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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.

Introduction to Interpreting – Launching on 12 February 2020!

The second course we have lined up for release this year is Introduction to Interpreting.

This is a taster course to help linguists and aspiring interpreters wishing to get started in the public service interpreting profession and will serve as a stepping stone in providing the foundations necessary to train as a community or public service interpreter at Level 3 or higher.

It is the perfect course for candidates looking to study in their own time as you can enrol anytime and study anywhere, with 1-year access to the course materials! We’ve included lessons with exercises, quizzes and tests on the following units:

  • English Proficiency for Interpreters;
  • The Role of the Interpreter;
  • Know your Community;
  • Interpreting in Legal or Healthcare Settings.

What’s more, we have also included the Introduction to Public Service Interpreting e-book and the pre-course assessment for the Level 3 in Community Interpreting course (worth £20) should you wish to progress to an interpreting qualification. Interested? Enrol here.

DPSI Law Self-Study Course – Launching January 29th!

 

The first of three new courses launching at DPSI Online in 2020 is coming this month!

The DPSI Law Self-Study course is aimed at experienced legal interpreters looking to brush up on their terminology, and preparing to sit the DPSI Law exam, either online with us or at one of the CIoL exam centres. It is the perfect course for candidates looking to study in their own time as you can enrol anytime and study anywhere, with a full 1-year access to the course materials.

This course contains lessons, webinars and plenty of resources covering a range of topics, which include: types of crime, police powers and procedures, civil and criminal courts, probation, immigration, civil law and local government.

The course is not suitable for beginners and does not include tutor support. If you have little to no interpreting experience, see the Level 3 Community Interpreting course instead. More information can be found online on the courses section of our website, or click here to enrol.

3 New Courses Coming to DPSI Online in 2020

 

We have an exciting year ahead at DPSI Online, with three new courses launching in the first 3 months of this year. Be sure to keep an eye out on our social media accounts for more information on these exciting courses, their release dates and more. Alternatively, you can take a look at the course section of our website to register your interest now!

Our first course release will be the DPSI Law Self-Study course, which is aimed at experienced legal interpreters looking to brush up on their terminology and preparing to sit the DPSI Law exam, either online with us or at one of the CIoL exam centres.

Our second launch is the Introduction to Interpreting course, a well thought out taster course at beginner level to help linguists and aspiring interpreters wishing to get started in the public service interpreting profession. 

The third course coming up is the Interpreting for Victims of Crime course, a Level 4 national qualification that is exclusive to DPSI Online with Helena El Masri, and it will get underway in the coming months.

Finally… We’re Launching Our Webinars This Month!

As we continue to celebrate 10 years at DPSI Online, we are excited to announce that we will begin launching a series of webinars over the next year, starting with the first two coming out this October 10th.

1 – Ethics Webinar covering what ethics means for interpreters and the ethical dilemmas they face.

2 – Interpreting in Mental Health Settings Webinar, a three-part webinar series delivered by Phil Muriel focusing on better understanding what it means to interpret in mental health settings.

As we continue these releases, we will be making available various discount and bundle offers. If you want to keep up to date on our webinar launches and offers, make sure you regularly check out our Webinars page, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter. As always, feel free to email us on info@dpsionline.co.uk if you have any questions or even webinar requests!

DPSI Online Is Now an Official Exam Centre

We are happy to announce that we have become only the second online exam centre in the UK!

We will be offering an online DPSI Law exam to any candidate who has followed a course, either with us or with another course provider. Our centre is accredited by TQUK and candidates will be able to take the exam with us in October and November 2019.

We will have a particular focus on rare languages. They are in high demand in the public services but qualifications in languages such as Oromo or Somali have been historically difficult to achieve, or simply not available in the UK. Having been a pioneer in online public service interpreter training, we are now an official online DPSI exam centre as well, and the only one in the country that is committed to always withholding the CIoL training and exam standards. Having trained more than 700 students since 2009, DPSI Online will be offering training to candidates on the NRPSI ‘Rare Language’ and ‘Interim B’ categories so they can finally become fully DPSI-qualified interpreters.

We look forward to offering our vast training and language experience to all candidates! Watch this space and our website. We will be announcing everything you need to know about our online DPSI Law exam and how you can register in the following weeks!