Karin Bosshard

Teaching Fellow in Translation Studies


Karin is a Teaching Fellow in Translation Studies. Her current teaching focuses on translation technology as well as different aspects of translation theory and literary translation. 

After completing a BA in Multilingual Communication/Translation at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Karin moved to Scotland in 2010 where she studied for an MSc in Translation at Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh. Before starting her doctoral research, Karin worked as a professional translator for a number of years. 

Karin obtained a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 2023. In her PhD research, she explored literary heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish prose fiction and its translation from theoretical and practical perspectives.  

Karin is an Associate Fellow of AdvanceHE (AFHEA). 


BA Multilingual Communication/Translation, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (2009)

MSc Translation and Computer-Assisted Translation Tools, Heriot-Watt University (2011)

PhD Translation Studies, University of Edinburgh (2023)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Qualified Member (MITI) of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), member of ITI Scottish Network 
  • Member of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST)

Postgraduate teaching

In the academic year 2023/24 I am teaching as part of the following courses:

  • Technology and Translation in the Workplace (course organiser) 
  • Translation and Creativity 
  • Research in Translation Studies (course organiser)
  • Translation Studies 1 and 2 
  • Gender and Translation
  • Thinking Translation (UG)

Previous teaching responsibilities (2018-2022):

  • Technology and Translation in the Workplace 

  • Research in Translation Studies 

  • Translation Studies 1 and 2 

  • Translation & Creativity 

  • Thinking Translation (UG)

Research summary

Karin’s doctoral research focused on literary translation and on ways in which translation theory and practice inform each other. Employing the novel "A Book of Death and Fish" (2014) by Hebridean writer Ian Stephen as a case in point, she investigated linguistic variation through the prism of literary stylistics, sociolinguistics and translation studies.

In her thesis, she suggests a model for reconstructing the heteroglot nature of Stephen’s novel – written in an idiosyncratic blend of Scottish English, Hebridean dialect, Scots and Gaelic – and then tests the model by translating an extended extract into German. Through an iterative practice-based methodology, her thesis challenges current theoretical positions on the translation of linguistic varieties: firstly that linguistic variation, in particular when caused by regional dialects, is a “problem” in translation and secondly that using geographical target language varieties is not a workable translation approach. By applying the translation model to a real case, Karin’s thesis also sheds new light on the role of the translator-researcher and the function of translation practice as a research tool. 

Current research interests

Contemporary Scottish literature in translation, translation of linguistic variation, Bakhtin's heteroglossia and translation, interactions between translation theory and translation practice, translation as a creative practice, stylistics and translation

Papers delivered

"Translating linguistic variation in contemporary Scottish fiction – ​a practice-based PhD project". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2016/17, University of Edinburgh, 15 February 2017.

"Applying Antoine Berman’s “Analytic of Translation” to translating linguistic variation in contemporary Scottish fiction". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2018/19, University of Edinburgh, 16 January 2019.

"Translating heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish fiction – a Bakhtinian perspective". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2019/20, University of Edinburgh, 5 February 2020.

"Dialect in contemporary Scottish fiction in translation – enabling fluidity and disrupting the flow". Paper delivered at the Postgraduate Conference in Translation Studies and Comparative Literature (University of Glasgow) "Fluidity", 13 May 2020, online.

"A Stornoway cove and a Broch quine – thoughts on regional voices, identity and attitudes to language in Ian Stephen’s A Book of Death and Fish". Presentation as part of the Language in Context seminar series (University of Edinburgh School of Philosophy, Psychology and Languages Sciences – Linguistics and English Language). 23 October 2020, online.

"Literary dialect as a constraint and creative opportunity - thoughts on translating north-east Scots into German". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2020/21. University of Edinburgh, 10 March 2021, online.

“A stroll down the hoil for a fry of mogs and skeds” – the Stornoway voices of Ian Stephen’s 'A Book of Death and Fish' in German translation”. Presentation as part of the Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster (FRLSU) Conference, Munich. online 28-30 October 2021.     

“Translating heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish fiction – exploring dialect-to-dialect translation”. Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2021/22. University of Edinburgh, 10 November 2021, online. 

“Translating heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish fiction – exploring the use of target language dialects as a translation strategy”. Presentation as part of the 2022/23 seminar series of the research network Translating Minority Voices (University of Toulouse, Sorbonne Nouvelle), 16 February 2023, online.  

Karin has worked as a professional translator (English/French to German) since 2011, primarily in the fields of marketing, media and tourism. She has also translated two genre novels and a number of shorter literary texts. 

Most recent published translation: 

"Über Hummer reden" (Das Narr 31, Basel, April 2021). Translation into German of "Talking about Lobsters" by Victoria MacKenzie (New Writing Scotland 34, ASLS, Glasgow, 2016)