News

ACIS Update

Join DPSI Online’s founder Helena el Masri who will update you on the recently launched first association of community interpreters in the UK.

Register for this meeting at the link below after which you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining. Mark the date:
Do not forget that holders of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting can register their interest to join the association as a member by sending an email to info@acis-uk.org. The Admissions Committee will then invite all those interested to attend an interview.

DPSI Online is Now a CIoL Business Partner

We have been as busy as ever at DPSI Online!

One of the many highlights of 2021 (and we are still in May) is that we have decided to become a CIoL Business Partner.

As a trainer I am passionate about training interpreters and translators to help them become qualified and enter a new career with the understanding that we need to raise the standards of the profession. We have been training interpreters and translators since 2009. Interested in our courses? Contact us here.

ACIS – The Association of Community Interpreters

DPSI Online founder Helena el Masri has officially launched the UK’s first association of community interpreters.

Translators, linguists and public service interpreters have been well-represented in the UK by a few associations over the decades. After the CIoL, APCI was established in 1974, the ITI followed in 1986 and then the NRPSI was born as a regulator after an enquiry. Conference interpreters are represented by AIIC UK & Ireland.

Over the years at DPSI Online, we have grown increasingly aware of the lack of support or representation for community interpreters. Thus in 2020, ACIS was reborn with a clear mission: to represent the interests of community interpreters and to develop, promote and safeguard high professional standards in the field of community interpreting. The association aims to bring awareness to all service providers of the importance of using qualified community interpreters. As well as paying fair rates and promoting better working conditions and to advise on any policy development applicable to community interpreting. For this reason, a directory has been created on the ACIS website which is visible and searchable by service providers to ensure the hiring of qualified and vetted interpreters.

Holders of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting can register their interest to join this directory by sending an email to info@acis-uk.org. The Admissions Committee will invite all those interested to attend an interview from March 2021.

Full ACIS members have access to FREE continuous professional development events and resources. For more information please visit:

If you have any membership questions don’t hesitate to contact the team at ACIS. We are calling on all community interpreters to join this association to support our interests and promote high professional standards in this field.

New Resource Available – Interpreting Techniques

Interpreting Techniques is our latest e-book resource that has just been added to our Resources page.

This guide focuses on the skills necessary to master interpreting in general. It focuses on sight translation, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting techniques, and includes information on listening and analytical skills in order to to convey the message accurately. Practice exercises and note-taking techniques are also provided. We often find that interpreters are not developing their management skills that would help them effectively deal with the challenges that arise on assignments, therefore an overview of adequate intervention techniques to deal with difficult situations and terminology is also provided.

We hope that this will be a solid resource that students keep coming back to in order to keep improving their skills.

DPSI Online – Collaborations and Bespoke Training

Beyond the courses, webinars and resources we have available, we have been proactively branching out into training opportunities for under-served languages in the humanitarian field.

Our first pro bono training is being offered to Solidarity Now, a non-profit organisation in Greece. The remote training sessions started this August 21st. The training provided covered the role of the interpreters who work with asylum seekers in Greece – from reception to working on the ground – in medical, education and legal settings. This training will also include interpreting skills, ethics and ethical dilemmas, the impact of non-accuracy, vicarious trauma and interpreter self-care. Our second collaboration involved creating a bespoke course for ClearVoice, a social language enterprise whose profits go towards supporting victims of displacement and exploitation through their parent charity Migrant Help. They have asked us to train 12 Syrian refugees. They are already half way through the course and working hard to get qualified as interpreters.

We are looking forward to our next collaboration – if are you a charity or non-profit organisation looking for bespoke interpreter training, contact us at info@dpsionline.co.uk.

3 Tips to Stay Focused When Working From Home

As many of us find ourselves now working from home a lot more than before, we may find that we are feeling more lethargic and have less energy to focus for more than 4-6 hours on work a day. Whereas before, whether being physically in an office space with targets to hit, or having translation and interpreting assignments coming in non-stop made an 8  hour day a normal routine.

Well, this is only normal. You’ve gone through a huge change from having an established work routine with a commute or various interpreting assignments in a day. And now your commute looks a bit more like rolling out of bed and shuffling to your ”office of choice” for the day.

The lack of movement is definitely a factor responsible for your lack of energy. The process of getting up, getting ready for work and travelling helps to prepare you for the day ahead. You know what to expect because it is usually scheduled in already and your routines are established. As an online training provider, we have definitely picked up some habits along the way to combat the above. Here are a few of our tips:

  1. Schedule your work week on your calendar of choice, whether on your mobile, computer or in a notebook. Start by adding in your personal time such as a morning and evening routine, errands, non-negotiable family commitments, appointments, and so on. Then listen to your energy levels. Once you’ve scheduled your week, you can visualise what time you have left to get things done. If you know you work better in the morning, your calendar should reflect that. It’s also important to practice time blocking and note this in your calendar, whether for work or rest, so you can visualise the hours you have available. Unsociable hours before 9am and after 5pm should then be be off-limits for work and time-blocked for personal care, hobbies and family time.
  2. Use the 50:10 technique – for those of you who aren’t familiar with this technique, it involves you working in 50-minute chunks. You can set an alarm for this and as soon as the alarm goes off you have 10 minutes to rest. Hydrate, stretch, have a 5-minute workout or enjoy some quiet time in the garden.  This helps to get the oxygen moving around your body because sitting down in the same position can leave you feeling lethargic. Return to your work station and take a look at what you’re going to focus on for the next 50 minutes to ensure you remain focused and on track. Then repeat. The Pomodoro technique is another similar productivity hack where you set a timer for 25 minutes, work on a specific task until the timer goes off and then you take a 5-minute break.
  3. Minimise distractions – find what helps you stay concentrated. Is it the plane mode on your phone, your headphones and some music, or using an app that blocks social media access for a particular number of hours? Turn off all unnecessary app notifications and close all the open tabs on your browser, then crack on with the task at hand using one of the techniques above.

We hope you find these tips useful. Whether you’re having the most productive few weeks or the most relaxing and mindful time during this pandemic, remember, both are ok. Self-care and time management can indeed go hand-in-hand.

Highlights from the first CIoL Conference on 7 March 2020

Who would have thought that the CIVID-19 outbreak we would all be invited to the beautiful building of the British Medical Association for the first CIOL conference? What a location! 

The main room filled up quickly for Ellie Kemp’s talk from Translators Without Borders (TWB). Being a volunteer translator myself I was keen to hear her presentation and was surprised like many others to hear that Ebola was in its 10th outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was very impressed with the awareness raised by the TWB with regards to the importance of minority languages such as Kinande, Mashi and other local dialects.

I then rushed to Ian Fraser’s talk to learn about the new Police Framework and the future of language services procurement that will start from September 2020. There finally seem to be some promising signs ahead of us, especially for those who have not worked in courts since the MOJ awarded its first contract to ASL in 2012. I hope the new framework will bring back some of the experienced interpreters we lost to other professions due to lack of work in the criminal justice system.  

In the afternoon I attended Mike Orlov’s talk about the challenges and the new opportunities for PSIs and PSTs too. He insisted on the importance of having professional interpreting services in the public sector. He urged us all to a ‘Clarion Call to Action’ and highlighted the importance of the NRPSI as a register and regulator. 

Later on it was time to hear Vasiliki Prestridge talk about going from freelancer to entrepreneur and revisiting the skills necessary to increase our client base and grow our businesses. Her approach to customer care made a lot of sense and what better time to be working on your client outreach than during the current lockdown when most of our work is done from home?

The usual panel discussion then rounded up the day.  All in all, it was a well attended first conference with a little bit for every professional. I am looking forward to the second conference in 2021.

Covid-19 – A Message to Our Fellow Freelance Interpreters

With everything slowly coming to a halt, it is a good time to reflect on the real meaning of ‘feast and famine’ where interpreters (and translators) are concerned.

What do I mean?

I am obviously not talking about lack of food here, what I mean is that perhaps the ‘feast’ period (i.e. regular work) has turned into not having as many face-to-face assignments or having them cancelled at the last minute. At a time like this, with measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, we have two choices: to join the world in panic mode or to create space for self-growth and development.

Professionally you can use this downtime (‘famine’) to catch up with the tasks necessary to drive your business forward that we often fall behind on:

  • Administrative tasks – get on top of emails and your bookkeeping, send all your claim forms and invoices to your clients for work completed recently;
  • Client outreach – do a client inventory and call those who have not given you work recently: maybe you can offer them your remote interpreting services?
  • Marketing – what better time to dedicate some hours to the most challenging aspect of our work? Start marketing your business and be consistent.

If there are areas in your business which you are not so knowledgeable about, this is the time to seek training from colleagues who are more experienced in this field. I have done just that at the recent CIoL Conference where I attended a double session by Vasiliki Prestridge where this idea of the feast and famine cycle in self-employment was discussed. We are always learning as interpreters and translators. Even after 20 years, I am blown away buy the sheer amount of things I am learning.

Don’t just focus on the professional aspect – think about your personal development as well

Pick up that book that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while, listen to podcasts, get moving! It’s important to realise that you need to fill your glass up first. You’ve all heard the saying ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ right? You’re the cup, and rest and self-care is what fills it.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about the personality traits that are instrumental to an interpreter’s success – I will be writing more about that soon. But I will mention one here today – I am more than certain that curiosity is one of the most important traits interpreters need to have. Start now during this famine period and unleash your curiosity. Expand your knowledge in topics you know less about, research that list of terms that you have in your notebook or on your phone, or make a plan for the upcoming year ahead with realistic and actionable steps. Yes, the year has just started and there is so much to learn! 

Let’s unite and create a community of knowledgeable professionals. I have recently announced that I’ll be offering monthly masterclasses from April onwards. These live sessions will cover relevant topics and pain points that we as interpreters and translators experience and we will discuss how to combat them. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any questions you have about the industry or any of the courses or services we offer. In addition to that, if you aren’t a part of our community already, head on over and join us. The DPSI Online Community on Facebook is a safe place where interpreters and translators can ask questions relating to the industry and share helpful tips and resources. 

We all need to do our part to look out for others.

Article by our Tutor Phile Muriel – The Problem with Impartiality

The Linguist is the professional journal of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and gives access to a wealth of articles on many aspects of the languages profession.

In this latest volume, our tutor Phil Muriel looks at professional dilemmas and considers why interpreters might be tempted to break the rules of impartiality. He discusses the pressures placed on the interpreter by both service providers and service users, and the challenge to remain impartial at all times.  You can click here to download the article.

Interpreting for Victims of Crime – Launching in May!

Our third course due to be released this year, Interpreting for Victims of Crime, is a national qualification exclusive to DPSI Online with Helena El Masri. The course begins on the 1 May 2020, with the enrolments open between 4 March and 24 April 2020.

This course leads to a Level 4 qualification and is a must for anyone working in emotionally-charged cases or very distressing settings where trauma is a common occurrence.

During the 12 week course candidates will learn about interpreting for victims and survivors of violent crime, domestic and child abuse, torture and modern slavery. Additionally, they will acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to become a trauma-informed interpreter, to understand bias and manage effective cultural interventions. Vicarious trauma will also be discussed, with interpreters learning to recognise the signals and develop a self-care plan for interpreting in traumatic settings.

This course is not suitable for beginners – to be able to enrol on this course you will need to have achieved at least a level 3 qualification in interpreting and you will need to provide proof of this during the pre-course interview to be accepted onto the course. Click here to apply and, as always, feel free to email us at info@dpsionline.co.uk if you have any questions.