Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Membership Overview

Something for every linguist

CIOL offers linguists and language professionals a range of entry points depending on your stage of study, qualifications, career and work experience. Find your grade or view our membership admissions criteria.

Join our community

In addition to our three professional grades of membership – Associate, Member and Fellow we offer Affiliate grades to support students and studying and newly qualified linguists as well as those who use languages as part of their work and life.

Support and development

CIOL membership is designed to support you throughout your study, career and life as a linguist, with a range of benefits and resources to keep you informed and help your professional development.


Membership is also your first step to chartership. Find out what it means to be a Chartered Linguist in our short video here.


Frequently asked questions

Why join CIOL?

When asked "what was the main reason for joining CIOL?" an overwhelming 90% of members stated:

  • professional status as a linguist and
  • professional recognition as a linguist

This was followed by:

  • belonging to a professional community of linguists
  • professional integrity through the code of professional conduct
  • improved career prospects
  • opportunities to network with other language practitioners
  • opportunities to develop business and other contacts
  • keeping in touch with what's going on in the world of languages
  • personal development and growth

Source: CIOL Member Survey.

What are the membership grades?

Our affiliate grades are for linguists studying either an academic, vocational or professional language qualification, for linguists who are just starting their career and for practitioners who use languages in the course of their work but where languages are not the main component of their job. The CIOL affiliate grades are Career Affiliate, Study Affiliate, Student Affiliate and Affiliate Linguist.

There are three grades of professional membership: Associate (ACIL), full Member (MCIL) and Fellow (FCIL). Professional membership of CIOL demonstrates that you have met the rigorous requirements and standards for good practice in the professional use of your language skills. Membership is open to anyone who uses their foreign language skills in a professional context, whether employed or freelance. This includes interpreters, translators, and foreign language teachers, and lecturers, providers of specialist language services and linguists who work in business, commerce and industry. Find your grade.

What are the benefits of joining?

Membership of CIOL offers practising and aspiring language professionals and linguists a range of benefits and services which will enable you to be recognised, raise your profile, support your professional development, provide access to valuable information and tools and connect you with other linguists through our member networks.

As a professional member, you will be able to use the designatory letters "ACIL" (Associate), "MCIL" (Member) or "FCIL" (Fellow), plus "CL" for members who are chartered.

Professional membership inspires trust and confidence in clients, employers and peers and the designatory letters are a public demonstration that you meet CIOL's rigorous criteria and standards for best practice in the use of languages professionally. 

Affiliate membership (Career, Study, Student and Affiliate Linguist) illustrates your commitment to your languages as well as your support for the study of languages, professional standards and the values of chartership.

The full range of benefits for each grade of membership can be found here.

How do I become chartered?

You are more than likely eligible to apply for chartership if you:

  • meet the eligibility criteria to be admitted as a full Member (MCIL) or Fellow (FCIL),
  • are in current professional practice and have been for at least five years, and
  • can demonstrate a commitment to Continuing Professional Development 

How do I join?

You can apply online. Please first ensure you have read the membership entry criteria in full and have gathered the evidence you need to support your application.

What are the fees?

All Affiliate, Associate, Member and Fellow applications must be accompanied by a one-off non-refundable £30 assessment fee. There is no assessment fee required for Student Affiliate or Study Affiliate applications.

The full membership fees are detailed here.

What do I do next?

Go straight to Apply and join CIOL today 

Why become a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists?

In this new guide, the CIOL Translating Division interviewed five professional linguists and asked them what they think are the best advantages of being a CIOL member. To discover their thoughts, download the free guide by clicking the image below.

Meet the authors


"… in an unregulated profession, I’ve found that being a CIOL member, and more recently having Chartered Linguist status, has been invaluable."
Danielle Coleman MCIL CL
Translator, BA Hons, DipTrans



"… by joining CIOL I was able to tap into a large pool of resources and a supportive community of like-minded linguists."
Rachel Wingfield MCIL CL
BA (Hons) MA, CELTA DipTrans


"During the COVID lockdowns, CIOL helped me (and many other translators and interpreters) to stay sane and focused by offering free webinars for linguists. I attended 18 webinars in 2020 and became addicted"
Natalia Racheyskova MA MCIL CL
Qualified translator, interpreter, and teacher of languages



"...I have met wonderful colleagues, linguists with different backgrounds and language combinations and great ideas..."
Rosa Insua-Salgueiro MCIL CL
English to Spanish translator and interpreter



"Becoming a CIOL member and having my profile on the CIOL directory brought me far more clients than I would have ever expected"
Karine Chevalier-Watts MCIL CL
Director & Owner of KLAS Languages