Lecturer in BSL/English Interpreting


Tel: 0131 474 0000

I am a registered British Sign Language/English interpreter with over 23 years of experience of work in a wide variety of domains but with particular experience of medical, educational/academic and workplace interpreting.

  • Overview
  • Research Interests
  • Research Publications
  • Teaching & Learning

I completed my PhD in 2015 which, like my initial interpreter training, was studied through the University of Bristol.My doctoral research was a qualitative study exploring how BSL/English interpreters recognise and reflect im/polite language from BSL into spoken English, including the various influences that impact on choice of interpreting strategy. 

My research has also included study of the way im/politeness is conveyed in British Sign Language.Before training as an interpreter I had extensive experience of course administration, including programme management of an open-learning MBA within a private sector/HE partnership. 

I joined the staff at Queen Margaret University in September 2016 in order to develop the Masters modules on advanced BSL/English interpreting. I work part-time at the University alongside my continuing professional practice as a self-employed interpreter.

My doctoral thesis titled ‘Interpreting linguistic politeness from British Sign Language to English’ was completed in 2015.   This was a qualitative study that included a preliminary study of what might be considered ‘polite’ in British Sign Language, followed by the main research which involved a series of semi-structured group interviews with highly experienced BSL/English interpreters to explore how they reflect im/politeness when working into English.

Active research interests:

Pragmatics, im/politeness, BSL/English interpreting, multimodal im/politeness

Research methods:

Qualitative semi-structured interviews, discourse analysis, thematic analysis


Please see my research publications in eResearch – Queen Margaret University’s repository

Rachel's teachings focus on theory and practice of interpreting, interpreting in healthcare settings, interpreting in justice settings and interpreting in arts & culture settings, amongst other topics.