The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has an interesting and constructive approach to CPD, which is no doubt also applicable to other professions.
On the main RIBA CPD page it says:
Doing CPD helps you in three key ways:
- It reinforces your professionalism and competence
- It offers you unique benefits
- It helps you to take charge of your career and your business
It goes on to say:
How you structure and carry out your CPD is very flexible and you can get it from any source. Your CPD choices are in your hands.
A separate page explains what counts as CPD and provides a comprehensive list of examples for structured CPD on the one hand and informal CPD on the other. The value of points page illustrates that you decide how many points each CPD activity is worth.
See also excellent article by fellow translation professional Lisa Simpson under the heading When CPD becomes Compulsory Passive Diversion, which includes a link to an entertaining (but at the same time somewhat alarming) article by lawyer Dan Bunting under the heading The Great CPD Scam.
Update 3 June 2016
It goes without saying that professional translators carry out informal CPD on a daily basis. Occasionally, they even find time to reflect on it.
In the context of reviewing translation work, Lisa Simpson recently highlighted the significance of informal CPD with this statement: “I cannot imagine a day when I will stop learning or be able to claim that I know more than any other translator in my field“.