Chartered Institute
of Linguists

About the Chartered Institute of Linguists

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is the UK's Royal Charter body for language practitioners. We aim to enhance the recognition and promote the value of languages and language skills in the public interest. Founded in 1910, CIOL has over 5,000 members worldwide with more than 1,200 of them Chartered Linguists.

CIOL's purpose is:

To contribute towards international goodwill by encouraging the effective study and practice of languages; to promote the exchange and dissemination of information on matters of interest to linguists and persons interested in the study of languages; and to provide means of recognising persons who are qualified as linguists in the professions, the arts, the sciences, industry, trade and commerce.

If you would like to learn how you can support CIOL’s governance, please click here.

Learn more about CIOL

About our Leadership and Governance

CIOL is governed by an elected Council supported by a number of governance boards and committees. The honorary officers of CIOL are the President and Vice-Presidents.

CIOL seeks to value every culture, every language and every linguist which underpins our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The IoLET Educational Trust (IoLET) is the associated charity of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and is the home of CIOL Qualifications (CIOLQ). IoLET and CIOLQ are governed by the IoLET Educational Trust Board (ETB).

The day-to-day management and delivery of our membership services and professional qualifications is led by the Senior Management Team.

CIOL was founded in 1910. You can read more about our history here


The Chartered Institute of Linguists was founded on the belief that knowledge of languages and intercultural competence benefit society economically, socially and culturally.

Our five core values are:

  • International understanding – respect for the diversity of languages and cultures
  • Professionalism and integrity – in our dealings with our members, our staff, and other stakeholders
  • Openness and transparency – in relation to our members, staff and stakeholders
  • Responsibility and responsiveness – to the wider community and our environment
  • Innovation and continuous improvement – in our services and their delivery

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

Our crest contains our motto, which is 'Universal understanding'.

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 CIOL Awards on a regular basis, shown here greeting volunteers from the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha project, winners of the Threlford Cup. 

Who are CIOL members and what do they do?

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

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

We also welcome Associates and Affiliates who are developing their languages or use them as a part of their work and lives.