Obviously too late for the original poster, but...
Having compiled more than half a dozen CDs for professional bodies in the UK
over the last year (medics, auditors, architects, accountants etc.), having
written mountains of multimedia sales training material for Hewlett-Packard
over the last year, being an experienced further and higher education
lecturer, and being a specialised medical/legal/financial translator, I have
good reason to come across this term quite a lot, and I can confirm Nikki's
view: the best (in fact, only) British English translation is 'continuous
professional development', often referred to as CPD (though the answer may
be different in other English-speaking countries - see below).
In the medical field, see for example the UK Royal College of Physicians'
(RCP is the largest professional doctors' organisation in the UK, giving the
letters after a doctor's name of MRCP)
The term 'continuous professional development' is also used by all the
professional bodies of which I am a member e.g. Society of Indexers
Institute of Linguists
when it's up), ITI
(I've had to fill out a lot of forms recently from some of these people
It's also used by a US professional association of which I am a member, the
ACM, which is the biggest and oldest computing society in the world, with a
very international membership - see for example:
"..and professional development seminars for persons already in the field."
The term also features widely on the website of the Chartered Institute of
Personnel & Development (CIPD), the major UK personnel and training
management body. Note that word 'development' in the Institute's title!
Yes, it's referring to professional development!
In fact, you'll find the term on the website and in the membership
documentation of every UK professional body (but not the term 'continuing
'Continuing education' has a much wider meaning in the UK than CPD,
encompassing virtually any type of adult education beyond basic literacy:
e.g. further and higher education in universities and colleges, distance
education, any type of adult non-vocational and vocational education,
elearning, *lifelong learning*-style initiatives, creative writing circles,
See for example the website for NIACE, the UK's National Institute of Adult
Continuing Education, whose mission is to
"support an increase in the total numbers of adults engaged in formal and
informal learning in England and Wales; and at the same time to take
positive action to improve opportunities and widen access to learning
opportunities for those communities under-represented in current provision"
As you can see, this is pretty wide-ranging, and has very little to do with
further/in-service training for professionals (i.e. beyond basic
The fact that a term *exists* does not necessarily imply that it is the
*correct* or the most appropriate translation. Terminology may have nuances
can only be known with experience of its use.
There's probably definitely a UK/US issue here as well though - so often on
this list people post a reply stating that 'xyx' *is THE translation*, when
in fact different countries have different translations. Although I find
'professional development' used on the ACM website, I strongly suspect that
the frequency of use or even the semantic fields of the two terms are
quite different in the US, and I wouldn't presume to judge what might be the
most appropriate translation there. Perhaps posters should be encouraged to
which language variant they are translating *into* as well as from.
University of Sussex
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