The Scottish Network of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting

Summer Workshop 2021 | Translating Scottish Heritage

Summer Workshop 2021 | Translating Scottish Heritage


09:30 - 13:00


Zoom Meeting

Event Type

This year’s summer workshop comprises three components, beginning with an online Saturday morning with a talk and panel discussion, followed by a Saturday afternoon excursion to a local heritage site, and concluding with a sharing of the excursion findings via an online platform and Zoom meeting the following Thursday.


Saturday, 21 August 2021

9.30am Zoom meeting opens
10.00am Presentation by Pauline Côme, University of Strathclyde
11.15am Comfort break
11.45am-12.45pm Panel discussion
1.00pm Finish
pm Excursions in small groups to local heritage site with documentation

Thursday, 26 August 2021

5.00pm Zoom meeting to share excursion findings
6.30pm Finish


Translating Heritage: Implications and Challenges: Pauline Côme

Heritage sites contribute significantly to the circulation of cultural knowledge across linguistic and cultural borders. In this context translation plays an essential role to ensure international visitors can access and understand heritage sites, but heritage translation also brings its own set of challenges.

Based on previous discussions from the ‘Translating Scotland’s Heritage’ research network, on my own research on French translation provision in Scottish heritage sites, and on a pilot project I recently carried out for the Kelpies in Falkirk, I will address some of the key challenges posed by translation in a heritage context: from questions of terminology and genre conventions to issues of cultural mediation, heritage ownership and institutional narratives. I will also discuss some of the additional accessibility issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they might impact translation provision in heritage sites in the medium to long term.

Although my work focuses on the translation of Scottish heritage into French, I am keen to hear from the other speakers and from members of the audience as to whether they believe these challenges are the same across other cultural backgrounds and language pairs.

About the speaker

Pauline Côme is a Doctoral Researcher in Translation Studies at the University of Strathclyde where she previously completed a master’s degree in Business Translation and Interpreting.

Her research project investigates the use and impact of translated materials on French-speaking visitors at Scottish heritage sites. She has worked as an in-house linguist for a Scottish language services provider and continues to work as a freelance translator, specialising in translation for education, heritage and tourism.


Our panel will address practical questions of heritage translation and interpreting. The three panellists have wide-ranging experience with different aspects of heritage translation and will discuss aspects such as the particular challenges the field presents, audience expectations, collaboration and multimedia. They will also answer questions from participants.

Our panellists are:

Katrin Frahm (English to German)

Katrin has been involved in the translation of Scottish heritage texts since 1995. Major projects have included a variety of visitor information leaflets for Historic Environment Scotland, among these for popular sites like Glasgow Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Melrose Abbey and Maeshowe on Orkney. She has particularly enjoyed translating the visitor guide to Mackintosh House for the Hunterian at the University of Glasgow. Katrin is especially interested in the challenges posed by the translation of heritage texts for audio guides and her work in this area has included the audio guide to Abbotsford House and the German version of the City Sightseeing Glasgow Bus Tour.

Norma Tait (English to Portuguese)

Over the years, Norma has worked as a translator on several Scottish heritage projects, including historic sites and museums. She worked on the Visit Scotland brochure, Rosslyn Chapel and Wallace Monument guidebooks, the Glasgow Cathedral leaflet and the Britannia audio guide among others. She has also translated texts for heritage sites outside Scotland, for instance the Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle books and the Wimbledon Museum guide.

Reiko Konagai Inder (English to Japanese)

Reiko’s first heritage translation was the guidebook of the Tomb of the Eagles in Orkney when she was living there in 1989. She was then asked to do a translation for Edinburgh Castle. These initial projects happened by chance, but she found them very rewarding. Since 1999, as well as translating, Reiko has been working as an interpreter and as a qualified tour guide, encountering translations and audio guides in various heritage sites throughout Scotland.

Afternoon session

Following the morning talk and panel discussion on Zoom, the afternoon will take a novel format. Small local groups of translators will undertake excursions to nearby heritage sites in order to study what is there, what English interpretation is available and what foreign language heritage translation (if any) is provided. In the case of translations of heritage material being provided, the group will discuss and document such aspects as how this has been done, whether it is effective for the target audience and any improvements they can suggest. In the case of no heritage translation provision, the group will discuss and document how this could best be done (in the languages represented in the group) and what challenges might arise.

In either case, the group will document their findings, discussion and suggestions in some form to share with the rest of the workshop participants. This sharing will be done on an online platform (details to follow) plus at an optional Zoom gathering on Thursday 26 August, 5-6.30pm.

Documentation can be in the form of a short (informal) video, a small presentation with a few slides with photos and bullet points, etc.


Organising the afternoon session will be mainly the responsibility of the local group, but the groups will be set up by the Committee in advance and a group “leader” selected.

This requires us to register for the summer workshop as soon as possible, but by mid-July at the latest. When we know the geographical spread of the participants, we can organise groups, preferably on the basis of Council areas (to avoid any potential issues with travel restrictions). Obviously, Edinburgh and maybe Glasgow will have the largest number of participants, but other centres e.g. Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Ayrshire, the Central Belt, can also gather in small groups – even a group of two can have a discussion. In the most remote areas, individuals can choose to do this excursion by themselves and make a “group” of one.

Our rationale behind this is that a) we do not want to offer a whole-day workshop on Zoom; b) we want to facilitate something that will be possible whatever the current Covid regulations at the time; and c) we want to use the chance to meet up to the extent that regulations permit.

The registration form asks for extra information, specifically with regard to this afternoon session. So, please reply to all the questions on whether you will attend an excursion; what Council area you live in; whether you are willing to lead a group i.e. research a suitable site to visit, investigate/arrange transport, liaise with other group members. We will be relying on these “local leaders” for the success of the workshop so, if you have any suggestions for a suitable attraction in your area and would be happy to coordinate a small group, please do consider contributing. Please also state whether you will attend the follow-up Zoom sharing event. Each group will need to choose one person to put their findings onto the online platform and if possible report/share at the Thursday Zoom.


Membership status Saturday Workshop Saturday Excursion Thursday Zoom
ScotNet members Free Dependent on site visited and transport costs Free
ITI (non ScotNet) members: £10 Free
Non-members: £15 Free
Students: Free Free


To register, please head over to Zoom. Payment should be made directly to the ITI Scottish Network:

click to reveal bank account details

ITI Scottish Network
Bank of Scotland
Sort code: 80-02-83
Account: 00298915
Please put your name as reference

Your registration for the Saturday meeting will be approved once we have confirmed payment and/or membership status. Details for joining the Thursday evening Zoom meeting will be provided after the Saturday meeting.

Image credits on this page

Photograph of The Kelpies: image by – photoeverywhere

Photograph of Abbotsford House: Karin Bosshard