This year our Interpreting and Translating Undergraduate students had the opportunity to become a volunteer interpreter for International travel trade professionals courtesy of VisitScotland. VisitScotland is Scotlands national tourist board and holds events such as EXPO to provide a platform for the international travel trade to meet with the tourism operators and visitor attractions based here in Scotland. This year, EXPO was held in the SEC Glasgow on 10th and 11th April 2019. EXPO hosted over 550 international tour operators, meeting with 270 Scottish suppliers. Our students were invited to assist with the Chinese delegates many of which spoke limited English.
The Chinese delegates had scheduled one-to-one appointments during the two days, each appointment was 15 minutes. Our Heriot-Watt volunteer interpreting students supported the Chinese delegates – each assigned an individual travel trade professional to assist for the full two days. This opportunity was unique as it meant our interpreting students had to understand travel technical language and translate negotiation scenarios. The VisitScotland team ensured that our students were fully briefed on the topics and specifics of each appointment.
One of our students Jinnuo Pan tells us about the experience;
“EXPO is an international event where I met travel buyers from all over the world. The event allowed them to gain a better understanding of travel business here in Scotland. There is no doubt to me that attending this event helped me a lot. Firstly, EXPO was a big and formal event, so I was exposed to the pressure this entails. It was good practice as an interpreter to have to deal with pressure like this frequently. Secondly, during the interpreting process, I faced challenges that had been discussed in the classroom environment but that I hadn’t faced before, so I could use the theoretical knowledge learnt to solve them. In addition, during the event, I worked for a new client, so I had to be mindful of my words and professionalism. This feeling is totally different from the simulated practice in class at Heriot-Watt. In conclusion, it is very helpful and I learnt a lot from it”.
Yingzhi Forsyth another of our students shared her feelings of EXPO:
“I feel that this event was very meaningful and interesting. I got to know so many places that I had never heard of before. The long history of Scotland and it’s spectacular heritage, such as the castles, the monuments, whisky, golf, food and entertainment, etc. and that doesn’t include everything! Expo not only brings great business opportunities to Scotland but also allows people from other countries to have a deeper understanding of Scotland’s culture. For myself, because I am studying Interpreting and Translating, I benefited immeasurably. I not only exercised oral English but also increased my vocabulary and expanded my Scottish knowledge. It was a precious opportunity from any perspective!
If this post has inspired you to study Interpreting and Translating with us and be given the opportunity to get involved with opportunities such as these then find out more about our Postgraduate Interpreting programmes here: