Business, Professions and Government Division

The BPG Division promotes the diversity and values of language skills across all professional sectors. Its aim is to support those linguists employed in industry and commerce, in professions such as medical, legal and academia, in the armed forces or government service. These are the language practitioners not usually engaged specifically as translators or interpreters, but whose language skills facilitate their work and benefit the organisations for whom they work. Or they may be standing in a classroom or lecture theatre full of students, inspiring them to greater depths of language learning.

Using both spoken and written skills, their work may involve communicating face-to-face, by phone and email, or negotiating contracts, giving presentations, reading, reviewing or summarising documents, resolving problems, handling cultural differences, assisting overseas visitors. They may also translate or interpret.

However they use their skills, BPG linguists know that their language expertise enhances their ability to do their job; they are appreciated by their colleagues and clients and know that their language skills give them a competitive edge in the employment market.

Throughout the year, the BPG Division organises CPD events, both online and face-to-face, which provide an opportunity to network and gain experience from presentations given by other like-minded language practitioners. The Division has a Twitter profile @CIOLBusiness, allowing its members to stay in touch with current issues, and the wider public to access information about BPG, its events, and the role of linguists worldwide.

Forthcoming events are currently being planned and will be publicised here soon.

BPG runs a variety of professional development events, benefitting CIOL members and non-members alike. Click an event to see its original listing and, if applicable, event reports and downloadable materials:

Role Bio
Mrs Judith RIDGWAY



Judith’s life with languages started at school, where she thoroughly enjoyed French which was then superseded by German. Judith graduated from the University of Nottingham in German with French subsidiary, and looking back, Judith realises that she always wanted to use her language skills to “make things happen” in the world of industry and commerce. After a period of time in other work which improved her language skills, Judith joined the UK subsidiary of an Austrian steel company, which was to become the most worthwhile and longest-serving role of her career in industry. Judith was involved from the start in steel and nickel alloy products which were produced specifically to customers’ requirements for applications ranging from power generation to medical equipment. Ultimately Judith became Business Development Manager for aerospace products and was involved not only in developing the customer base and turnover, including many visits to Austria with customers and presentations at sales conferences, but also in initially developing a range of appropriate steel grades for UK applications and securing approvals from the major UK aerospace companies, an essential requirement for suppliers into the industry. Judith joined CIOL in 1986 as a Member and was Chair for a time of the then West Midlands Regional Society. During that time she became active in the Industry and Commerce Division (subsequently re-named Business, Professions and Government) as Treasurer and is currently Chair of the Division. Judith was elected a Fellow in 2010. Judith has served on the Council of the CIOL for some years, and is currently Chair of the Applications Committee and a member of the Finance and Executive Committee. It is her hope to continue to serve the CIOL in some capacity as the world of languages changes and evolves.



Committee member

After completing her degree in French and German, Gill worked at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in New York and in Ivory Coast. After returning to the UK, her roles included providing research and support services to Members of the European Parliament, managing the European unit of a government relations consultancy, marketing international trade fairs and editing a business magazine.
From 1991 Gill worked for a government relations consultancy that specialised in recycling policy. Initially, she did research and translations, but her role gradually expanded to consultancy. Since 2017 Gill has worked freelance, continuing her consultancy work. She also gained the CELTA qualification to teach English as a foreign language and she teaches in London as a volunteer.

Mr Richard STANTON


Committee member

Although French and Latin were obligatory at school, Richard was better at sciences but, through the school, he acquired a French penfriend and through family contacts, a German one. After A Levels, he spent six months in Germany and three months in France with each, becoming reasonably fluent in both languages.
After joining the Royal Navy, he took advantage of the Armed Forces’ language study weekends and passed the Civil Service Commission Linguist qualification in German and French. He enjoyed several linguistic opportunities acting as liaison officer during ship visits to European ports.
Later, now a Chartered Engineer, further opportunities led to passing the CSC’s German Interpreter qualification (later IOL Diploma) and he joined the Institute of Linguists in 1978 becoming a Member in 1993. He served three years in the British Embassy, Bonn, as the Assistant Naval Attaché involving diplomatic duties, facilitating technical exchanges and organising ship visits.
In the 1990s, Richard studied for, then passed, the IOL’s Russian Diploma and spent three years interpreting and leading Arms Control inspection teams throughout the Former Soviet Union. His last naval appointment was back in Germany, teaching German to Diploma level to Armed Forces personnel and their dependents. On leaving the Navy, he took and passed a CELTA course.
Richard then spent three years at the Western European Union, Brussels, as the Permanent Secretary to its 18 International Military working groups, returning to the UK when the EU subsumed the WEU in 2001. He now provides occasional teaching cover for adult students learning English or German and is still in regular contact with both penfriends.
A long-time member of the BPG Division, he joined its Steering Group in 2019 and the CIOL’s Membership Committee in early 2020. He is keen to see a greater integration into the Institute, from across all professions, of language practitioners who are not necessarily full-time translators or interpreters.

Mrs Vasiliki PRESTIDGE


Committee member

Vasiliki started her career in 2011 when completing her MA in Business Translation and Interpreting at Surrey University. She has since held various roles including video game LQA testing, web editing, public service interpreting, and translation project management. She works with Greek and English and specialises in law, marketing and psychometrics. You will often find her interpreting at the Greek Embassy in London, and speaking at events. She writes articles for her blog or industry blogs and magazines. She teaches Greek for adults and she believes in CPD and holding the highest professional standards. She became a Chartered Linguist in December 2017 and joined the BPG Division Committee in September 2018, and the Translating Division Committee in October 2018. She manages the Division’s Twitter account.

Dr Ivan HON


Committee member (co-opted)

Ivan Hon received his PhD from the University of Wales, MPhil and MA from the University of London, MA from Sophia University in Japan and BA from the University of Washington, USA. Ivan has had a strong interest in learning and languages since he was young. Besides English and Chinese, he also learnt Japanese, French and Korean. Ivan’s previous professional experiences include researching on the business and professional ethics at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, working in the financial management department of a Japanese electronics company and the loan department of a Japanese bank, as well as teaching commercial courses, English and Japanese at education institutes in Hong Kong. Ivan has been a CIOL member since 2010. He has been working as a freelance interpreter between English and Chinese for government agencies and public services in the London area since 2004. He also translates written English, Chinese and Japanese medical, legal and commercial materials for translation agencies in the UK. Ivan is the editor and translator of the Global China Institute as well as the language mentor and assessor of the Mary Ward Centre.



E-group Coordinator None provided


Membership Secretary

James is an MCIL in French and also has Russian A-level, a Cambridge MA degree in Japanese and a working knowledge of German and Italian. From 1988 to 1993 he worked in the UK Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) on promoting UK exports to Japan. This included regular contacts with business. He did similar work (1993-1997) on secondment to the European Commission (Brussels) on behalf of all 15 EU Member States. He was involved in the initial meetings about setting up the Institute’s Regional Society there. He returned to London in 1997 and worked on UK bilateral trade relations with the Asia Pacific region and led for the DTI on the Economic Pillar of the ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting) regional dialogue. He transferred to the Department for Energy and Climate Change in 2010 and took early retirement from the civil service in March 2012. James was a member of Council from 2001 to 2009 and was re-elected to Council in March 2013 and again in March 2017. He has served on the committee of the Business, Professions & Government Division since summer 2002 and is a member of the London Society. Since August 2013 he has been Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

If you are interested in supporting the BPG Division we'd be delighted to hear from you.

Simply fill in our Online Eligibility Check form and a member of the committee will contact you for a no obligation discussion.