13 Dec 2021
by Hayley Smith

Plan, do, review: how I make the CPD circle work for me

Hayley Smith is a member ITI's Professional Development Committee. Here she explains how reviewing her CPD over the past year is helping her formulate plans for the year ahead.

Following the recent Professional Development Committee meeting, our final one of 2021, I found myself reflecting upon my own CPD for the past calendar year. I knew I had exceeded my 30-hour target, but what had I actually achieved? And what can I do more, or less, of in 2022 to help achieve my career goals, and enjoy myself while I do it?

It’s time that I level with you. For someone who can be excessively organised in some parts of my life (my devil-may-care husband finds my holiday itineraries rather amusing), in others I am not at all strategic, preferring to “go with the flow”. For that reason, I’ve never been very good at actually coming up with a CPD plan, but I would like that to change for 2022. The great thing about the CPD logging tool on the (now not-so) new ITI website is that you can so easily view all your past CPD. So, to inform my plans for next year, I took a look at what patterns emerged from this year’s CPD to identify what I got out of it, and potential areas for improvement in 2022.

Looking back, although I did undertake some formal CPD via training courses, webinars, and the ITI Conference, it seems as though the common thread through my record is professional contribution in its many guises. You might know already that I sit on the ITI Board and that I’m part of the Professional Development Committee, but I have also presented to business owners and other organisations about how language services could boost their work.

My reasons for undertaking such CPD are manifold; I do genuinely enjoy being more widely involved with my chosen profession, but it would be disingenuous not to admit that its also a great way to network. I can’t say that such committee or outreach work has necessarily brought extra business my way, but the connections and working relationships that I’m building now are helping progress my career in other ways, and I have the opportunity to learn from my more experienced peers.

A surprising amount of my CPD hours were spent on pro bono translation for NGOs. There were two sides to this – on the one hand, exploring a new language pair, and on the other, a genuine desire to “give back” using my existing languages. I’m currently learning Portuguese following a move to Lisbon last year, and I embraced the opportunity to translate a local pet shelter’s website into English to gain some experience in translating out of Portuguese. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it took me rather a long time – something that doesn’t matter so much when it’s a pro bono project with no deadline!

I also carried out a number of translations for a biodiversity-focused NGO, which recently received some funding and can now actually pay a small amount for some translations. This is a lovely, unexpected outcome, and although I was very happy to translate for them on a voluntary basis, it served as further evidence for me of how CPD can literally pay dividends later on down the line.

Looking forward to next year, I am aware that I need to concentrate on CPD that could legitimately increase my earning potential, and this is something I need to give some serious thought. However, the first thing I’ll be adding to my plan is a Plain English course. I have been asked a few times by NGO clients whether I can translate monolingually from English into Plain English, something that, currently, I do not feel confident enough to provide, but that I know I would enjoy greatly.

In spite of this, I can’t see that I will spend any less time on professional contribution, and that is something with which I have made my peace. As much as our CPD is about our professional development, it’s also deeply personal to us as individuals and those 30+ hours should be as enjoyable as possible!



Hayley Smith

Hayley Smith

Hayley is a freelance translator and charity communications consultant living in Lisbon, Portugal. She translates from French and Spanish (and sometimes Portuguese) into English, and specialises in healthcare and international development texts. She is an Affiliate member of the ITI and sits on the Board of directors