11 Aug 2021
by Jan Rausch

How CPD has grown my network and honed my interpreting skills

Jan Rausch MITI explains how he has been making the most of online CPD not just to develop his interpreting skills but to grow his network and benefit his business.

I suppose that saying the last one and a half years provided an unprecedented plethora of online CPD opportunities would be stating the blindingly obvious. Well, I’m going to say it anyway. Like many other interpreters, I have been able to attend major online events such as the ITI Conference, last January’s Terpsummit followed by the Innovation in Interpreting Summit one month later, networking events by VKD and AIIC, demos and tests of new RSI platforms during the pandemic, webinars, panel discussions... And the list goes on.

The benefits of these activities to my business are almost equally obvious: I acquire more skills (and let my clients know about them), network more with colleagues who might end up recommending or booking me for assignments, get invited to speak during online events, which in turn raises my profile. This may sound like narcissistic self-promotion to some but it’s part and parcel of being a successful business I believe. I don’t ‘just want to interpret’, I want to learn, network and promote my services, so CPD activities that aren’t directly linked to interpreting skills are always welcome.

Having said that, I was equally pleased to realise that there is a way of improving my actual interpreting competence online, namely through deliberate practice. At the start of this year, I decided to join one of the interpreters’ practice groups, mainly because it is now much easier as practice sessions have moved online and your location doesn’t really matter any longer.

The group of my choice is called IBPG, which stands for ‘Interpreters in Brussels Practice Group’, but it really has become a virtual group now with members connecting from many different locations. (There are other practice groups such as WISE, PIPS and LIPG from London to name but a few.)

IBPG meets twice a month on Zoom for two-hour sessions, during which a number of speeches are given in a variety of languages by group members. These are speeches for both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. Group members form pairs with the same language combination allowing one of the two to interpret and the other to monitor their partner and provide them with detailed feedback afterwards.

I was lucky enough to find a regular partner with exactly my language combination – also an ITI member incidentally – and we both focus on our shared areas for improvement: long consecutive interpreting and interpreting from French. The sessions have been very helpful and we’re set to continue with them after the summer break.

The IBPG sessions always include a general chat/social session in addition to the interpreting practice as well, which is ideal for further networking. To top it off, I have also been able to take part in two specific training sessions organised by IBGP: one on dealing with numbers in interpreting and one on interpreting with text. I’m sure that fellow interpreters will confirm that you can’t get enough practice in both fields.

Whilst I do hope for a return of on-site events and on-site interpreting jobs once we have a degree of control over the pandemic, I also really wish for at least a big chunk of the wide variety of great CPD content available online to remain exactly there. Virtual events and training sessions are so much easier to fit into our busy lives, especially if you’re not based in a central location like London. I am sure the ITI will continue to offer great virtual content. As a member of the ITI Interpreters’ Development Network, I know there will be many more interesting webinars for interpreters after the summer.

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