Professional Development - More than Points


In the beginning, Professional Development (PD) was not my favourite.  Over three years ago when I read the re-certification requirements for interpreters , my first reaction was ‘oh, my god, it will be really hard to get the required PD points.'  But now, after the first three-year re-certification, I found PD not hard at all, instead it is full of fun.

"I found PD not hard at all,

instead it is full of fun"

Recently I went to a free PD event by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The lady from the NDIS, herself an interpreter, told us they are trying to arrange more free PD sessions for interpreters as PD may turn into a burden if it takes too much time and costs too much money.  This is true, especially for Mandarin interpreters. According to my knowledge, many Mandarin interpreters are struggling with getting enough work since there is an out supply of Chinese interpreters, especially the Mandarin ones. We’d love to get more free PD sessions to enhance ourselves and satisfy the re-certification requirements without worrying about money.

The NDIS session was carried out in an interesting way. After a brief introduction, we had group discussions to find appropriate Chinese versions of certain jargons used by the NDIS. We were put randomly in different groups, it felt like each group held its members tightly around the table and a kind of tension arose when different groups supported different versions. During the two-hour session, we tried to find the best Chinese versions for fifteen words or phrases which are frequently used by the NDIS.

Among my group members, the most satisfying moment was when we found a simple but perfect way of translating ‘defined program’ which means ‘government-funded programs that existed before the NDIS to support people with a disability’ as ‘lao ji hua’ which can be directly translated back to English as the old scheme or the former scheme. Xu, the girl sitting next to me, said silently, ‘keep the best one to last, surprise them all’. That is how I did it. I tried to hold myself back when other groups suggested ‘ji cun xiang mu’ which can be translated back to English as a program existed before the NDIS or something similar. Then I called out ‘lao ji hua’ with applause from my group members and other groups. It was really fun and exciting.

It was dark outside after we finished the session. On the way home, Xu asked me, ‘when is the next PD session’. She said she was shy and lazy when by herself but was a totally different person when staying with us, discussing and debating. It is hard to be a lonely interpreter, with no one to share views and experience. So, let’s jump out of our comfort zone, attend PD sessions where we can find friends to share, to laugh together and to rely on.

For me, PD means a lot more than points.

Let's jump out of our comfort zone, attend PD sessions, make new friends and laugh together




Author Biography: Ms. Huaning Gu is a certified interpreter (Mandarin) and translator (from Chinese to English). She finished the Advanced Diploma of Interpreting from RMIT in 2015. After that, she has been enjoying her work as a casual interpreter and translator for Allgraduates and Oncall.

Published: 14/05/2019