Fellow (FCIL) and chartership

Fellowship is CIOL's highest level of professional membership. A Fellow is a role model and ambassador for the language professions, demonstrating a commitment to promoting and sharing the highest standards. Fellows in current professional practice will also be eligible to apply for chartership.


Who can apply?

Applicants for Fellowship will normally be linguists of advanced professional standing with a proven track record and high level of linguistic competence in more than one foreign language.

Applicants will normally hold at recognised qualification in a foreign language at UK degree or postgraduate level (or equivalent) or higher. Other certificates and diplomas (at degree and postgraduate level) will also be considered on the basis that CIOL is able to determine comparability through UK NARIC.

If upgrading from Member (MCIL) you will normally have been a full CIOL Member for at least five years. You will need to evidence career progression since the date of your admission.

If you are seeking "direct entry" fellowship (ie you are not a CIOL member), you will normally have at least ten years work experience at a senior level, using your foreign language skills.

Professional standing

Applicants will be asked to illustrate their professional standing and distinction as a linguist. Evidence may include information on any or all of the following:

  • original published works
  • activity undertaken that supports the aims of CIOL, either within CIOL or elsewhere
  • professional contributions beyond the scope of your position/role
  • evidence of your commitment to advancing, promoting and sharing the highest standards in the language profession

More information can be found in the PDF iconadmissions criteria (FCIL).

Applying for chartership

Applicants seeking chartership alongside fellowship will need to meet the PDF iconadmissions criteria (FCIL). You should be in current professional practice and be able to evidence CPD undertaken over the last two years. You will also be required to submit a 12-month forward CPD plan based on reflection of previous CPD.

Why join?

  • Recognition of advanced professional standing
  • Practising linguists can also apply to become a Chartered Linguist, at the point of application further indicating commitment to your own professional development and to raising standards
  • Use of the designatory letters FCIL and CIOL Fellow logo to display on your website, social media profile, email footer, CV
  • If chartered, you can also use the designation Chartered Linguist, CL or CL, plus specialism e.g. CL (Interpreter). Chartered Linguists will also receive a practising certificate
  • Competitive rates for Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Access to a free Legal Helpline
  • Free entry with unlimited specialisation choices in CIOL's online Find-a-Linguist directory, putting new clients in touch with you
  • Templates for the practising freelance translator and interpreters including terms of business and sample contract
  • Access to a range of CIOL Info sheets on topics such as certified translations, tax and VAT guidance, utilising social media, creating a powerful CV and much more
  • Discounts on a range of products and services such as favorable rates for MemoQ software
  • A free copy of The Linguist, CIOL's professional journal issued six times a year
  • Monthly members' update including CIOL news, event and updates
  • Opportunity to attend networking events and to participate in CIOL surveys

Continuing Professional Development; Members can participate in a range of sector specific CPD events offered by CIOL and its professional divisions. Members can also access a range of CPD webinars through CIOL partner organisation eCPD Webinars, benefitting from a special member discount.

Members can join one or more of CIOL's professional divisions – Translating, Interpreting or BPG (Business, Professions and Government) which provide unique face-to-face networking events, CPD activities and online forums.

What does it cost?

There is a one-off non-refundable £25.00 assessment fee/upgrade fee which must be paid at the point of application or upgrade. The annual membership fee, payable once your membership has been confirmed, is £149.00 (by Direct Debit and for overseas members) and £159.00 for all other payment methods. Your fellowship fee will be pro-rated quarterly if you join part-way through the membership year. There is no additional fee to apply for chartership.

When can I join?

The membership year runs from 1 September to 31 August but you can apply at any time.

What do I do next?

Read the full fellowship admissions criteria to determine your eligibility. Then gather the evidence. You will need:

  • Your CV
  • Copies of your qualifications (direct entry only)
  • Details of your experience to date including details of professional standing such as published works
  • The names of two referees who are able to comment on your language skills and professional practice - referees should be native or near-native speakers of the language(s) you are seeking membership in
  • If seeking chartership – evidence of CPD and your future CPD plans (please read the PDF iconadmissions criteria (CL) in full to ensure you are eligible to apply for chartership)
  • You will also need your credit or debit card to pay the £25.00 assessment fee/upgrade fee

What next?

Once the application form has been received, plus the assessment fee/upgrade fee, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement. CIOL will then assess the evidence to ensure we have everything we need to present your application to the CIOL Applications Committee. The Committee meets four times a year. If you are also seeking chartership, your fellowship application will be considered first.

What next?

Once your application form and payment have been received you will receive an automatic acknowledgement. CIOL will then assess the evidence provided and will endeavour to confirm your admission to membership within 30 working days.


More questions?

Please take a look at our FAQs in the first instance.


Join online today

Simply complete our online form to become a Fellow.

For further information on how to apply and/or admissions criteria, please contact the membership team.