Chartered Institute
of Linguists


Be part of something big

Support and development

CIOL membership is designed to support you throughout your working life as a languages professional, with a range of benefits and resources to help your development.


Membership is also your first step to chartership; CIOL is the only membership organisation for language practitioners which can award Chartered Linguist registration.

Find out what it means to be a Chartered Linguist in our short video here.

A growing community

Our membership numbers are steadily growing. In addition to our three professional grades of membership – Associate, Member and Fellow we now offer three affiliate membership grades to support linguists in training and newly qualified linguists.

Something for everyone

CIOL offers all language practitioners a range of entry points depending on your qualifications and work experience. View our membership admissions criteria or use our Grade Finder tool below

Find your grade

Use our two-step Grade Finder to quickly find the grade for which you're eligible.

Frequently asked questions

Why join?

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

  • professional status and
  • professional recognition

This was followed by:

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

Source: CIOL Member Survey 2014.

What are the membership grades?

Our pre-professional 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 Student Affiliate, Study Affiliate and Affiliate.

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 the practising and aspiring language professional a range of benefits and services which will enable you to raise your professional 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.

Membership will inspire trust and confidence in your clients, employers and your peers and the designatory letters are a public badge which states that you meet CIOL's rigorous criteria and standards for best practice in the use of languages professionally. 

For pre-professional members (Student, Study and Affiliates), your membership illustrates your commitment to your professional development and will indicate that you are on the pathway to professional membership and 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 £25.00 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?

  • Use our two-step Grade Finder to quickly find the grade for which you're eligible.
  • If you think you may also be eligible to become a Chartered Linguist, please also read the PDF icon admissions criteria for chartership
  • Before you commence the application process, ensure you have all the evidence you need to support your application
  • Create a website account, log in and apply online
  • If you are still unsure please contact the membership team by email or on +44 (0) 20 7940 3100.
Meet our members

Judith Gabler FCIL CL

Judith uses German on a daily basis working for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Germany

Member since: 1997; became chartered in 2015
Native language: English
Language used professionally: German

Judith explains why her CIOL membership is so valuable:

"For me, it's all about being an authentic linguist. Based in Frankfurt I work for RICS which, like CIOL, is a global standards body, except in real estate. German is my language of communication; it is the means by which I engage and negotiate with business leaders and governments and the effectiveness of that determines the level of my success. This is where CIOL and being a Chartered Linguist play a key role. Having the designatory letters demonstrates values which mean the most to me: values of professionalism, integrity and reputation. Professionalism – because my language skills have been endorsed; integrity – because I comply with CIOL's Code of Professional Conduct and honour – because I can increase my reputation. Measuring authenticity and reputation isn't easy but membership of CIOL definitely helps".

Joanna Ramsden MCIL 

Freelance translator

Member since: 2015
Native language: English
Languages used professionally: Chinese (Mandarin) and French

Joanna explains why she would highly recommend becoming a CIOL Member and how membership has helped her to expand her freelance business: 

"The membership fee is very reasonable and has been worth its weight in gold. It has already paid for itself several times over as I have been contacted by numerous agencies as a result of being listed in the Find-a-Linguist directory. The first few jobs that I secured have not only more than covered my membership fee but also led to a reference which meant that I could start to gain more work from other agencies. CIOL and its magazine The Linguist are both good ways of keeping up to date with industry standards. The opportunity to share information with other translators enables me to learn more about current trends, share hot tips, get links to training webinars for translators, download training materials and use networking sites for translators who wish to help each other to find additional work. Membership has been invaluable."

Professor Weimin Pan FCIL CL

Professor of English

Member since: 2012, became chartered in 2015
Native language: Chinese (Mandarin)
Language used professionally: English

Weimin Pan is a Professor of English at the School of Foreign Languages at Shanghai University of Electric Power. Professor Pan explains why CIOL membership is important to him, as a linguist working in China:

Weimin Pan
"My main interests are translation theory and practice, the comparative study of Chinese and Western cultures and English for specific purposes. I have published more than 40 articles and over 10 books and have been involved in over 10 scientific research programmes, working as an interpreter for a number of large-scale international conferences. In 2015 I applied for and was granted Chartered Linguist registration. To be a Fellow and a Chartered Linguist raises my professional profile and gives me access to a wider circle of practising language professionals. Membership connects me with linguists outside China through networking opportunities and inspires me with confidence in my linguistic practice between my mother tongue (Mandarin) and English. I am looking forward to seeing the number of members in China grow and to playing my part in spreading the word about the benefits of joining a prestigious internationally recognised professional institute."

Daniela Ascoli MCIL

Freelance interpreter

Member since: 1997
Native language: Italian
Languages used professionally: English and French

Daniela Ascoli has been a member since 1997 and explains why she continues to be a CIOL member:

Daniela Ascoli MCIL
"I have been a member for a number of years now and maintain my membership because of the many benefits CIOL offers, including supporting linguists in their daily practice, serving their interests and generally promoting foreign languages and cultures. I have many many years' experience as an interpreter working for high profile ministers and politicians including Tony Blair and David Cameron and celebrities such as Professor Stephen Hawking, Andrea Bocelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and members of the Royal Family. I have used my language skills at G8 and G20 summits, worked for the Council of Europe, Eurojust and participated in international arbitrations and High Court hearings as well as undertaken live broadcasts for the BBC, CNN, Sky, RAI and Mediaset. It's important that I stay up-to-date; CIOL also acts as a platform through which professionals can meet, exchange ideas and constantly improve their skills."