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Continuous Professional Development & Mentoring Policy

Continuous Professional Development

Definition and Categories 

For the purposes of the Register of Irish Sign Language Interpreters (RISLI)Continuous Professional Development (CPD) consists of any formal professional learning activityformal or informal reflective self-development activity, or involvement in the Deaf community, which directly contributes to a registrant’s professional development as an interpreter. 

CPD Cycle is a period of one year from the date of registration (or date of renewal). 

CPD is divided into three categories: 

  • structured CPD 
  • unstructured CPD 
  • Deaf Community Engagement (DCE) 

CPD does not include: 

  •  interpreting assignments 
  • preparation for interpreting assignments 
  • voluntary or pro bono1 interpreting work 
  • any formal professional learning activity, reflective self-development activity, or Deaf community involvement which does not contribute to your professional development as an interpreter
 Structured CPD 

Structured CPD is defined as professional development activities with clearly stated learning outcomes which takes place in formal learning settings. 

 Examples of Structured CPD include: 

  • attending CPD events intended for interpreters, e.g. a training course, workshop, or conference 
  • attending CPD events relevant to professional interpreting, e.g. training course, workshop, or conference on a related topic 
  • achieving an accredited qualification relevant to your interpreting practice 
  • formally mentoring or supervising another interpreter 
  • being mentored be a qualified interpreter mentor or supervised by an experienced interpreter endorsed by the registration panel.
  • attending pre-recorded or live interpreting online seminars or webinars (with formal registration in advance) 

Registrants must obtain and submit evidence of attendance for any structured CPD event attended.  Evidence of attendance must specify the number of hours spent at the event or activity, and can consist of one or more of the following: 

  • attendance certificates 
  • copy of qualification(s) achieved 
  • signature of event organiser or trainer on registrant’s CPD Log  
  • other documentary evidence of attendance at the event 

Evidence of attendance should be retained by the registrant for potential CPD audits. 

Travel time cannot be counted towards structured CPD hours. 

Writing or maintaining an ISL Video Reflective Journal for a Structured CPD event is optional, and can be counted towards a minimum of 0.5 extra CPD hours, additional to the CPD hours given for attending the event.   

Structured CPD activities can be completed in topics relevant to the business and practice of interpretinge.g. Start your Own Business’ courses, bookkeeping for self-employed professionals, website design, etc.  The secretariat can clarify which activities can be counted as structure CPD hours, before being carried out.  

CPD hours must be earned as attendees of CPD events, not as interpreters engaged to work at such events. 

Unstructured CPD 

Unstructured CPD is defined as reflective activities or practices which assist practitioners and contribute to their professional development.  

 Examples of Unstructured CPD include: 

  • shadowing or observing other professional interpreters at work, with a subsequent debriefing session 
  • attending formal meetings related to the interpreting profession and practice 
  • attending planned informal meetings of interpreters to discuss practice 
  • receiving and reflecting on feedback from clients 
  • receiving informal mentoring or supervision, including informal/ non-facilitated peer group supervision 
  • private study  e.g. reading articles, books, journals, reports, research and seminar papers, or watching online interpreting presentations  (YouTube or Vimeo)
  • involvement with development and delivery of relevant training courses or structured CPD opportunities 
  • involvement in a committee, sub-committee or other group within an association, or other activities that promote the profession 

Unstructured CPD activity carried out must be evidenced in a written or ISL video Reflective Journal entry, or similarly structured piece of reflective writing in English or video in Irish Sign LanguageUnstructured CPD hours not accompanied by a corresponding Reflective Journal entry cannot count towards Unstructured CPD hours requirements. A template for Reflective Journal entries can be found in interpreter resources. 

Reflective Journal entries should be retained by the registrant for CPD audits and checks.  

Travel time cannot be counted towards Unstructured CPD hours. 

 Deaf Community Engagement (DCE) 

Deaf Community Engagement is defined as attendance at Deaf community events and activities for the purposes of maintaining and improving Irish Sign Language receptive and productive skills and broadening knowledge and familiarity with Irish Deaf culture, history and politics 

 Examples of Deaf Community Engagement include attendance at or participation in: 

  • Deaf theatrical / musical performances 
  • Deaf community group social events 
  • public Deaf-related presentation, lecture or events 
  • Deaf leisure or sports events or team training 
  • Deaf religious events 
  • trips / weekends away or abroad with Deaf group  
  • volunteering in fundraising or charity events with Deaf group  
  • social meetings with local Deaf people 

For any Deaf Community Engagement (DCE) activity attended, registrants must evidence the activity by   recording a brief video in ISL known as a DCE Video Diary. DCE hours not accompanied by a corresponding DCE Video Diary cannot count towards DCE hour requirements. 

 In a DCE Video Diary, the interpreter, in ISL, describes: 

  • the setting where the event took place (community centre, pub, café, etc.) 
  • a brief description of the event, numbers of people present, etc. 
  • a brief description of the interpreter’s interactions e.g. if they were in a group conversation 
  • new learning, vocabulary, variation of ISL you have seen used, grammatical information etc. 

A five to ten minute video is sufficient for each Video Diary entry. Registrants should be mindful of confidentiality and never identify individuals by name. The video should be recorded somewhere away from the event itself, and should not show participants in the event. 

DCE Video Diaries should be retained carefully by the registrant, in the event they are required for a CPD Check. 

A maximum of two hours can be counted for any Deaf community eventRegistrants with a DCE CPD hours requirement greater than 2 hours (i.e. registrants in their CPD Cycle 2 and beyond) must attend more than one Deaf community event to satisfy the requirement.   Travel time cannot be counted towards DCE hours. 

Registrants are encouraged to interact with Deaf attendees at such events, and use ISL at all times. Registrants can attend events and activities alongside other interpreters and interpreting students, though it is recommended that their interactions at such events with each other should be in ISL. Registrants are encouraged to vary the events and activities within the Deaf community which they attend. See Appendix 4 for a comprehensive list of activities and Deaf organisations providing such activities. 

CPD Hours  

Requirements for ISL / English Interpreters (not Deaf) 

Within each CPD Cycle, registrants must complete and evidence minimum levels of CPD across the three categories of CPD. The current system of CPD requirements for registrants and the minimum proportions of CPD in each category are given below. 

The fourth category labelled ‘Registrant’s Choice indicates that once minimum requirements are met in the other three categories, registrants are free to select which category of CPD they wish to meet requirements for the remainder of their yearly CPD. 


Structured CPD, minimum Half
Unstructured CPD, minimum One- sixth
Deaf Community Engagement, minimum One- sixth
Registrant’s Choice (any of the above) One- sixth 


CPD requirements will increase for registrants on a phased basis for the first three years of their registration. The total number of CPD Hours will increase as the registrant completes ‘CPD Cycles’ (i.e. periods of 12 months measured from the date of their initial registration). The total amount of hours of CPD that must be carried out by registrants is given below. The minimum hours for CPD types are indicated alongside total hours. 

Phasing Total Hours Per CPD Cycle Structured CPD


Unstructured CPD (minimum) DCE


Registrant’s Choice 
CPD Cycle 1  12  6  2  2  2 
CPD Cycle 2  18  9  3  3  3 
CPD Cycle 3+  24  12  4  4  4 


The Registration Panel may in the future alter the system of categories, hours, and/or proportions of CPD required of registrants.  

Requirements for ISL / English Interpreters (Deaf) 

Within each CPD Cycle, Deaf Interpreter registrants must complete and evidence CPD across two CPD categories in a particular proportion. This CPD requirement structure differs from that assigned to non-Deaf interpreters (see Section 2.1). This is due to the fact that Deaf interpreters, arising from their role and skill set, can be assumed to already be culturally Deaf, with pre-existing fluency in ISL and deep and intimate knowledge of the Deaf community.  


The current system of CPD requirements for Deaf interpreter registrants and minimum proportions of CPD in each category are given below. The third category labelled ‘Registrant’s Choice’ indicates that once minimum requirements are met in the other two categories, registrants are free to select which category of CPD they wish to meet their requirements for the remainder of their yearly CPD. 

Structured CPD, minimum  Half 
Unstructured CPDminimum   One- quarter 
Registrant’s Choice (any of the above)  One- quarter 


CPD requirements will increase for Deaf interpreter registrants on a phased basis for the first three years of their registration. The total number of CPD Hours will increase as the registrant completes ‘CPD Cycles’ (i.e. a year from the date of their registration). The total amount of hours of CPD that must be carried out by registrants is given below. The minimum hours for CPD types are indicated alongside the totals. 

Phasing  Total Hours Per CPD Cycle  Structured CPD 


Unstructured CPD (minimum)  Optional 
CPD Cycle 1  12  6  3  3 
CPD Cycle 2  18  9     
CPD Cycle 3+  24  12  4  4 


 The Registration Panel may in the future alter the categories, hours and/or proportions of CPD required of Deaf Interpreter registrants.  


Requirements for Specialisation Panel members 

Within each CPD Cycle, registrants who are members of a Specialisation Panel must complete and evidence a proportion of their CPD specific to each of their specialisation(s) (e.g. RH – Healthcare interpreting, RL – Legal interpreting – but not RD, Deaf Interpreting2). This proportion of overall CPD for the CPD Cycle is incorporated into the yearly CPD requirements of RISLI, and is not additional to it. One-sixth of a specialised registrant’s CPD must be directly relevant to their specialisation. This CPD can be either Structured or Unstructured CPD, but not Deaf Community Engagement. 


CPD (Structured or Unstructured) relevant to each specialisation, minimum  One-sixth 
CPD (all categories) not relevant to specialisation  [Remainder] 


Specialised CPD requirements will increase for registrants on a phased basis for the first three years of their registration. The total number of hours will increase as the registrant holds their registration and completes ‘CPD Cycles’ (i.e. a year from the date of their registration). The total amount of hours of Specialised CPD that must be carried out by registrants is given below. The minimum hours for CPD types are indicated alongside the totals. 


Phasing  Total Hours Per CPD Cycle  Specialised CPD, Structured or Unstructured (minimum) 
CPD Cycle 1  12  2 
CPD Cycle 2  18  3 
CPD Cycle 3+  24  4 


The Registration Panel may in the future change the system of hours and/or proportions of Specialised CPD required of registrants who are members of Specialisation Panels. 

CPD Portfolio and Evidencing

The CPD Portfolio is the record of evidence of the CPD registrants have carried out. The CPD Portfolio includes five main components: 

  • Personal Learning Plan (PLP): Registrants should identify learning and development needs they plan to address during the coming CPD cycle, and outlines their desired learning outcomes 
  • Evidence of Attendance: For each Structured CPD opportunity needs to be evidenced with attendance certificatecopy of qualification achieved, signatures on your CPD Log, or other documentary evidence of attendance 
  • Reflective Journal: For each Unstructured CPD opportunity, a piece of reflective writing or ISL Video must be included, providing information on what the registrant learned from the CPD activity and how it contributed to their professional development as an interpreter.  
  • DCE Video DiaryFor each Deaf Community Engagement activity attended, a short video in ISL with some brief details about the event and what new vocabulary, grammatical or cultural features the registrant learned or reflected on from it.  
  • CPD Log: A note of what CPD the registrant did, and when, providing the name and a brief description of the CPD activity. Also noting whether the CPD activity is Structured, Unstructured, or Deaf Community Engagement (DCE), to include names, dates, and duration spent on the activity.  

All the above information should be retained by the registrant for presentation at a potential CPD Audit.

Information and Resources 

 Online CPD Portal 

RISLI’s Website will feature a password-protected CPD Portal for registrants. Here, registrants will have the option to upload all elements of their CPD Portfolio. 


CPD Calendar and Database 

A database of CPD events and resources is available on the register website under News and Events, where CPD resources will be available and a calendar of events is maintained. 



CPD audits will be conducted annually of approximately 5% of the total number of registered interpreters.  Interpreters will be selected at random each year for a CPD Check.  

Registrant chosen for a CPD audit will be audited on their most recently completed CPD Cycle. Registrants will not be asked to undergo a CPD Check until they have completed at one full CPD Cycle (12 months).   

Registrants must comply with requests from the Registration Panel to audit CPD records.  

The registered interpreter will be notified in writing if  chosen for a CPD audit.  

The secretariat or appointed assessor may need to verify information provided, such as contacting the CPD provider cited in the evidence submitted if required. 

 The Assessor will complete a CPD Audit Report, this report can include:  

  • confirmation of satisfactory or unsatisfactory audit outcome
  • additional feedback and requirements where necessary  

Exemptions Policy 

 Registered interpreters may apply to have CPD requirements reduced or suspended for the current CPD Cycle.  request must be submitted to the Registration Panel outlining the reasons why the registrant needs an exemption including any evidence to support the request.  


Mentoring Programme

Mentoring Programme

 The Mentoring programme is being developed to support registered Irish Sign Language interpreters to advance within the professional field and to enhance skills and knowledge for the development of their career.

The Register will support the development of a Mentoring programme for experienced registered interpreters to access.  Training costs to the interpreter will be subsidised.  Once qualified, mentors can work independently. 

This policy provides a brief outline of the Mentoring programme currently being developed. 


RISLI definition of: 

Mentoring is to provide developmental support and guidance to interpreters at any stage of their professional career who wishing to focus on certain aspects of their profession career.  Mentoring supports interpreters to focus on specific areas of their career throughout their career. 

 A mentor is a registered interpreter trained as a Mentor who is willing to provide guidance and professional support to sign language interpreters. 

 A mentee is an interpreter who may at any time during their career path, seek support and guidance for the development of their professional career. 

Who can train as a mentor?  As part of the Mentoring Programme, RISLI have researched and will support an accredited training programme for experienced interpreters wishing to become Mentors. 

Interpreters studying to become mentors can record hours as part of their CPD Portfolio.

Once qualified, RISLI will maintain a mentors directory on  Mentors will work freelance and arrangements made are between the mentor and mentee.  RISLI will not cover the cost of mentoring for interpreters.