11 Aug 2021
by Charlie Gobbett

My CPD story - Charlie Gobbett

In the third  of our series  of interviews with  ITI members about their CPD, we talk to Charlie Gobbett MITI, translator from French and German, who has been logging his CPD and achieving his CPD badges ever since the system was started.

What is your main motivation for doing  CPD?

I think it’s important to send a signal to your customers and colleagues that you are serious about your profession, that you are developing your skills and that you are keeping abreast of industry developments and trends. As a freelance translator, keeping CPD goals in mind is also a good way of motivating yourself to further your expertise in your specialist fields, and with the equipment and software you use.

And as an established translator, it’s important not to rest on your laurels. CPD is a good excuse for expanding your professional work into other areas of interest, too – even if you don’t think  you can make these pay, as enlarging your skills base can help you in other respects.

Do you have an active CPD plan, and if so, how do you plan what to do?

I have to confess I’m not very good at making a formal plan. However, my efforts to branch into theatre translation in the last couple of years have required making quite a detailed ‘road map’ of where I want to be in that field, which I have (mostly) kept to quite well.

Do you have a preferred or favourite form of CPD?

I prefer face-to-face training events because I get more out of personal contact and the opportunity to network and socialise with colleagues old and new. But webinars are a good compromise because they are much more accessible and save on travel and related expenses.

Other forms of CPD can feel more like a leisure activity than work – I regularly watch the France 2 breakfast news bulletin on weekday mornings and listen to French news radio, and I must have read 20 to 25 French plays in the last couple of years.

I even managed to convince myself that a trip to Paris a year ago to see my favourite French playwright’s latest play was a justifiable business expense! I also got the chance to have my translation of a French play read by professional actors at the Foreign Affairs theatre group – a tremendous experience!

Which kinds of CPD that you have done in the past have added the most value to your work and skills?

Going to travel industry trade fairs in London and France (especially on trade-only days) gave me an opportunity to talk to a lot of French tour operators and regional/departmental tourist boards about what they are looking for in their translated texts (and also to educate them about the importance of sourcing creative translations!).

How many hours of CPD do you do in a typical year?

In the 2020/21 CPD year I logged a full 68 hours of CPD (a lot more than in previous years). That includes reading quite a few plays and watching French TV and the occasional French film, plus going to the ITI Conference in Sheffield and the Warwick Translates literary translation summer school. So was a bumper year!

Some people find it useful to set up a CPD budget. Do you have one, and if so, how do you plan it?

I tend to look out for CPD events and opportunities that really appeal to me and then ‘bend’ my budget to accommodate them! That said, sometimes I do have to miss out on CPD events that I would love to attend as money is a bit tight or because I can’t always fit them in.

How have you benefited from having your ‘CPD Achieved’ badges displayed on your profile?

To be honest, I don’t really get any work directly through my details on the ITI website. However, the ‘CPD Achieved’ badge makes me feel good and lets my colleagues know I’m serious about what I do.

Do you have any advice for people unsure whether to undertake or log their CPD?

When you find things related to the fields and/or languages you’re working in that really interest you, use CPD as an excuse to learn more about them! And spend as much as you can reasonably afford – it’ll feel more justifiable if you’re enjoying yourself as well as (hopefully) furthering your career.

And what CPD plans do you have for the future?

I want to carry on learning about the professional theatre industry in the UK and keeping abreast of which languages/authors/themes get stage time in translation in the UK. That means as many trips to the theatre as I can afford – in terms of both time and money.


Charlie Gobbett

Charlie Gobbett

Charlie Gobbett is a creative translator who has been working in high-end consumer products, popular science, the travel industry and many other fields for over 20 years. He is an emerging French theatre translator, and his first play in translation The Nantwich Players’ production of Kiss me, stupid!, will be staged in July 2022, having been delayed over a year by the pandemic. He would love to make a living from theatre translation but is not sure if anyone actually does...