Find your grade

Whatever stage of your career you're at, and however you use (or intend to use) your professional language skills, there is a CIOL membership grade for you. As your career develops our membership pathway will support you and will enable you to advance your career goals.

Membership will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding, maintain vital professional standards and help you to stay up-to-date through our professional networks, sector-specific information, professional qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities.

CIOL membership is a mark of quality assurance: a respected third-party endorsement. It confirms to clients, employers and peers that you meet the highest professional standards for good practice in the use of your language skills. Membership is categorised as follows:


Pre-professional grades

Our pre-professional, affiliate grades are for linguists studying either an academic, vocational or professional language qualification and for linguists who are just starting their career.

Student Affiliate

Typically you will be an undergraduate studying a single honours degree in a foreign language or a joint honours degree where a language is combined with another subject. Or you may be studying a post-graduate qualification such as a Master in Translation. CIOL membership is free whilst you are studying and applications are welcomed from students based in the UK and overseas. On successful completion of your qualification you will be eligible to upgrade to Career Affiliate, your first step to professional membership. See PDF iconAdmissions criteria for full information.

IoLET Affiliate

You will be preparing for and/or intending to enter for an IoLET professional examination e.g. the Diploma in Translation, the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting or the Certificate in Languages for Business. Membership is valid for 12 months from the date of joining. A range of benefits are associated with this grade of membership including access to past papers and examiners' reports plus a discount on exam preparation workshops. On successful completion of your qualification you will be invited to upgrade to the next appropriate grade of membership depending on your work experience to date this could be Career Affiliate, Associate or full Member. See PDF iconAdmissions criteria for full information. You can also read FAQs about this grade.

Career Affiliate

This grade of membership is for qualified linguists who do not yet have the work experience to be admitted as an Associate member. It is also intended to cater for linguists who use their foreign language skills as part of their role e.g. the bi-lingual administrator but who may not have a formal qualification in their non-native language.  Membership is for 12 months, from 1 September  to 31 August. See PDF iconAdmissions criteria for full information.


Professional grades

Achieving professional membership demonstrates that you have met the rigorous requirements and standards for good practice in the professional use of your language skills. Membership is open to anyone who uses their foreign language skills in the course of their work. There are three grades of professional membership: Associate (ACIL), full Member (MCIL) and Fellow (FCIL), plus chartership:

Associate (ACIL)

Designed for the practising linguist who is just starting their career. You will have a minimum of one year's work experience in your chosen field using your language skills professionally, plus a UK degree or equivalent qualification in your non-native language. See PDF iconAdmissions criteria for full information.

Member (MCIL)

Aimed at the more experienced linguist, you will hold a degree level (or higher) qualification, in your non-native language and have a minimum of three years' experience (two if you hold a Masters qualification or equivalent). Linguists with at least five years relevant experience as a language practitioner will also be eligible to apply to become a Chartered Linguist (CL). See PDF iconAdmissions criteria for full information.

Fellow (FCIL)

Fellowship is the highest level of professional membership and is for linguists working at a senior level, with recognised professional standing.  Typically a fellow is a role model and ambassador for the language professions, demonstrating a commitment to promoting and sharing the highest standards. Fellowship recognises advanced professional standing, distinction as a linguist and/or a distinguished service to languages. A high level of linguistic competence in more than one foreign language is an essential requirement. The award of Fellowship is not intended to confer status, but to confirm it. You will have at least ten years' work experience and be educated to at least degree level in your non-native language. See PDF iconAdmissions criteria (FCIL) for full information.