The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is the pre-eminent UK-based professional membership body for language practitioners. It aims to enhance the recognition and promote the value of languages and language skills in the public interest. CIOL’s aims and objectives are founded on the belief that knowledge of languages and intercultural competence benefit society economically, culturally and politically.

CIOL’s position on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, following the referendum in June 2016, is guided by the views of its members and their elected representatives on its governing body, gathered through member surveys and regular discussions in Council.

CIOL supports Brexit and Languages: a checklist for government negotiators and officials, published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages in October 2016, which sets out four key language-specific objectives for the Brexit process:

  • Guarantee residency status for EU nationals already living in the UK and safeguard the future recruitment of EU citizens to address the shortage of language skills
  • Ensure access to and participation in the Erasmus+ programme
  • A commitment to legislate to replicate the rights enshrined in the 2010 European Directive on the Right to Interpretation and Translation in Criminal Proceedings
  • A post-Brexit plan in education (from primary school to post-graduate research, including apprenticeships), business and the civil service, with specific actions to ensure the UK produces sufficient linguists to meet its future requirements as a leader in global free trade and on the international stage.

Furthermore, CIOL believes that:

  • The use of skilled, trained and experienced translators, interpreters and other professional linguists is more critical than ever, if the UK is to negotiate, build and operate new trade agreements worldwide
  • Strenuous efforts are needed to reverse the decline in the number of students taking modern foreign languages (MFL) at GCSE and A-level; specifically, CIOL is concerned about the resulting skills shortage if non-UK European MFL teachers are no longer able to teach in the UK
  • Any new trading arrangements must maintain the current ease of trade with the EU, without additional administrative or financial burdens, particularly with regard to the 74% of its members who are self-employed.

CIOL is committed to working with other organisations in the languages field and with professional bodies in other sectors, which share its belief in constructive engagement with the government during the Brexit negotiating process.

Full timeline of CIOL Brexit coverage