About the Chartered Institute of Linguists

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. Founded in 1910, CIOL has almost 6,000 members. It aims to:

  • serve the professional interests of its members by delivering high quality services and promoting the interests of the profession

  • provide nationally-accredited, professional qualifcations and set standards for language practitioners through its awarding organisation the IoL Educational Trust (IoLET)

  • be an authoritative and respected voice promoting the learning and use of languages, and the status of language work, both in the UK and internationally

  • provide informed advice to bodies and organisations engaged in the formulation of strategy and policy affecting languages

The former Institute of Linguists was granted its Royal Charter by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 19 July 2005 and formally began operating as The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) on 1 September 2005.


Learn more about CIOL


Our aims and objectives are founded on the belief that knowledge of languages and intercultural competence benefit society economically, culturally and politically.

Our five core values are:

  • International understanding – respect for the diversity of languages and cultures
  • Professionalism – in our dealings with our members, our staff, our customers
  • Integrity – in relation to our members, our staff, our customers
  • Responsibility – to the wider community and the environment
  • Innovation – in our products and services and their delivery

These values are underpinned by a belief in equality and a respect for diversity and difference.

Royal Patron

The Institute's patron is HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO. Prince Michael has his own website with more information about himself and his family. We are honoured to have His Royal Highness present our Annual Awards on a biennial basis.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO

CIOL memberships

CIOL is a member of the following organisations:

  • Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) – a non-profit membership organisation for professional bodies. By being a Member of PARN, we are committed to good practice, kept up to date on current research and are part of a network of professional bodies that learn from and share with each other.
  • Association for Language Learning (ALL) – exists to support and represent language teachers
  • Foundation for Science and Technology (FST) – provides a neutral platform for debate of policy issues that have a science, engineering or technology element
  • International Federation of Translators (FIT) – a federation of national associations for translators, interpreters or terminologists around the world. CIOL is an Observer Member of FIT.


IoLET memberships

CIOL's associated charity the IoL Educational Trust (IoLET) is a member of the following organisations:

  • Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) – works to promote multilingualism across Europe – and beyond – by supporting institutions which produce examinations and certification for language learners

  • Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) – a trade association, representing organisations that award vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom

IoLET's professional qualifications can lead to registration with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) – the UK’s independent voluntary regulator of professional interpreters specialising in public service.

IoLET memberships

Who we support

Speak to the Future – The campaign for languages – highlighting the importance of languages, language learning and professional language activities for the UK.

Routes into Languages – A consortium of universities working together with schools and colleges, to enthuse and encourage people to study languages.

Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) – A consortium of professional interpreters’ organisations which challenges the private outsourcing of interpreter provision to UK courts and police services, aims to establish communications between UK government and interpreter organisations and pushes for regulation of the interpreting profession and protection of the title Legal Interpreter.

Logos we support

Who are linguists and what do they do?

Practising CIOL members are qualified, experienced language professionals for whom extensive knowledge of one or more foreign languages is a prerequisite for their work.

They may, for example, be translators, interpreters, teachers of modern foreign languages, university lecturers or professionals who use their foreign language skills as a core part of their role in business, the professions or government.

Language Partners

London Metropolitan University

London Metropolitan University logo

At London Metropolitan University, we support your desire to study the subject you love. You’ll have access to a world-class education, opportunities for work experience, and a diverse and welcoming environment where you can make incredible lifelong friendships. When it comes to teaching excellence, London Met outperformed all five London Russell Group universities – UCL, King’s College London, Queen Mary, Imperial College London and the London School of Economics – in the Sunday Times Good University Guide.(Reported September 2016).


Swansea University

Swansea University logo

Swansea University is a research-led university that has been making a difference since 1920. The University community thrives on exploration and discovery, and offers the right balance of excellent teaching and research, matched by an enviable quality of life.
The University has achieved its ambition to be a top thirty research University, soaring up the 2014 Research Excellence Framework league table to 26th in the UK. 


University of Bath

University of Bath logo

The University of Bath is a top ten UK university with a reputation for research and teaching excellence. It prides itself on having a supportive culture, creating a welcoming, inclusive campus community that values the individual, supporting the realisation of their potential. The UoB fosters a collaborative style of working: pursuing research and teaching in partnership with business, the professions, the public and voluntary sectors, and other partners. Its community is characterised by its culture of high achievement, enterprise and creativity.


University of Central Lancashire

University of Central Lancashire logo

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is one of the UK’s largest universities, placed by the Centre for World University Rankings in the top 3.7% for all worldwide universities.

The School of Language and Global Studies, offers students the opportunity to learn twenty-nine different languages via various pathways, including language degrees in over twenty combinations. The school strives to develop global graduates by giving students the opportunity to participate in international experiences.


University of Exeter

University of Exeter logo

Exeter’s MA in Translation Studies provides a rigorous academic foundation and excellent professional training for careers in the language services industry. Our course trains students to seek the highest quality in their practice based on extensive knowledge of critical trends in the field. It develops key competencies for accurate and effective translations, including professional training in the use of CAT tools, editing and revising, localization, project management, and professional ethics, and also includes an optional Work Placement/Project module.


University of Kent

University of Kent logo

The University of Kent is the UK’s European University and is ranked among the best in the UK. Kent celebrates intellectual and cultural diversity with a commitment to educate its students to be the global citizens of tomorrow. 
Our Department of Modern Languages was ranked 3rd in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and The Complete University Guide 2017 ranked all our language subjects 1st in the UK for Research quality. 


University of Surrey

University of Surrey - Centre for Translation Studies logo