christine Wilson and Rita McDade to establish sign language interpreter training in the 1990s, the BSL team has expanded exponentially since Professor Graham H. Turner joined Heriot-Watt University in 2005 and Professor Jemina Napier in 2013, and has won awards for research quality and impact. With the arrival of internationally renowned deaf studies researcher Associate Professor Annelies Kusters in 2017, the SIGNS@HWU group has been established as a cluster of CTISS to profile the world leading interdisciplinary research in sign language and deaf studies being conducted at Heriot-Watt University.

Previous CTISS Directors

Professor Ian Mason
Professor Graham H. Turner
Professor Jemina Napier


The CTISS is managed by the Director, currently Professor Claudia V. Angelelli.

A Centre advisory board is being established and will comprise up to six members who meet formally twice per annum to review the operation of the CTISS and advise the Director.


Membership of the CTISS is open in principle to anyone who shares the Centre’s aims and objectives and can demonstrate an active commitment to research and scholarship in a relevant subject or across a number of fields.

There are five main membership categories as follows:

  1. Full members are staff or Emeritus Professors of the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University.
  2. Postgraduate research members are research students of the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (either PhD, MPhil or Masters by Research)
  3. Alumni members are PhD graduates of the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University
  4. Affiliate members are staff and research students from other Departments in the School of Social Sciences, or from other Schools or Institutes at Heriot-Watt University
  5. Associate members are staff and research students from external research institutions who have been recommended and/ or endorsed by Full members.

For the above categories, the key criterion for sustained membership is a member’s ability to demonstrate an active and ongoing commitment to the work of the CTISS.

The Director, in consultation with the advisory board and members, may accept a nomination for individuals to be appointed by the School of Social Science as a Visiting Scholar. Such nominations will normally reflect a specific, major contribution to the CTISS’s strategic aims and objectives, details of which are normally agreed in writing as part of the individual’s formal appointment to admit other individuals to CTISS membership.

Anyone interested in becoming a member or visiting scholar of CTISS should email for details.