14 Sep 2023
by Hayley Carter-Smith

5 CPD ideas that won't cost you a thing

The best things in life can be free! Hayley Carter-Smith shares some high-quality CPD that will cost you absolutely nothing.

CPD… we all know what an important investment it is. As translators and interpreters, we know that it is an essential part of maintaining our relevance, developing our skillset, and growing our network. There are so many amazing training courses out there, not to mention opportunities to get together with colleagues at conferences, or to meet potential new clients at trade shows.

But, for very valid reasons, many of these training courses or events come with a fee, or require additional expenses such as travel costs. And whether it’s down to the global cost-of-living crisis, a work dry spell or building work that just has to be done (in my case!), money can be tight for all of us, for different reasons and at different times. Luckily, there are lots of options available to help you reach your 30 hours (and beyond!) of CPD without leaving a dent in your budget.

1. Conversation exchange

The idea of conversation exchanges might provoke flashbacks to a more innocent stage of your language learning journey, but I find chatting to a native French speaker very beneficial and enjoyable. It’s been almost 20 years since I lived in France, so I find it keeps my French relevant – especially now I’m living in Portugal and have Portuguese to focus on.

I have an arrangement with a native French speaker translator where we chat in French for half an hour, and in English for the second half an hour. We do, of course, get on very well, but I find the relationship is different when the person you’re having the exchange with isn’t really a friend – you’re willing to correct mistakes, and be more open to receiving corrections yourself!

2. Online learning platforms

I’m not personally familiar with these yet, but I’m planning to investigate further following rave reviews from other translators. Louise and her colleagues at Louise Killeen Translations recommend Coursera and FutureLearn, both of which contain paid-for and free short online courses. The Open University also offers free short courses, including both language- and subject-focused ones (I’m keen to give the International Development one a try). And if you’re learning a new language to add to your translation offering, don’t forget that this counts towards your CPD hours, too. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but DuoLingo is free and easy to fit around your daily schedule.

3. ITI webinars

If you are an ITI member, the webinars included within ITI membership are all free and a great perk, whether you watch them live or later from the vast webinar library. There really is something for everyone, with content focused on growing your business, developing your specialism knowledge, or just learning something new and interesting (I really enjoyed the sports translation webinar, even though it’s not my specialism area). If you are able to join the live event, it will be automatically added to your ITI CPD log, but you can also watch them at your own leisure – just don’t forget to add it to your log afterwards!

4. Mentorship

In what can be an isolating profession, having or being a mentor can be an invaluable experience. Mentors traditionally work with mentees on their business or translation skills development, but mentors can help in other areas, too. I’ve spoken to colleagues recently who have mentors that help them with adapting to working with new technologies, such as CAT tools they haven’t worked with before, or with mentors who work in their subject areas who can help with terminology and other subject knowledge. Many ITI Networks already have formal or informal mentorship schemes in place, but you can also set up your own.


I love listening to podcasts while out running or walking my dogs. I haven’t yet found a way to make my love of true crime podcasts relate to CPD, but I’m sure I could try harder! There are some excellent translation and interpreting podcasts out there, including Source to Target, and there are podcasts available via the ITI website. Although they stopped recording some time ago now, Eve Bodeux and Corinne McKay’s excellent Speaking of Translation podcast is still available online, and contains excellent business tips and insights from two highly successful professional linguists.

These are just a select few ideas, and I know there will be hundreds of other options. There are times, of course, when that paid-for CPD opportunity will be worth every penny, but the costs can quickly mount up.

When it comes to your CPD, remember to plan, do, and review, and, as with many things in life, remember to be discerning and to verify the credibility and quality of the CPD resources on offer. And, most of all, make sure it’s something you will enjoy doing!



Remember to log your CPD using the ITI logging tool. It is quick and easy to use and provides evidence to clients and agencies of your achievements.

When you achieve the annual target of 30 hours you will be awarded a certificate and logo to use on your website and other marketing materials. MITIs and FITIs will automatically have the logo added to their Directory profile.