The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is involved in lobbying government departments and working to improve the pay and conditions for both CIOL members and non-members. 

This report, completed by over 400 professionals within the industry, gave CIOL the opportunity to gain an insight into a number of key questions regularly asked by the profession. These included:

  • Where do professionals source their work?
  • What is the average income for a language professional?
  • Is income increasing or decreasing for language professionals?
  • How much time is spent on professional development?
  • What challenges do language professionals face within the industry?

One of the main areas that concerns the profession is around acceptable hourly income and working conditions. The survey has allowed CIOL to gain a better understanding of this sensitive area. It is of course difficult to compare income between different types of professionals so we looked at average hourly income. The report shows that, depending on the source, average income varies between £22 and £30 per hour in the UK.  It is clear that contracts paying under this level are below what is the ‘average rate’ in the market, especially for trained and qualified professionals.

It is a known fact in the industry that many contracts are charged below the average range. This is clearly doing no favours to a profession which aspires to attract qualified interpreters and translators, and we will struggle to make this an attractive proposition for future generations.

The report also highlights the importance of agencies within this profession, with over 59% of work coming from this source. Although a small number of professionals would like to return to the days when agencies where less prevalent, it must be remembered that it allows the majority to do the work they love rather than having to find work for themselves, especially those newer to the profession.

The survey also looked to gain an insight into concerns and challenges about the future for professionals, with business and financial issues, external events (including Brexit), technological development and personal well-being high in importance.

CIOL will use data from this report to continue to press for change within the industry and provide better recognition for its members. This data will also help to drive new products and set themes for future CPD. 

You can download the full report here.

This is the first report of four in the coming 12 months. The next survey looks into Careers and Qualifications, which will be followed by a review of the technological impact on the profession.