About CPD

What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is about training and learning to help you grow and move your career forward. It enables you to extend your skills, competencies and knowledge, and may lead to diversifying and working in new areas and specialisms. It may lead to new clients and even to enhanced rates of pay. CPD is an invaluable addition to your CV and your professional profile.

CPD can take the form of online learning, face-to-face learning, and can also include more informal activities such as volunteering, reading, listening and watching films and TV in your second language.

Frequently asked questions

What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

CPD is a form of life-long learning for professionals. It helps conscientious practitioners to maintain and develop their knowledge, skills and expertise.

Do I have to do it?

CPD is not mandatory for CIOL members, but strongly encouraged. It is however a mandatory requirement of Chartered Linguist registration.

Why do it?

Through a proactive, systematic and wide-ranging CPD regime, you can continually develop your professional self and practice. Here are just some of the benefits that this can bring:

  • Improved productivity and quality of work
  • Sharper professional skills (including language skills) and sounder judgement
  • Awareness of changes in your fields / industry
  • Preservation of trust of existing clients and increased prospects of acquiring new ones
  • Your CPD record will complement your existing qualifications and professional experience to show your clients that you go the extra mile

How do I do CPD?

To carry out CPD effectively you should: 

  • Reflect: take stock of your achievements, capabilities, shortcomings and priorities.
  • Plan: what CPD activities will help you bring about the required actions you have identified? Consider prioritising these.
  • Act: carry out the activities. Recording details of each activity and learning outcomes as they happen helps with the other steps.
  • Evaluate: how well have the actions met your aims? What impact have the activities had on your business, and how would you evaluate this impact? This evaluation will inform the next cycle of reflection, planning and action.

What makes CPD relevant?

Our approach is that any CPD activity is relevant as long as you can justify that it has a positive impact on your professional practice.

Are training courses the only form of CPD activity?

No, face-to-face training courses are just one of many different types of activity you can undertake in order to engage in CPD. 

See 'What CPD activities are there?' below for examples.

What CPD activities are there?

CPD that is relevant to professional linguists can take many forms – see below for a non-exhaustive list. Remember that most of these can also be carried out in your other language(s):


  • Professional language workshops, courses, conferences, seminars and lectures
  • E-learning e.g. webinars and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)


  • Language newspapers and periodicals
  • Literature
  • Relevant professional publications e.g. The Linguist
  • Publications related to your professional specialism and/or chosen specialist subject area (for translators and interpreters)


  • Writing book reviews, blogging, articles for The Linguist or other relevant publications
  • Producing academic research


  • Listening to relevant radio and TV programmes
  • Teaching
  • Delivering teaching/training

Getting involved

  • Visits e.g. to client facilities, libraries, cultural activities, social and networking events
  • Volunteering for the CIOL (Council, committees, networks) or other language organisations

Other skills

  • Learning administrative/office management skills (through self-study or training courses)
  • Learning to use new software packages (through self-study or training courses)

Recommended reading

Learn in greater depth about the practice of CPD with these two recommended books: