Medical Interpreter Continuing Education Is the Coolest


Pop quiz! What do the following things all have in common?

  • Designing learning
  • Delivering training
  • Improving human performance
  • Measuring and evaluating
  • Facilitating organizational change
  • Managing the learning function
  • Coaching
  • Managing organizational knowledge
  • Career planning and talent management

The answer?  They are the nine areas of expertise that made up the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance® exam at the time I earned the CPLP® credential.*

Ready for another pop quiz? Here goes:

What does this have to do with interpreting?

The answer? Everything.

You see interpreting isn’t something that people just do as a result of popping a pill or getting some as-of-yet-non-existent surgical procedure to implant a device in the brain that turns someone into an interpreter. Interpreters get to be interpreters through training and professional development. And while there is merit to the self-taught individual, many people benefit from some sort of instruction or guidance on the professional journey.

That’s where trainers and training comes in. Just like being bilingual isn’t a guarantee that a person can interpret, being an interpreter doesn’t guarantee a person can teach interpreters. In both instances, professional formation is essential.

For me, the professional formation to become a “for real” instructor came from the ATD Certification Institute. The appeal of this credential is its focus on developing talent of adult learners in the context of their professional practice. Through earning the CPLP, I learned to look at workplace learning and performance through a wider lens than only the fundamentals of instructional design and delivery. I learned to look at it insofar as it impacts the working interpreter and the organization they represent.

You see, learning for the sake of learning is fine. In fact, I rather enjoy it myself. But in order for learning to be valuable and meaningful, it needs to improve the interpreter’s professional performance – that is the on-the-job performance. Additionally, it should help the interpreter’s workplace or organization achieve its mission or meet its strategic goals. These are two primary considerations that frame the design and development of our continuing education courses.

But there are several other factors and considerations that shape the training content, support learner engagement, and foster outcomes of the classroom experience.

To use the iceberg metaphor, which you’re probably familiar with in the context of explaining culture, the training event is the “above the surface” thing you can see and experience with your senses. Underneath it are many additional “below the surface” elements that directly influence the particular event to ensure that it achieves the ultimate goal of 1) strengthening an individual’s professional performance and 2) achieving the strategic goals or mission of the interpreter’s workplace or organization. The image below is a quick sketch of just some of the “beneath the surface” elements that influence the training event.

Training Event Iceberg

Are Connecting Cultures' medical interpreter continuing education classes fun? Do they take place in a relaxed, learning-friendly environment? Are they built on adult learning theory? Do they focus on elements relevant to interpreting in healthcare situations? Sure. But it’s all for the purpose of one outcome: Growing and strengthening the talent of interpreters who dedicate their professional practice to the healthcare specialty.

How cool is that? It’s as cool as an iceberg.

*Since then, it’s been updated, so if you check out the current model, which I encourage you to do, you’ll notice a slightly different list. Thank goodness the credential requires holders to continue learning and to keep up with the changing and developing competencies in the talent development world!

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Posted on July 14, 2015 and filed under Manager.