Being accountable to someone can help to ensure you achieve results. Agata McCrindle and Kate Sotejeff-Wilson explain how they peer-mentor each other through their CPD.
ITI has a very broad definition of CPD, so it’s easy to clock up the hours. But we only started planning and reviewing it properly last summer, when we decided to do it together. (Agata coordinates the ITI Polish Network and Kate is her deputy.) We came up with the idea of peer mentoring to make sure we planned our CPD properly.
We found that the easiest way to do it was to discuss it once a quarter. It is not too often but it’s often enough. We meet for an hour on Zoom, look at what we did in the last three months, compare it with what we had planned, and plan for the next quarter. We try to take half an hour each, with one of us asking the other what she did and what she needs to work on more. It doesn’t take long, and having a meeting makes sure we log and plan our CPD properly. Neither of us would be as likely to review our CPD so thoroughly if someone else wasn’t going to check.
Focusing on different areas for our specialisms
Kate: Social reading in my source and target languages, discussing the books, and writing about them is central to my CPD. I read constantly, but I wouldn’t read as much outside my comfort zone without book clubs. Now I do reader reports for New Books in German and sample translations for Finnish literary agents.
Agata: In my CPD plan I focus on developing my specialisms. I use Polish course providers for developing my revision and editing skills in my native language, as some of my clients commission me exclusively for revision, moderation or assessments. I also expand my legal translation specialism by completing courses on different legal systems.
Benefits for both our CPD and for us personally
Agata: I have been logging my CPD for years, but I felt that I needed to reflect more on my development and give it a direction. I coordinate mentoring in the ITI Polish Network and provide business mentoring myself, and it occurred to me that colleagues often have similar business experience, which allows us to share our goals and support each other. I find that my partnership with Kate boosts my motivation and commitment to CPD. I am exposed to more information and ideas (two heads are better than one), which helps with planning my CPD to enable career growth. It also enhances my confidence in what I am doing.
There is a sense of friendly accountability for the goals we’ve set. Having regular catch-ups and knowing what each of us is doing, for example what specialism we work on, increases the chance of referrals and expands our professional network
Kate: Mentoring is wonderful – as mentors we both learn so much from our mentees – but this is the first time either of us has tried peer mentoring. It creates mutual accountability, rather in the same way that a revision club does. Meeting regularly with your peers keeps you focused outside those meetings. For the last three years I have been in the Group Translation Chats accountability group; we check in weekly online to see what CPD we have done in the past week. But meeting with Agata has helped me think more long term and strategically about what I want to do.
At this stage in our careers, we hope we can create CPD space for our colleagues through the networks we help to run. Our quarterly check-ins have become really important for me to stop and think through questions like ‘What do I need to do less?’ and ‘What do I want to do more?’ Try it! Choose something you want to develop, find one person to talk about it with, and feel the benefits for your CPD too.
This article first appeared in the May-June 2023 edition of ITI Bulletin.