British Sign Language Summer School

Course Details 

Date: 25-29 August 2023

Location: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh campus 

Course Coordinator:  Dr Robert Skinner  

Course description 

This continuing professional development (CPD) course is aimed at English and British Sign Language interpreters it is Leadership training for Conference and High-Level Management (CaHLM) Interpreting. The course aims to develop advanced conference and high-level management interpreting skills to better represent those in leadership or senior-level positions. The course focuses on developing transferable English and British Sign Language (BSL) communication skills appropriate for conference and leadership positions.  

The leadership course will develop the learner’s knowledge of:

  • Public communication strategies in English and British Sign Language 
  • Leadership communication strategies in English and BSL 
  • CaHLM interpreting skills  

Upon successful completion of this qualification, the learner will be able to use this knowledge to interpret efficiently and effectively across CaHLM positions.   

The CaHLM training is a hybrid CPD programme and structured in two parts. In order to complete this qualification, candidates must successfully complete both Part 1 and Part 2 assessments.   

Block 1: Pre-recorded online video sessions, summative assessments, and self-led activities/assignments (1 day) 

Block 2: On-campus sessions (4 days), with a focus on developing technical leadership and interpreting skills. 

Part 1: Theories and principles of leadership and public communication strategies

The first CPD block is an online and remote learning programme with mentoring support from HWU staff, summative assessments and essay writing. The goal of the first block is to develop transferable leadership communication strategies.  

Drawing on knowledge from the Edinburgh Business School, the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt and the charity sector, pre-recorded lessons will cover the following themes: 

  • Understanding public relations/communication strategies  
  • Networking techniques 
  • Retelling public statements 
  • Understanding the Academic, NGO and charity sectors 
  • Preparing and delivering a public presentation 

Learning outcomes 

  • Understanding the principles of public communication and public relations 
  • Understanding networking techniques 
  • Learning how to draft and prepare public statements 
  • Learning how to draft a policy document 
  • Understanding the requirements of the NGO and Academic sectors 
  • Preparing for CaHLM interpreting assignments 

Candidates must successfully complete part 1 before moving on to part 2. 

Part 2: Undertaking and delivering public communication activities and undertaking CaHLM interpreting assignments 

The second CPD block consists of on-campus training that covers the practical and transferable skills required for CaHLM interpreting.  

Learning outcomes

  • Competently and professionally deliver a presentation in English and BSL 
  • Competently and professionally interpret in CaHLM settings 
  • Work effectively as part of a team of professional interpreters in CaHLM settings 
  • Use technology effectively to perform remote interpreting assignments in CaHLM settings 


This qualification is suitable for those who already hold a Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting or equivalent and who are either currently working as, or are aspiring towards a career as, a professional Conference Interpreter. 

At the end of the qualification candidates will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of public and policy communication; 
  • Demonstrate their ability to deliver leadership communication skills  
  • Demonstrate their ability to carry out a range of CaHLM assignments to a safe and advanced professional standard
  • Demonstrate their ability to work as part of a team across a range of CaHLM assignments to a safe and advanced professional standard

Essential requirements 

Candidates must: 

Hold a Signature Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting or equivalent qualification; and 

Have a minimum of two years post-qualification experience; and have a minimum of 1000 hours of post-qualification interpreting experience which includes at least 200 hours of conference interpreting. 

This course is not suitable for beginners with less than 2 years of work experience. If you are unsure if this course is suitable for you or need to discuss the course aims and objectives with the course leader before enrolling, please contact the course leader, Dr Robert Skinner - 

For general enquiries, contact Dr Khadidja Merakchi at  


Accommodation on campus is available at a discounted rate.  

Option 1: Guest house  

  • £50 single occupancy per night
  • £65 double occupancy per night

Option 2: Courtyard by Marriott (situated inside the campus, a 5-minute walk from the Summer School venue):  

  • £89.00 Bed & Breakfast, single occupancy per night
  • £99.00 Bed & Breakfast, double occupancy per night

Please email your chosen option and number of nights to  

Cancellation policy:  

The course fee will be fully refunded if you cannot travel due to Covid or Covid-related restrictions