Disclaimer: I’m really excited about today’s post! CPD is always a hot topic in the world of professional freelance translation, so when your translator BFF and CPD guru offers to write a post on her insights into the topic for your blog, well, only a fool would refuse. Many of you will have seen Kasia’s previous interview here on Bella Lingo, but for those of you have not had the privilege of meeting this lovely lady, you can pop on over to her webpage by clicking here. Take it away, Kasia…
Some time ago I proudly added the Committed to Professional Development badge to my website. Yes, I’m a bit of a CPD addict, so adding the badge felt more than appropriate. But only recently, when proofreading the Polish version of the CPD manifesto did I feel like it was time to reflect on this area once again. So here are some of my thoughts on the topic.
Be strategic before…
Make sure that before spending money you specify your goals. According to research, only about 5% of us actually write down our goals and those are the ones who succeed in achieving them.
I remember a time when I would enroll for any course or workshop vaguely related to my areas of interest. While it may not be such a bad idea at the beginning of your CPD journey, in a while you may realise that you need a clearer focus. Plan your CPD budget for a year and stick to it. There are a lot of good courses, but also a lot of junk out there. Make conscious decisions – why not to ask former course participants for their opinions and experiences?
Take time to record your CPD activities, review and reflect upon them. It is as important (if not more) as attending training itself. For this purpose you can, for example, use the CPD form offered by the CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists) or you can create your own.
Think how can you utilise the newly gained knowledge and skills in your business from day one.
And show it to the world! Share it with your clients and fellow linguists by updating your social media profiles, CVs, promotional materials – how about writing a blog post with a review of the training you’ve just attended?
Information is everywhere – sometimes you just need to look around. Check what’s on offer from your local university or college, if there are any valuable events happening nearby. Don’t forget about online resources such as MOOCs (for example: Coursera or Future Learn).
Think like a business owner
Which brings us back to the strategic thinking. Remember that time is money, so before hitting the ‘register’ button to attend yet another event ask yourself:
- What areas do I need to improve?
- Do I really need to learn it or can I hire someone to do it for me?
- Can I justify another day spent out of office?
Be a lifelong learner
If you haven’t noticed it yet – it’s a must in our business. Being a linguist is all about continuous development. Technology is changing, so is the type of content we translate – and I think that constant challenges and striving for perfection is what makes our job so exciting and fulfilling. It’s one of these professions which requires you to stay up-to-date with the current trends. Perhaps that is why only the highly motivated are able to survive on the market and become well-rounded professionals.
By sharing what you have learnt with other linguists you not only self-promote and advocate for yourself, but also you make difference to other freelancers by helping to raise standards and strengthen the whole industry. Finally, teaching is also a very enriching experience and you can be sure you will learn a lot from your audience, readers or students. It can be as simple as sharing your CPD experiences on social media or your blog.
It’s not all about work
I don’t know about you, but I love learning new skills. No matter if it’s for professional purposes or purely for fun. Any new subject, from doing yoga to crafts, allows my mind to relax and to reflect on my skills in other areas…and also my professional work. So even when my diary is packed, I make sure I fit in some non-work related training.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have any strategy in place when it comes to training? What are you professional development plans for this year?