Training seminar in Brazil: IT and blended learning in interpreter training

The Interpreter Diaries are off to Brazil! I’ve been asked by AIIC Brazil to run a workshop on IT and blended learning for interpreter trainers in the beautiful town of Curitiba on January 29-31, 2016.

This will be the fourth in a series of AIIC Training workshops on new technologies in interpreter training (following on from similar events held in Maputo, Paris and Seoul). The three-day course will be intensely practical, with hands-on sessions taking participants through the creation of their own online materials, guided tours of the virtual interpreting classroom, and more.

I’m told there are still four spots open on the course, so please spread the news to your colleagues in the Americas (note that attendees may be eligible to apply for a bursary to cover travel costs).

I’ll leave you with the blurb from the workshop’s registration page –  and I hope to see you in Brazil!

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

IT is becoming an essential tool for students and trainers in all fields, and interpreter training can benefit enormously from technological developments. Virtual learning, a trend that has taken the world of post-secondary education by storm, can allow both established and up-and-coming interpreting programs to extend their reach while maximizing their use of resources, and enhance the training experience for both students and trainers.

In this hands-on workshop, Michelle Hof will take participants through topics such as:
Best practice in face-to-face and online interpreter training
Practical aspects of the virtual classroom and online learning platforms
Teaching and testing interpreting skills using virtual technology
Effective blended learning approaches
Leveraging online and offline resources in the interpreting classroom

Creating a better classroom experience: Workshop for interpreter trainers in Tenerife

The summer professional development season is swiftly approaching, and it’s my pleasure to announce that my colleagues at the University of La Laguna have decided to offer something new this year. This June, Dick Fleming and I will be running a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop here on Tenerife as part of the University’s INTTRA training initiative.

The ToT workshop will focus on practical tips and tricks for teaching in both on-site and virtual interpreting classrooms. It will run over the course of three days at the end of June and be held in the sunny southern end of the island (yes, there are plenty of beaches nearby 😉 ).

I’m very excited about this new ToT initiative. The aim is to create a bridge between the more “traditional” forms of classroom-based learning and new approaches in the virtual sphere. We’ll be combining Dick’s years of experience training on-site at the European Commission in Brussels with the lessons I have learned while cutting my teeth over the past few years in the virtual classroom. Together, we’ll examine best practice in both settings and explore how on-site lessons can be adapted for virtual delivery, among other things. Participants will be encouraged to bring along their own questions and case studies for discussion in the group, and will run practical exercises to put ideas into practice. I know from past ToT experiences that great things happen when interpreter trainers come together – and this time as well, I am counting on watching the ideas fly!

To find out more about the workshop and consult the detailed schedule, please check out our infomation page. To reserve your spot, you can either drop us a line at masteric@ull.es or pre-register on the INTTRA workshop page.

Hope to see you in June!

Man vs. Machine? The FIT World Congress 2014

It’s been a hectic summer for me, and it’s shaping up to be an even busier autumn. I won’t bore readers with details of what has been keeping me occupied lately (although I will include a few links at the end of this post for friends and family curious to know what has caused me to drop off the map). But at some point amid all the list-making and juggling this summer, it occurred to me that either (a) I manage to find a way to balance blogging with my busy schedule, or (b) it may be time to close up shop on the Diaries altogether. And since I’m not quite ready for (b), here is my attempt to get back in the blogging saddle.

 "Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".


“Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

I’d like to ask you all to cast your glances ahead to August, 2014. Just under a year from now, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) will hold its XX World Congress in Berlin. The topic for the 2014 congress is Man vs. Machine? The Future of Translators, Interpreters and Terminologists. Over three jam-packed days, there will be a trade expo, a job exchange and plenty of opportunities for networking, not to mention around 100 different presentations, panels and workshops held around the following four sub-themes (as listed on the call for papers):

• Translators, interpreters and terminologists – careers demanding a diverse range of expertise (e.g. translation technology, terminology work, research expertise, business competencies, translation and interpreting in a wide range of specialist disciplines, literary (book) translation, intercultural competency, post-editing, audiovisual translation)

• How translation and interpreting contribute to safeguarding human rights (e.g. community interpreting, intercultural understanding, court interpreting, medical interpreting, interpreting in crisis and war zones)

• Professional practice and the rights of translators, interpreters and terminologists (e.g. professional ethics, standards and norms, fees, copyright and intellectual property, security and freedom of expression for translators and interpreters, crowd translation, transcreation)

• Teaching and research in the field of translation, interpreting and terminology work (e.g. didactic methods, general education vs. specialist education, CPD, IT tools in training, TRAFUT, language industry studies)

Why am I telling readers about the FIT event almost a year before it is scheduled to take place? Because now is the time for prospective attendees to vote for their favourite presentations, panels and workshops from the list of all the proposals submitted. Only the top submissions will be invited to form part of FIT 2014, so the voting process is key to the success of the event!

I have to admit I’ve got a bit of a vested interest in getting people out to vote. If you scroll way down the voting list, near the end under the heading “Teaching and research”, you’ll see one proposal that bears my name. It’s for a panel discussion entitled “The future is now: Virtual learning environments and the digital revolution in interpreter education” and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be joining Suzanne Ehrlich of the Univeristy of Cincinnati in the United States, Della Goswell of Macquarie University in Australia, Andrew Clifford of York University in Canada, and Kim Wallmach of Wits Language School in South Africa to address this very hot training topic. Together, we’ll offer perspectives from around the globe on how virtual learning has been embraced in interpreter training.

But that’s not all there is for interpreters at FIT 2014. A quick look at the list of proposals reveals a wealth of potential sessions that could be of great interest to those in our industry. Here are just a few that caught my eye:

– a workshop on the use of smartpens in interpreting (Esther Navarro-Hall, aka @MmeInterpreter)

– an introduction to iPads in the booth (Alexander Drechsel, aka @tabterp)

– theatre improvisation techniques as a professional development tool for interpreters (Matthias Haldimann, aka @matthaldimann)

– a panel proposal called “Interpreting 2.0: Exploring the interface between interpreters and technology”  bringing together Navarro-Hall, Drechsel, Nataly Kelly (@natalykelly) Barry Olsen (@ProfessorOlsen) and Thomas Binder

– a presentation on interpreting in the European Parliament (Juan Carlos Jiménez Martín)

– a paper on Edupunk (Jonathan Downie, aka @jonathanddownie)

– A review of EU Directive 2010/64 on the right to interpreting and translation in criminal proceedings (Liese Katschinka)

– A panel on technology and interpretation at European and international Courts and Tribunals (Liese Katschinka, Christiane Driesen, George Drummond)

…and there are plenty more. The good thing is, you can vote for as many proposals as you want! So, if you want to support ongoing dialogue in the translation and interpreting community – even if you don’t think you’ll be attending FIT 2014 in Berlin next summer – please cast your vote for what you see as the hottest topics in our industry today (if you submitted a proposal on an interpreting-related topic but don’t see it on my shortlist, please tell me in the comments section and I’ll add it). If you think you can fit it in, try to plan a trip to Berlin for next summer. I hope to see you there!

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…so what have I been up to this summer? In addition to putting together this proposal for FIT 2014, I attended a summer school for researchers, co-planned and ran a CPD course for young interpreters, prepared two courses for the fall term of my favourite online MA program, co-designed and held a skills upgrade course for practitioners, and am currently busy putting together a seminar for trainers in Africa. If you’d like to find out more about any of these initiatives, just let me know!