How we typed our way through Certified Interpretive Writer (CIW) training.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Interpret Europe’s courses. I try to seize any possible opportunity to join one. However, that’s not always easy. While the CIG is often available in different parts of Europe, some courses are less common.
When I see a training announcement, the first thing I do is check out the time and the place. If it all fits, I hurry to reserve my spot. I don’t even think about the content, I know it should be good. This goes so far that I once accidentally applied for an upgrade course before joining the original training.
Earlier this year, a Certified Interpretive Writer (CIW) course was announced in Slovenia. I had kept my eye on that particular course for years, desperately trying to find a chance to join it. This year, it was taking place an hour away from my hometown, and my calendar was free on those dates! A minor setback: I am far from fluent in Slovenian. Minor enough – I applied anyway. My native Croatian has a lot of similarities, after all! Luckily enough, our trainer was very flexible, and we agreed that I would do my assignments in English.
It wasn’t until the day the training started that it hit me. How will I ever go through the dynamics and demands of IE training, if I don’t perfectly understand the language? Was I being too ambitious? But, the second I arrived in the beautiful town of Podsreda, I knew things would work out. It felt like entering a movie set. Podsreda is a small town trapped in time, surrounded by woods, with a mighty castle watching over from a hill. Everything goes according to someone’s plan in movies, I thought. I was eager to see what the director of this movie had in mind.
The director waited in our classroom. There she was, our course leader, confident and calm. The group started gathering. We prepared our computers, still not knowing what to expect.
What followed were five days full of great examples, useful tips, and challenging assignments. Teamwork, hard mental work, no tagging along. Each day, the tasks got more demanding, and our writing became more polished and reader-aware.
Part of the training is dedicated to self-guided tours. I found it particularly useful and inspiring. That is something I’ve been working on for a while. I was pleasantly surprised to get so much insight from this part.
If you’re wondering whether this training is for you, I’d say that it is if you have some experience with writing. Let me tell you where I have already started applying the new findings: in interpretive trails and self-guiding tours – that’s obvious. But also blogs, TikToks, social media posts, and even my CV. Furthermore, I have become more sensitive to the user experience and I’ve developed an eagle eye for good examples. It’s always easy to spot the poor ones. But I am now constantly on the watch for good examples that I used to take for granted. I now use them as a teaching experience, and this tremendously helps me in my writing career. Last but not least, I have grown more confident about my writing skills, and strengthened my decision to work more as an interpretive writer. I am not saying that all of this will happen to everyone who joins the CIW course, but that was the effect on me.
Oh, about the language barrier… Our group was incredibly supportive and accepting. I ended up using my mother tongue. I’d say it was somewhat of an extra challenge for all of us, but it might have helped us figure out some guidelines for interpretive writing in a natural way. A person who doesn’t fully understand the language forces you to use simpler sentences and wording. That’s one of the lessons anyway.
Being a possible disturbance to training also reminded me how challenging a trainer’s job can be. There can be so many unexpected or difficult situations, which can make some participants uneasy. Our trainer dealt with this particular one with such ease, that it didn’t feel like we had an issue at all.
All in all, it happened again! I came back from Interpret Europe training bursting with new ideas and creative energy, wishing I could rewrite all of my former projects, and with a firm goal to implement the new knowledge. I felt once again like I’ve witnessed the perfect recipe for a learning experience. I even distinguished some ingredients: a magical setting, a confident lead, and a group of dedicated participants.
I can’t wait for new training opportunities!
Iva Silla is an IE CIG trainer and now a Certified Interpretive Writer. She is the author of Secret Zagreb walking tours (www.secret-zagreb.com) and the Croatia Underrated podcast (www.croatiaunderrated.com). Contact her at: [email protected]