My CPD story - Andrea Alvisi

In a series of CPD interviews with ITI members at different stages of their careers, we talk to Italian translator and interpreter Andrea Alvisi.

How do you plan your CPD to cover both areas of your work?

CPD opportunities for interpreters are harder to come by, so I tend to prioritise those. Peak seasons, other work commitments and my private life are also key considerations in planning my CPD on a weekly basis.

What different types of CPD do you undertake?

Although there are still fewer opportunities for interpreters, things have changed over the last few years, and many associations, groups and individuals are spearheading a true revolution. For example, ITI’s Interpreters’ Development Network (IDN) organises very interesting webinars; and the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) holds regular CPD events for conference interpreters and interpreting trainers.

Every CPD activity should leave a mark on you, whether it's a new or improved skill, new knowledge or a broader and more innovative approach to tackling specific issues

Andrea Alvisi

For a practising conference interpreter, longer courses are often not suitable. In the past I have tried, and miserably failed, to commit to very long training courses. Of course you can often catch up by watching recorded sessions, but in practice that doesn’t always work out. Personally, when I’m doing a lot of travelling I use my downtime to prepare, catch up on the news, answer emails or just relax. So shorter, practical and very targeted CPD events are great, as I can fit them around my busy schedule. The only exceptions are the (usually) quieter summer months, when I tend to commit to longer training sessions.

Do you log your CPD, and if so, how and why?

I don’t tend to log practice sessions with colleagues as I consider them part of my weekly activities. I use the ITI CPD log for ‘formal’ CPD such as courses and webinars. I have listed some of my courses on LinkedIn and on my CV, too.

What kinds of CPD have benefited your skills and your work the most?

I’m a very practical person. Over the years I have attended multiple editions of Workshop for Interpreting Skills Exchange (WISE), a week-long practice session where you hone your consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills in the company of like-minded and supportive colleagues. I drew inspiration from that and from the Interpreters in Brussels Practice Group (IBPG) and set up Leeds EN IT, a similar week-long practice session focusing on English and Italian. On top of this, I already regularly practise with colleagues throughout the year.

As well as working on my languages (I have added Bulgarian from scratch), I often look to other professional associations for inspiration and have found that AIIC, Assointerpreti and the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters (AITI) have very interesting CPD opportunities.

Volunteering my translation and interpreting services also helps me to keep in tip-top shape – and meet lovely new colleagues. In addition, I have completed dummy booth placements at large international organisations, attended a more business-oriented course for interpreters, and followed MOOCs on specific subjects.

When it comes to translation, I tend to prefer CPD events with a strong focus on CAT tools, translation workshops/slams or specialised terminology.

What makes a CPD activity truly worthwhile for you?

Every CPD activity should leave a mark on you, whether it’s a new or improved skill, new knowledge or a broader and more innovative approach to tackling specific issues. Sadly, I find a lot of opportunities out there fail to hit the mark by being too general and irrelevant. Excellent and truly knowledgeable speakers also make a difference, of course, as do other participants.

How many hours of CPD do you do in a typical year?

I usually exceed the ITI threshold by a fair amount, especially if we take into account the fact that (work permitting) I usually clock up at least three to four hours of interpreting practice a week. And that’s not mentioning other courses I may attend on top of that.

What are your plans for future CPD (COVID-19 permitting)?

I will definitely continue to work on my core skills of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting in all my language combinations. I’d love to attend more voice workshops for interpreters - I went to an AIIC one in Italy, and it was amazing!

What’s your advice for someone who’s just starting to explore CPD?

There is a wealth of opportunities out there, which can be a little overwhelming. Look for reputable providers and experienced speakers to avoid disappointment. Avoid the so-called instagurus, who make big promises but rarely deliver. Try to diversify. Finally, ask your colleagues for advice!

This article was first published in the July-August 2020 issue of the ITI Bulletin.

About the writer

Andrea Alvisi MA, MITI is an Italian native conference interpreter and translator working with English, French, Russian and Bulgarian. His main translation specialisms include corporate and business, and he has been a visiting interpreting trainer at the University of Leeds since 2014.

You can find out more about him online at Attitude Translations and on Twitter.

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