After a fantastic summer of sport in the UK, there were many outstanding performances and memorable moments.  But what is it that made those athletes a success? Is it just natural talent or is it something more?  Research tells us it is something more. Athletes that win gold medals win, not because they are different but because they train more effectively.

What does their training involve?

·         Setting goals

·         Getting  immediate feedback

·         Focusing on both technique and outcome

Recent research would indicate that expertise is achieved through deliberate practice (see Hunt 2006, Ericsson et al 2007). Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours of practice to develop expertise, that is years of hard work!

As an interpreter it is easy enough to acquire knowledge through training courses, skilled and knowledgeable teachers and specialist books, but is that enough? Is some deliberate practice a must for interpreters too?  

What is deliberate practice? What does it involve?  It needs a bit of passion for interpreting; it needs dedication and belief in self.  The most important thing here, well at least for me, is belief. I believe by doing CPD, which is properly designed, intended to focus on applying some knowledge, a new skill or a tip from a colleague, and practicing it until I can reproduce it, then my performance will improve.

The price of win a gold medal is extremely high and only a few achieve it, not everybody is willing to give up 10,000 hours in the pursuit of such achievement, but by understanding the key to being better  is to do some focused practice, then anyone can be better.

Is this an opportunity for a little bit of expertise development?

The NRCPD now “requires all communication professionals to record 12 hours of professional development activity to renew their registration in 2013” (NRCPD website 2012). This number rises to 35 hours from 2014 onwards.  

Ericsson et all (2007). The making of an Expert  The Harvard Business Review. 

Hunt, E.  (2006).  Expertise, Talent and Social Encouragement in Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert performance. Anders Ericsson, Neil Charness, Paul Feltovich, and Robert Hoffman (Eds.). accessed 22nd November 2012


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