By Karine Chevalier-Watts MCIL CL
I became a self-employed translator and language teacher in 2011 when I created a small language services business in Wiltshire, offering teaching, translating and interpreting services in various languages to local small businesses and private individuals. However, as I started receiving more and more enquiries for certified translations and for more language combinations, I realised it was necessary to seek professional recognition and I therefore became a full CIOL member in 2015.
I attended my very first Members Day and Annual Conference that same year. I was quite intimidated at first, as I did not yet know many people, but was most impressed by the quality of the speakers and participants in attendance. I started networking and, by the end of the day, had gained multiple contacts in various languages and from different parts of the UK who had expressed an interest in collaborating with me. Supported by all the wonderful contacts that I had thus made I was able to offer more services to my clients and expand my business to other regions of the UK than just the Southwest of England where I was based.
Becoming a CIOL member and having my profile on the CIOL directory brought me far more clients than I would have ever expected; I suddenly found myself approached by companies, agencies, law firms as well as individual clients who now fully entrusted my professional capabilities. This trend only increased when I gained Chartership status in 2017 in both translation and education. It is important to realise that “Chartered Linguist” is a protected title, that is recognised throughout the world and that only CIOL is allowed to bestow it. For this alone, I would say that it is extremely valuable to become a member of CIOL with the aim of ultimately acquiring the Chartership title that will recognise you as an expert in the profession and will open a lot of new work opportunities.
Aside from the practical business advantages, CIOL has allowed me to meet amazing, like-minded colleagues and make genuine long-lasting friends! CIOL has offered me the opportunity of volunteering as the Coordinator of its Translating Division, which has enabled me to work closely with other members in setting up exciting CPD and networking events both online and in person. This has proved of invaluable help to me in challenging myself, gaining new skills, meeting key people in the profession, and has led me to even further opportunities of expanding my career.
A CIOL membership also gives access to a range of added benefits such as preferential rates for your Professional Indemnity Insurance or even access to a free legal helpline which has been incredibly useful to me when I once needed some urgent legal advice regarding a financial dispute with a supplier.
My business has now been established for 12 years and I can genuinely state that becoming a CIOL member, then a Chartered Linguist, has simply been life-changing for me, both professionally and personally with the incredible opportunities it has offered me since I joined 8 years ago. I would never have acquired the status I now enjoy, working both nationally and internationally, was it not for the tremendous boost that CIOL has given my business.
I would strongly urge any professional linguist taking their career seriously to join CIOL and see for themselves all the benefits it can bring to them.
Karine Chevalier-Watts MCIL CL
Director & Owner of KLAS Languages (www.klaslanguages.co.uk)
Discover what five professional linguists think are the best advantages of being a CIOL member in this free guide.