Whether you are a linguist who has then gone on to specialise in a particular field or whether you first spent several years working in a specific industry before moving into translation, you will need to ensure that you keep abreast of changes and particularly linguistic developments in your specialist field.
Section 2.2 of the Code of Professional Practice of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) states:
Translators and interpreters shall keep up to date with developments in the profession and the relevant tools by means of continuing professional development.”
In most professions there is a continuing professional development (CPD) requirement or expectation. Lawyers and doctors regularly attend continuing professional development events. As an in-house translator I was also regularly sent on training courses. As a freelance translator whether you undertake continuing professional development, and if so how much, is basically up to you. However, if you want to come across as a professional and be able to talk on a par with direct clients, you simply have to keep up to date.
What kind of CPD is right for me?
Depending on your background and experience you will probably want to focus your CPD more heavily on specific areas. I think the key is to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Do you need to brush up on your translation skills? Perhaps you would benefit from gaining more in-depth knowledge in your specialist area? How are your business skills? Do you spend enough time reading, listening to and conversing in your foreign language(s) (or your native language if you live abroad)?
Where can I find CPD?
CPD comes in many forms and at different prices:
– Translator associations offer one day and weekend seminars (see the BDÜ, CIL and ITI websites)
– Conferences and trade fairs
– Webinars (eCPD)
– Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) such as Coursera
– University courses (including distance learning courses)
Look around and see what you can find to suit you.