Being a Successful Interpreter

by Jonathan Downie

When it comes to opportunities to improve their skills, interpreters are spoilt for choice, right? We can work on simultaneous, consecutive, note-taking, er, hold on, that’s about it. Traditionally, and understandably, we tend to stop at skills training.

Skills training is good but it is becoming increasingly obvious that we need much more than good note-taking or control of synonyms. Interpreters of all stripes need to know how to sell their services, plan their career, present the right image and much more. In fact, unless you have a nice staff job, your work away from an assignment is as important as your work during it.

If your interpreting skills are poor, you won’t get more work. If your business, personal and planning skills are poor, you won’t get any work at all!

And then there is the whole question of burnout. How can we survive the ritual of research, travel, invoicing, admin, that comes inevitably with the job of being an interpreter, let alone the need to keep our family and friend relationships healthy?

Those are the kinds of questions that have been constantly in my mind as I spent 5 years of my life getting a PhD in expectations of interpreters. While my own research focus was on one small area, I have had the privilege of meeting and learning from experts in a wide variety of areas. From deliberate practice to perceptions of interpreters, from nutrition to decision-making, it has been an exciting and sometimes troubling ride.

Most of the results of that work were poured into my upcoming book: Being a Successful Interpreter: Adding Value and Delivering Excellence. Surprisingly, it turned out that the majority of the experts I was meeting were basically saying the same thing: successful interpreters add value to their clients, to their profession, and to themselves. And this was the true whether I interviewed experienced professionals like Esther Navarro-Hall and Judy & Dagmar Jenner or leading researchers like Prof Ebru Diriker and Dr Elisabet Tiselius.

Books are great, especially when they come with guides as to how to apply what you are learning. Their only disadvantage is that they are devoured alone. Imagine what it would be like if we could take the material from the book: the strong messages on adding value, the challenges to develop our skills strategically, and yes, all the lessons I learned from wiser people than me; but could discuss, dissect and apply them in a room together.

I thought that might be a good idea and, thankfully, a few people from Heriot-Watt University thought so too. So, on June 2nd, we will have the inaugural Being a Successful Interpreter course. This is a one-day interactive event that will being interpreters of all kinds together in one room, to learn together how we can build sustainable careers that suit our own skills and lifestyles, better understand the thought-processes of our clients, develop our skills strategically and build supportive communities.

Why bother being in the same room? Why not just do a set of webinars?

Well, for one, I have stopped believing that the traditional “I talk; you listen” mode of teaching actually works. Instead, the emphasis will be on learning and discussing together. There will be places where we look in detail at specific ideas from the book but we will mostly spend time discussing together how to apply them. There will even be space to sit and reflect on your own work, your own trajectory and your own decisions.

The emphasis will be in applying what researchers, experts and leaders have been saying and doing so in a way that makes sense to each of us.

There are two tiny catches. Tickets are limited. There is only space for 20 people in the room. And tickets are only on sale until 20th May. So, if you are looking to give your career a boost, plan for the future, or adjust to the ongoing changes in our profession, this is your chance. See you on the 2nd!

Just in case you missed it, you can get more info and buy tickets by clicking the name of the course at the end of this sentence: Being a Successful Interpreter.

 

 

BALEAP TEAP Portfolio accreditation for LINCS colleague

by Olwyn Alexander

Our colleague Alistair Frame, who is employed on a temporary contract in the English Section, has just successfully completed a BALEAP TEAP Portfolio accreditation to become an Associate Fellow of BALEAP.

BALEAP is the global forum for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) professionals. It is a professional organisation which provides accreditation for courses and individuals involved in the delivery of English for Academic Purposes courses. BALEAP accredited the Pre-sessional courses at Heriot-Watt in 2014.

The accreditation of individuals is a relatively new development, which involves the EAP teacher in compiling a portfolio of evidence related to the BALEAP Competency Framework for teachers of EAP and writing a personal narrative to link the evidence to the criteria. The award has been mapped to the HEA Professional Standards Framework and several BALEAP Senior Fellows are also now Senior Fellows of the HEA. The first cohort of Senior Fellows, who piloted the scheme, were awarded their accreditation in January 2015 when Olwyn Alexander was successful in becoming a Senior Fellow of BALEAP and TEAP Mentor and Assessor.

This award enabled the English Section to offer temporary teachers on the Pre-sessional courses CPD support to begin compiling their portfolios. Alistair’s is the first successful award from that process.

Congratulations Alistair!

 

Lost in Trados?

Look no further.

This year we are organising a CAT Tools Series as part of our CPD Programmes, starting with Trados Studio 2015.

The 1-day Beginners Course takes place on April 5th and the 1-day Advanced Course takes place on April 22nd. Register now as places are limited!

For more information on all our spring courses, please click here.

And don’t forget our Applied English and Interpreting Summer School!

 

New CPD courses in LINCS!

We are really excited to announce two new CPD courses in LINCS. In addition to the already successful Easter and Summer Schools in Interpreting, we are now offering a 1-day training workshop on Interpreters and Translators as Entrepreneurs in March and a CAT Tools series in April.

This year’s Easter School comprises 1 week of Introduction to Interpreting and 1 week of Intensive Interpreting Practice .

Please note that the above courses only cover spoken languages. Watch this space for CPD courses on Interpreting Practice in signed languages.

But don’t stop reading yet, SLIs! The 1-day workshop on Interpreters and Translators as Entrepreneurs applies to all interpreting professionals and it is led by Sue Leschen, who is a member of numerous professional organisations including the Regulatory Board for Sign Language Interpreters and Translators (RBSLI).

Last but certainly not least, we are pleased to announce our CAT Tools Series, starting with Trados Studio 2015. The 1-day Beginners Course takes place on April 5th and the 1-day Advanced Course takes place on April 22nd.

For more information on all our spring courses, please click here. And don’t forget our Applied English and Interpreting Summer School!

Apply now for an Early Bird Discount!