Unconventional CPD

There is far more to continuing professional development than cores skills. We continue extracts from our ITI Bulletin column in which members share some of the more unusual forms of CPD they have undertaken.

Out on the sea of story

Last summer, when in-person CPD was impossible, I did the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) Fiction  Editing  course, just for fun. And what fun it was. After decades of working with academic style guides, it was terrifying and liberating to be out on the Sea of Story with the maps ripped up (a bit like starting out as a freelancer). Until I discovered a whole  new set of conventions that not everyone agreed on, but were certainly entrenched in a lot of places (a bit like…any idea?).

Literary or creative translators will find it useful to look at the nuts and bolts of how stories are put together and what editors do to your copy. All translators can benefit from thinking hard about author voice, style, dialogue and points of view, consistency, how to critique a text sensitively and constructively, and how to help market it when it’s ready.

I’d absolutely recommend CIEP courses to both editors and translators. You work at your own pace, get some tutor feedback, interact with other students on the forum, and finish with a battery of resources to use in practice. This one gave me the tools to work with fiction – and to translate better.

Kate Sotejeff-Wilson MITI
Dr Kate Soteje-Wilson translates, copywrites and edits for academics at KSWtranslations, facilitates Ridge Writing Retreats, is an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, vice-chair of Nordic Editors and Translators and secretary of the ITI Polish Network.

What happens at Rev Club...

With so many high-quality CPD webinars available free of charge during the pandemic (especially from ITI), I have easily exceeded the recommended 30 hours of CPD this year! However, if I had to list three things which had the most impact on my translation and business skills, they would be the Western Regional Group’s new entrants’ mentoring scheme; the FrenchNet mentoring scheme; and a ‘Rev Club’ which fellow FR>EN translator Becca George and I have set up together.

So, what goes on in this Rev Club? We regularly peer-review each other’s translations, do mini translation slams and share terms to add to our termbases. We are honest but fair with one another and have established a great working relationship, which has contributed hugely to the quality of the translations we produce. We easily notch up an hour or two of CPD each week, though we are also quite flexible if we’re under pressure.

Constructive feedback from a fellow translator is invaluable in identifying the weaknesses you need to fix. Conversely, you often discover hidden talents, which is very reassuring. Other benefits include experimenting with a variety of texts; pooling your strengths; and reducing isolation as you feel you have a ‘colleague’, just like in a regular job.

Most importantly, we motivate each other to keep up with CPD.

Gill Barringer
With a previous career in procurement, Gill Barringer is a French to English translator who specialises in the supply chain, including contracts. She also enjoys translating marketing texts and websites. Contact Gill at [email protected]

Getting  back on track with co-learning sessions

In times of travel restrictions and class cancellations, I can imagine ‘language  skills’ aren’t clocking up quite as many hours on the CPD log as they once were. Of course, there are plenty of ways to keep up with our working languages and learn new ones aside from traditional classes and immersion, but without any kind of social element or deadline pressure, I recently found myselflacking the motivation and inspiration to grab my grammar books and put pen to paper. I needed a new approach!

With this in mind, I got to work carving out a space and time to get back on track. Since April, I’ve been organising fortnightly ‘co-learning’ sessions. Based on a co-working approach, the sessions are held over Zoom and use the Pomodoro Technique, with self-study stints broken up by a good old natter with like-minded learners. We share our goals and hold each other accountable not only for the evening’s session, but for the weeks and months ahead. It might not be CPD in the traditional sense, but it has proved to be hugely motivational for everyone involved, and it’s really inspiring to hear all the different ways people go about improving their foreign languages.

Rebecca Rönty
Rebecca is a German to English translator who recently married into the Finnish language and is now trying to grasp its inner workings faster than her toddler.


If you have undertaken unusual CPD that you would like to share in this column, please email Kari Koonin (Professional Development Committee chair) at [email protected]