The road to Rome   

Training of trainers on remote training

Part 2 of a two-part blog entry, in which AIIC members reflect on the AIIC Training of Trainers Seminar on online interpreter training, Rome,   31 Jan — 3 Feb 2020. 

by Verónica Pérez Guarnieri  — 16 March 2020 

The region I live in (most of the time, when I am not on a plane) is incredibly vast. Just consider that the distance from Buenos Aires to any other major hub in Argentina, like Córdoba, is at least 1,000 km.

For some time now, we have been trying to open a postgraduate conference interpreting training course in the North of Argentina, where the demand for interpreters keeps growing, thanks to the development and expansion of the mining industry. The problem has always been the availability of qualified trainers in the area. Most of them had to be flown in from Buenos Aires, which makes it exorbitantly costly.

Hence, as director of this program, I have entertained for some time the possibility of supplementing on-site training with remote training. When I learnt that AIIC CPD was offering the course on remote interpreting I jumped at it.

I requested financial support under AIIC's trainers' sponsorship scheme and I was given it, for which I am very grateful.

When in Rome…

I found the seminar very useful from beginning to end. Here are some highlights or takeaways that, I believe, will be useful to pick the curiosity of those who are entertaining the idea of taking or giving remote training for interpreters.

Before embarking on an online training program, you should decide on a few points:

  • Online training for groups or one-on-one coaching? This will greatly determine the dynamics of the class and the material to be used.
  • Platform for online training. Zoom seems to be the favourite choice for most: it is stable; it has a free plan to try out its features. However, the biggest limitation of the free plan is that the maximum length of the call is limited to 40 minutes; and storage is only possible in your computer. The paid plan includes many other interesting features: cloud storage, screen-sharing option for participants too, whiteboard sharing, Chatbox, video recording, chats and audio files, creating break-up rooms but not recording what happens there (for example, you can record with Photobooth on Mac).
  • Educational platform to be used to exchange material (videos, documents, etc.). Several were discussed, Edmodo and Moodle being the most popular.
  • Payment options: Will you accept credit cards, wire transfers, Paypal?
  • Security features (privacy issues and protection of the material you produce)
  • Feedback. It could be online or offline. If online, you can ask peers to provide feedback. If offline, you can listen to the recording of the participant’s output.

Some conclusions 

  • It is harder to teach simultaneous than consecutive interpreting online, because it is more difficult to listen online to both the original and the interpreter at the same time.
  • Teaching public speaking and presentation skills is challenging (it is difficult to see the other person full body to read their body language and non-verbal communication)
  •  Consecutive training online is perfectly doable. The methodology has to be adapted, though. For example, the platform should include a feature to share notes with the trainer.
  • Trainers need more time to prepare their classes and to provide student feedback. There is more work for the trainer being done offline before and after the actual class.

On a personal note…

This course in particular has been especially enlightening to me. However, being honest, any AIIC CDP activity allows you to fill gaps in your knowledge and skills to enhance your productivity and efficiency; it helps you build confidence and credibility to gain a competitive edge; and the value of networking should never be underestimated! 

Thanks AIIC Training and Professional Development group for this wonderful opportunity!

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