Friday, 13 April 2012

Learning never stops

I was listening to the Today programme this week (a serious news and interviews programme on Radio 4 in the UK) and heard an interview with Nigel Adkins, manager of Southampton Football Club.
Southampton is poised for promotion back into the Premier Division and no small thanks are due to the Manager. Nigel was never a high-level player of football but made the most of the opportunities he came across in life. One comment he made during the interview struck me. “You have to be like a sponge and absorb everything you can so you have it ready for when you need it in the future.” I didn’t write it down so I have paraphrased.
I think that everyone who is keen to get on does this, probably entirely sub-consciously. But it wasn’t until a decade or so ago that we started calling it CPD (continuing professional development) or CE (continuing education).
Karin Band, FITI, who presented a wonderful webinar recently on medical translation simply calls CPD “Keep up”.
Now most professional associations offer CPD training at every turn. But think about it: if your mind is a sponge, you are doing CPD all the time. The trick to successful CPD for professional purposes is to organise and document what your sponge-like mind is taking in.
I have highly professional friends and colleagues who say “I don’t need to do CPD. My work is my CPD”. Indeed it is. But unless you document the research you have been doing or the background reading you have taken on while working on a project, you cannot say you have done any CPD.
I divide my own CPD record into five sections.
  1. · Language learning and assimilation (source languages)
  2. · Language learning and assimilation (target language)
  3. · Business and technical skills
  4. · Translation skills
  5. · Personal development, contribution to the profession, and publications
Over the next few weeks I shall be giving some ideas as to how you can soak up knowledge in all these areas without spending a shedload of cash.
By the way, despite no longer having Chartered Linguist status (see previous post), I still intend to keep up my CPD record. It’s a discipline I enjoy and it makes me think about how I can become even more professional in my work.
Visit eCPD Webinars for more ideas on CPD. Free video