Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Membership FAQs

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.