Heriot-Watt University ranked as the Number 1 University in Scotland for Modern Languages in the National Student Survey 2018. We also gained the highest ranking in Scotland for employability from Modern Languages in the Guardian University Rankings 2019.

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Languages at Heriot-Watt University - 1st in Scotland

At Heriot-Watt University we don’t just teach languages, we teach languages for a purpose.

For over 40 years we have produced graduates with the highest professional standards, specialising in the areas of interpreting, translation, teaching and international business.

Our reputation is reflected in this year’s university league tables.

We are ranked Number 1 in Scotland in the National Student Survey 2018 after achieving the highest rating for Overall Student Satisfaction, and in the Guardian University League Tables 2019, we achieved the Number 1 ranking in Scotland for Employability from Modern Languages Degrees.

We teach in French, German, Spanish, British Sign Language and Chinese and offer a suite of career focused degrees which can be tailored to the individual skills and interests of each student. Globally recognised academics and practicing professionals with years of experience deliver our teaching and our Edinburgh campus is home to state-of-the-art interpreting and translating labs, with more booths than any other higher education institution in Europe. 

Accreditation and recognition

Highlighting our professional ethos, we’ve been chosen as an official Higher Education Partner for the Chartered Institute of Linguists - a professional body that maintains the highest standards for practicing interpreters and translators. We are also founding members of CIUIT, the world’s oldest and most prestigious international association of universities who train interpreters and translators. As a CIUTI member university, our graduates are recognised by industry and international organisations such as the European Parliament and the United Nations.

Launch a global career with international experience

Studying languages can open up a world of possibilities for your career. Our alumni work in every corner of the globe, as freelancers or with international organisations, NGOs and multinational corporations.

With small class sizes we build a tightknit community between students and staff and maintain close ties with our graduates as they launch their careers. We invite graduates back each year to share invaluable advice at specialist career events, offering our current students excellent networking opportunities.

On each of our degrees you will have the chance to study Year 3 abroad on 1 or 2 Erasmus Placements, studying at one of our partner universities immersed in your chosen language and culture. 

On BSL you will spend Year 3 on a work placement in the BSL community. 


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    Teaching and assessment

    Teaching facilities include:

    • three state-of-the-art interpreting laboratories equipped for simultaneous interpreting
    • three further digital language laboratories
    • audio-visual self-study facilities
    • a Virtual Learning Environment accessible on or off Campus.

    Our language practice and interpreting classes are small and interactive.

    Professional recognition and exemptions

    Our BSL course is accredited and graduates can register with the UK and Scottish sign language interpreting bodies NRCPD and SASLI. We are one of only four UK members recognised by CIUTI, the International Permanent Conference of University Institutes of Translators and Interpreters. We are also a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), the UK-based professional association of interpreters and translators.