About the Multilingual Debate

Heriot-Watt University's Multilingual Debate is an annual event that showcases the interpreting skills of undergraduate students on our Languages (Interpreting and Translating) degree programme, as well as the developing professional skills of postgraduate students on our MSc Interpreting and Translating programmes. The event takes the form of a formal debate with two multilingual teams arguing for and against a motion of topical interest in a range of languages. The teams deliver their views in their various native languages (French, German, Spanish, English, Arabic, Chinese, British Sign Language (BSL)).

The Multilingual Debate stimulates an interest among young people in the international politics and social issues of the modern world whilst also setting language acquisition in a realistic context. The success of this initiative won a European Languages award.  There was such great demand for the Multilingual Debate that Heriot-Watt now runs two debates in order to allow as many participants to attend as possible, and is looking to provide access and participation online also.

The audience is mainly made up of pupils coming from Scottish and English secondary schools, but also university undergraduate students considering entering the interpreting profession, as well as government and local authority representatives. The audiences participated in the debate by listening to the arguments, putting questions to the speakers in the languages represented and voting on the motion. Electronic voting is used and the audience are able to see clear changes in their opinions before the debate compared to after the debate.

Fanny Chouc, coordinator of the Multilingual Debate commented "The Multilingual Debate is a true celebration of linguistic diversity. The enthusiasm with which the audience participates in the debate year after year shows a lively interest in learning languages and understanding different cultures."

Multilingual Debate 2018

The Multilingual Debate 2018 took place on Wednesday 21 March at Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh campus.

Keep in touch with us via Twitter and Instagram using the #MLD2018

Morning session Afternoon session
10.00am, James Watt Centre 1 2.00pm, James Watt Centre 1
This House believes that social media present a serious threat to the health and safety of young people. This House believes that a clear and short timeframe needs to be adopted in order to phase out fossil energies and replace them solely with renewable ones.