Have you signed any code of ethics related to interpreting? Are you certified as an ASL interpreter, a medical interpreter, a court interpreter? If so, you have committed to increasing your knowledge and skill related to interpreting.
Continuing education can be exciting, particularly if you create a plan for learning which supports your career objectives. Do you want to get more appointments with a particular healthcare organization or court or other entity? This might be a non-profit that cares for specific client groups that you want to support.
Do you eventually want to become a licensed professional yourself in healthcare, the legal system, or education? Use your interpreter continuing education as preparation for your academic work.
Free Continuing Education
Not all continuing education requires money. Do background reading on client populations, on the organizations caring for them, and on the types of services provided. Find YouTube trainings related to the work. Find a mentor connected with the organization or the work.
Continuing Education Toolbox
Build your continuing education toolbox. Acquire good quality reference materials such as dictionaries in English, your target language, and bilingual. You need all three. Court and medical interpreters require specialized dictionaries and glossaries as well. Build your own glossaries. Build a library of information that is written for clients, so that you can easily interpret that material. For healthcare that is patient education materials. These materials are available free on hospital websites and court websites. Build a list of websites in countries where your target language is spoken so that you can look up how terms are being used in those countries.
Join Professional Organizations
Join professional organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. These are a rich source for news about trends in the profession. Join discussion groups on social media and participate in the threads which focus on skill and knowledge building.
Finally, take classes. Look for:
- Challenge classes which focus on decision-making skills.
- Performance-based classes which include structured and coached practice.
- Target language classes which are taught in the target language. Everyone in the class speaks the same language, so you can focus on the detail and nuance of both linguistics and culture.
- Classes on topics about which you know little, such as emerging science on stem cell transfusion or genetic medicine or pain management, or on immigration court proceedings, or on school individual care plans.
- Classes which will make you a preferred interpreter for certain client organizations, such as mental health settings or industrial injury lawyers.
See you out there!