• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I have supervised PhD students on a range of topics including legal interpreting, police interpreting, video remote interpreting, conference interpreting, performance interpreting, mental health interpreting, interpreter and translator education, interpreting strategies, deaf professional experiences of working with interpreters, and (applied) sign language linguistics.

I am willing to consider applicants from potential PhD students on any of my research interests and areas of expertise, mostly with a focus on (but not necessarily limited to) sign languages.

The research centre I am affiliated with advertises PhD projects once a year for internally funded full scholarships, otherwise I can consider PhD applications at any time of year if people have other sources of funds or are self-funded. My availability to take on new PhD candidates will depend on how many students I am already supervising and their stage of their candidature. Information on how to apply is available here: https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/study/research/translation-interpreting.htm


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor Jemina Napier is Chair of Intercultural Communication and is currently the Associate Principal for Research Culture & People for Heriot-Watt University. She previously served as the Interim Executive Dean for the School of Social Sciences (August-October 2022), Director of Research for the School of Social Sciences (2019-2022), the Director of the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS)(2018-2021) and Head of the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies (2014-2018).

After completing an MA in BSL/ English Interpreting at Durham University in the UK in 1998, Jemina moved to Australia to undertake her PhD in Linguistics at Macquarie University, which she completed in 2001. She then established the Postgraduate Diploma/Masters programme in Auslan/ English Interpreting in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney in 2002, and subsequently became Head of Translation & Interpreting programmes and Director of the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Research from 2007-2012, where she is now an Adjunct Professor. Jemina took up her Chair position at Heriot-Watt Univeristy in February 2013. She is also a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin and a Fellow of the Acaademy of Social Sciences UK and Corresponding Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2022 she completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality & Society from Birkbeck University London.

Jemina has over 150 publications (books, journal articles and book chapters) and has managed various Australian, UK and European research projects totalling over £5 million worth of funding. She was inaugural Editor of the International Journal of Interpreter Education and remains a member of the editorial board, and serves on the editorial or advisory boards of several other journals and book series. Jemina served as a member of the Expert Committee on Accessibility for the World Federation of the Deaf (2015-2019). She currently represents Heriot-Watt University on several research related boards, including the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities. She is also a member of the British Academy Strategic Committee for Languages in Higher Education.

As well as a world-leading researcher in her field, Jemina is still an interpreter practitioner. She has practiced as a signed language interpreter since 1989, and works between English and British Sign Language (BSL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan) or International Sign. As such she is a Fellow of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (UK) and also of the Chartered Institute of Linguists UK. She is also past President of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association (ASLIA) and was an inaugural board member of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI).

Research interests

Research interests: sign languages, linguistic access, interpreting and translation, linguistic and cultural diversity, linguistic and social inclusion, mediated communication, family language policy, intercultural communication, multilingualism, gender & equality in interpreting and academic professions, equality, diversity & inclusion in the research & innovation system, higher education and leadership

Area of expertise: Mediated communication, including family sign language policy, child (sign) language brokering and professional (sign language) interpreting, accessibility

Research methods expertise: qualitative methods, mixed-methods, focus groups, interviews, creative and visual methods, surveys, community-based participatory research

Disciplinary intersections: Interpreting Studies, Deaf & Sign Language Studies, Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Sociology

Roles & Responsibilities

Chair of Intercultural Communication, HWU

Associate Principal for Research Culture & People, HWU

Deputy PI, UKRI-funded EDI Caucus


Research Group Contact Details

SIGNS@HWU research group

Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies Scotland (primary centre)

Centre for Research on Employment, Work & the Professions (associate centre)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences

2024 → …

Fellow, Australian Academy of Humanities

2021 → …

Fellow, National Institute for Health & Social Care Research


Fellow, Association of Sign Language Interpreters UK

2017 → …


  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • intercultural communication
  • sign language interpreting
  • mediated communication
  • interpreting pedagogy
  • discourse and communication
  • applied linguistics
  • interpreting studies
  • deaf studies
  • family language policy
  • child language brokering


Dive into the research topics where Jemina Napier is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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