About the Chartered Institute of Linguists

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is the pre-eminent UK-based professional membership body for language practitioners. It aims to enhance the recognition and promote the value of languages and language skills in the public interest. Founded in 1910, CIOL has almost 6,000 members. It aims to:

  • serve the professional interests of its members by delivering high quality services and promoting the interests of the profession

  • provide nationally-accredited, professional qualifcations and set standards for language practitioners through its awarding organisation the IoL Educational Trust (IoLET)

  • be an authoritative and respected voice promoting the learning and use of languages, and the status of language work, both in the UK and internationally

  • provide informed advice to bodies and organisations engaged in the formulation of strategy and policy affecting languages

The former Institute of Linguists was granted its Royal Charter by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 19 July 2005 and formally began operating as The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) on 1 September 2005.

CIOL Council election 2017

The results of the election will be announced at CIOL's AGM on Saturday 25 March 2017. We would like to take this opportinity to thank the thirteen candidates who stood for election and to all members who took the time to vote. 

Learn more about CIOL


Our aims and objectives are founded on the belief that knowledge of languages and intercultural competence benefit society economically, culturally and politically.

Our five core values are:

  • International understanding – respect for the diversity of languages and cultures
  • Professionalism – in our dealings with our members, our staff, our customers
  • Integrity – in relation to our members, our staff, our customers
  • Responsibility – to the wider community and the environment
  • Innovation – in our products and services and their delivery

These values are underpinned by a belief in equality and a respect for diversity and difference.

Royal Patron

The Institute's patron is HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO. Prince Michael has his own website with more information about himself and his family. We are honoured to have His Royal Highness present our Annual Awards on a biennial basis.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO

CIOL memberships

CIOL is a member of the following organisations:

  • Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) – a non-profit membership organisation for professional bodies. By being a Member of PARN, we are committed to good practice, kept up to date on current research and are part of a network of professional bodies that learn from and share with each other.
  • Association for Language Learning (ALL) – exists to support and represent language teachers
  • Foundation for Science and Technology (FST) – provides a neutral platform for debate of policy issues that have a science, engineering or technology element
  • International Federation of Translators (FIT) – a federation of national associations for translators, interpreters or terminologists around the world. CIOL is an Observer Member of FIT.


IoLET memberships

CIOL's associated charity the IoL Educational Trust (IoLET) is a member of the following organisations:

  • Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) – works to promote multilingualism across Europe – and beyond – by supporting institutions which produce examinations and certification for language learners

  • Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) – a trade association, representing organisations that award vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom

IoLET's professional qualifications can lead to registration with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) – the UK’s independent voluntary regulator of professional interpreters specialising in public service.

IoLET memberships

Who we support

Speak to the Future – The campaign for languages – highlighting the importance of languages, language learning and professional language activities for the UK.

Routes into Languages – A consortium of universities working together with schools and colleges, to enthuse and encourage people to study languages.

Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) – A consortium of professional interpreters’ organisations which challenges the private outsourcing of interpreter provision to UK courts and police services, aims to establish communications between UK government and interpreter organisations and pushes for regulation of the interpreting profession and protection of the title Legal Interpreter.

Logos we support

Who are linguists and what do they do?

Practising CIOL members are qualified, experienced language professionals for whom extensive knowledge of one or more foreign languages is a prerequisite for their work.

They may, for example, be translators, interpreters, teachers of modern foreign languages, university lecturers or professionals who use their foreign language skills as a core part of their role in business, the professions or government.