in profession, regulation

CPD: Avoiding the Expense

In the previous post the importance of CPD was discussed and it was alluded to that they were many other types of CPD not just the high expense, potential low value, sometimes dubious quality training courses. There are of course quality training courses led by experienced trainers who have had years of interpreting experience or for relevant subjects that cover important topics for interpreters and have high value.
It should also be noted that going on a training course about a specific domain such as police work does not automatically mean one is ready to start interpreting at the police station. The level of skill is important and asking for feedback from an experienced peer will give you a better barometer of readiness.
There exists a plethora of inexpensive or alternative ways of collecting and proving your CPD. Most interpreters are aware of these but here follows a small selection:
a) Self-reflective practice – keep a journal on your professional practice. Note down patterns, possible weaknesses or areas for improvement. There used to be a phrase: if you think you’ve stopped learning it’s time to get out. As interpreters we never stop.
b) Study – read some articles on a particular subject and write up what you have learnt. Material never runs out with new research published continuously.
c) Take part in an interpreters’ meetings – either present, attend or, again, write up what you have learnt. This could be an ASLI meeting, peer-to-peer supervision, informal meetings with other interpreters discussing subjects of choice. It is simply about your learning and keeping a record as evidence.
d) Attend a conference – or even deliver a paper or a training course.
e) Attend the Deaf club or a different Deaf event such as a BSL gallery talk, a Healthy Deaf Minds or an Our Space meeting. Or something similar in your area.
f) Volunteer – to do some interpreting, give time to ASLI or the Deaf community for a specific task of interest to you. Campaign work and raising awareness is hot on the agenda with budget cuts affecting everyone.
g) Write – a blogpost, a paper, an article.
h) Mentoring – get a mentor or mentor someone if you are trained to do so.
i) Supervision – slightly different from mentoring in that there is more of a focus on discussion of issues that arise form work.
j) Record yourself interpreting – whether at home or on a live assignment. You can record yourself then watch it back to see if you can pick out anything in particular. After we finish our training we stop doing this as much as we should. Go one step further and do some analysis using some of the tools available such as Cokely’s miscue analysis or use another tool.
k) Use the Internet – to keep up with news, learn new signs, another sign language or brush up on International Sign skills. YouTube is obviously a great resource. There are some existing websites aimed at CPD such as PD4Me and eCPD webinars, some of which may apply to SLIs.
l) Watch someone else interpret – and make notes on your learning. BBC news or Sign Zone can be useful.
m) Learn or research possible different ways of interpreting concepts or phrases. Watching Deaf translators interpret from a script can be insightful and can provide us with more economical ways to interpret a concept or a different way of representing something more visually.
n) Watch or participate in an e-learning seminar which, in comparison to training courses, are often cheaper and sometimes free.
o) BSL coaching – improve your BSL skills by working one-to-one with a coach.
p) Research a new domain and shadow an interpreter working to gain the necessary skills before you start to interpret in the new setting.
There are many more suggestions and the above categories could be infinitely expanded upon.
Some activites can also cover different types of CPD. For example, volunteer to interpret (points), for a talk for which you have to prepare (points), that you can record and use to complete a further analysis (points), and discuss with collegues (points) or use in supervision or mentoring (again, points).
Really the only limit is your imagination so you can steer clear of expensive CPD if you wish. Please leave a comment if you have more ideas to access free or cheaper resources or ways to collect CPD.

  1. I would recommend reading something like Jostrans or a similar academic journal. Also, something as simple as your suggestion of keeping a diary of practice is a great start.

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