HOW IT WORKS --Things to know about online training

Is online training right for you? The answer depends. Live training for interpreters is ideal, but if it’s too far away, or your schedule does not permit, online training is better than no training at all.

The question is, which kind of online training do you need?

Synchronous training

The best type of online training for interpreters is synchronous training, with a live instructor and interpreters who interact in real time. That way, everyone can see and talk to each other and practice.

Interpreting is a practice profession. It’s skills based. You can’t learn to interpret by reading about it, or listening to someone talk. You need to practice your skills and decision-making in real time.

Asynchronous training

What if a synchronous training schedule is impossible for you? That’s where asynchronous training comes in. For asynchronous training, you study alone on your computer or tablet. There is no class, no instructor. You can study at midnight in your pajamas, if you wish!

The problem here is that most asynchronous training isn’t skills based. You need a program that engages you and makes you think. You need exercises, role plays and visuals. Demonstration videos of interpreters can help as well. Most asynchronous training does not offer all that. (We do. And more.)

Webinar training

Webinars are online lectures. As the interpreter, you can sometimes ask questions, but not always. Usually you can’t ask questions orally—you might have to type them into a text box. Your questions might or might not get answered.

In a webinar, you are hearing someone talk online. In the United States, the presenter will usually display PowerPoint slides. Most often, you do not even see the person speaking.

You might fall asleep.

Webinars are often presented in real time, then “frozen” online so that you can access the webinar recording later, on demand.

For interpreters, webinars can be an easy and inexpensive way to get up-to-date information, stay informed and get CEUs (continuing education credits for keeping a certification or license).

But webinars are not recommended for basic training. For online training, try to sign up for quality synchronous or asynchronous programs.

Questions to ask

Is the online program you want to pay for a quality program? Here are some questions to ask before you sign up.

The training company

1. What are the company’s credentials?

2. How does the company select its trainers? Who are they? What are their credentials?

3. Is the training offered by a reputable organization? Is it a single trainer?

The program

4. Is the training synchronous (live)? What practice will you get?

5. Is training asynchronous (not live)? Then how will it work? How will you learn to interpret?

6. Does the program have a quality textbook, manual or other materials?

7. Who created the program? What are their credentials?


8. Is there live office support?

9. What will you do if you have technical problems?

Are you fluently bilingual?

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