Quick navigation

Main navigation

Interpreting Studies

«Interpreting encompasses topics that are relevant to our society, such as mutual understanding within migration contexts or the global spread of English as a lingua franca – but also considers, for instance, how consciousness comes into play.»

Prof. Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Professor of Interpreting Studies

Interpreting Studies is an interdisciplinary area of research in applied linguistics which comprises both the theory and professional practice of interpreter-aided multilingual communication. Research and activities in Interpreting Studies at the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (IUED) span teaching, professional practice and research in both interpreting sub-disciplines: conference interpreting and public service interpreting.


Research in Interpreting Studies at the ZHAW focuses on

  • applying psycholinguistic text processing and bilingualism research to the description and analysis of interpreting processes
  • conducting empirical research into the acquisition and cultivation of interpreting skills
  • investigating the effects of the global spread of English as a lingua franca (ELF) on interpreting both as an activity shaped by situated cognition and as a profession
  • developing profiles and requirement criteria for interpreters working in courts, with the communal authorities and in hospitals
  • drawing upon research results to develop a didactic concept for interpreter training.


    Our teaching takes its cue from research. The BA in Applied Languages, the MA in Applied Linguistics (Specialisation in Conference Interpreting) and Bachelor's and Master's theses all feature research topics in the area of Interpreting Studies. In addition, we collaborate with the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education (HfH) in their degree course in Sign Language Interpreting. Lessons and modules comprise lectures, seminars and courses in the following areas in particular:

      • Introduction to interpreting theory and professional practice
      • Current topics in Interpreting Studies
      • Translation theories
      • Multilingual contexts – English as a lingua franca
      • Scientific theory: the cognitive constructivism research paradigm
      • Bilingualism and translation.

      A special feature of the programme is the Applied Linguistics project module. In this, an event (open to the public) is simulated which involves all three Master's specialisations (Conference Interpreting, Professional Translation and Organisational Communication). After the event, students reflect on their experience in a scientifically grounded manner.

      Modules vary from semester to semester and are published in a course directory.

      Specialisation in Conference Interpreting

      Continuing education

      We offer a preparatory training course called the "Dolmetsch-Propädeutikum" designed to prepare students for the practical parts of the entrance examinations for the Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics with a Specialisation in Conference Interpreting. The course teaches basic interpreting techniques and methods, as well as background knowledge, a crucial prerequisite to interpreting.
      Upon request, we offer interpreting classes to certified conference interpreters with work experience wishing to add a language combination to their repertoire. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Head of the Specialisation.


      Our continuing education programmes, collaboration partnerships and research have provided us with extensive expertise in community interpreting, forming the basis for our services and consultations. Our expertise stems from:

      • a continuing education programme in public service, court and hospital interpreting initiated by Gertrud Hofer, who was Head of the programme for ten years
      • our long-standing collaboration with the High Court (Obergericht) of the Canton of Zurich developing court interpreting qualifications
      • project analyses conducted in cooperation with Swiss hospitals for the continuing education and training of hospital interpreters and medical staff.