Multilingual debate sets tongues wagging about success

This year's Multilingual debate run by Heriot-Watt University has been heralded a major success after more than 750 people attended.

The event highlighted the range of employability initiatives on offer at the University and focused on showcasing the professional skills gained by students as part of their degree courses, which enable them to enter the jobs market straight away - often securing employment within their chosen field in a short space of time.

Guest speakers included the Chinese Consul, whose attendance reflected the growing relationship between the University and China, supported by the China Strategy and CSCSE partners as Heriot-Watt seeks to further its links overseas.

The event was deemed particularly relevant this year as financial costs v employability prospects of a university degree have continued to draw attention and be debated. The launch of the new BSL degree course will at long last help support the growing demand for interpreters and translators in Scotland and offer students the opportunity to use their skills to gain work experience as part of their studies.


The event was streamed live online this year for the first time. A specific online interface was created for the streaming  with the live stream of the event undertaken in collaboration with Education Scotland who supported us greatly in the technological requirements of streaming.

Participants were required to log in to the site where they could view the main video stream from the floor as well as view the BSL interpreting (pop-out window). Alongside this they could listen into audio feeds from each of the 3 interpreting booths. They were also able to participate in a pre-debate and post-debate online poll, just as the audience attending the event do.

International participants in the streaming were from , Paris, Poznan (Poland), Rotterdam, Murmansk in Russia (its in the Arctic Circle).
UK participants - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Havering, Ealing, Islington, Manchester, Clevedon, Wandsworth, and Cambridge.

We also ran a specific Twitter feed @hwu_mld for event amplification purposes and had questions put to the floor during the Q&A session from both participants in the online stream, as well as those on Twitter.

The streaming was hugely successful and we will be looking to build on this for next year and really push for UK and international audiences on this.

Motions and results

Morning debate

'The house believes that if the Euro fails, Europe will turn into a global backwater'

  • 57% for 43% against (pre-debate vote at event)
  • 54% for 46% against (post-debate vote at event)

Afternoon debate

'The house believes that the spread of Globish (Global English) will enhance inter-cultural communication'

  • 54% for 46% against (pre-debate vote at event)
  • 13% for 87% against (post-debate vote at event)

2013 event

The Multilingual Debates for 2013 will take place on Wednesday 13th March 2013.