Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Reflections on a busy and tumultuous year

eCPD Managing Director Lucy Brooks reflects on the year that saw eCPD run its first series of popular webinars for professional linguists.

Lucy Brooks
The idea for eCPD Webinars (electronic Continuing Professional Development) grew from an experiment I put forward to my professional institute, the Chartered Institute of Linguists, while I was serving as a volunteer on the Translating Division Committee. The idea blossomed into a series of webinars given by expert speakers, who were willing to impart their knowledge via the new medium of a webinar broadcast.

Armando Arias
The one-hour events proved very popular with members and outside the Institute membership, but after a number of months, it became clear that the workload involved was proving too much for a volunteer to bear. So, encouraged by fellow committee member Armando Arias and colleague Anne de Freyman, I decided to form a commercial company.

The company was formed on 1st April 2010 and I spent that summer setting up the business and preparing for the first webinars. Both Anne and Armando became directors very soon after the company began, and both were full of encouragement and ideas for webinars.

Sadly, unknown to us all, Armando was already suffering from a life-threatening condition, but it was not until that summer that he was diagnosed. When he died in September 2010 it was not only we at eCPD, but the whole translating community, especially within the CIoL, who reeled with shock and disbelief. Almost to the end, Armando always felt he would beat his illness, but it was not to be.

Anne de Freyman
Our first webinar took place at about the same time and Anne and I continued to work together without Armando, arranging eight more webinars up to Christmas 2010, including a very popular presentation by Anne on “Working with Agencies”. We also organised a number of events for other organisations, such as ITI and ATA, as well as some smaller organisations.

However by early 2011, with the change in dynamics caused by Armando’s death, Anne, who is first and foremost a committed and very busy translator, decided that she was unable to handle the workload or dedicate the time that organising webinars involves.

At this point I approached Sarah Dillon in Brisbane, a well-known and experienced translator. Sarah had always been a firm supporter of the webinar concept and of CPD in general, and had kept very much in touch with eCPD from the start.

Sarah Dillon
When, in February 2011, I offered her a directorship in the fledgling venture, she accepted and since then has forged her niche in the company.

So, there are now two directors: me, the Managing and Financial Director, working from my office in the UK, and Sarah, who is the Communications and Marketing Director.

We each run our own webinar accounts, but the other is always on hand to offer support and back-up. The fact that we are on opposite sides of the globe actually works well. We hold our management meetings during the European morning, which is early evening for Sarah. And most of our webinars are timed within the European morning. However, when we hold webinars timed to suit attendees in the United States, Sarah sometimes has to stay up late!

The end result is that eCPD is open for business for a good 20 hours out of 24, and that we can work with organisations and customers all over the world.

The future

We are keen to develop some of our earlier webinar ideas into more advanced concepts. We are also trying to develop more interaction with our delegates during webinars. Technically, we are constantly investigating ways to streamline our procedures and product.

However, we intend to remain small. Small is flexible and it also means that we can offer personal service to our clients and webinar customers.

Lastly, we aim to continue our contribution to the global translator community by offering high quality Continuing Professional Development webinars at an affordable price. And the best thing is that webinars are recorded, so attendees who find they have to miss the live broadcast can always catch up later.

During this past year it has been my privilege to work with several dozen highly qualified, eminent speakers, who have cooperated on our venture, and provided us with some really interesting and thought-provoking presentations on subjects ranging from credit-management to translation theory, from working with direct clients to using corpora in translation. We have already started on our autumn “term” and I look forward to working with even more dedicated and knowledgeable professionals – our speakers. I thank each and every one of them for the time, enthusiasm and energy they have put into their presentations.

By Lucy Brooks, MCIL, CL (Translator)
Associate member of ITI

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