Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Member (MCIL) and chartership

Our Member grade is for linguists whose language skills are a primary requirement for their role.

Depending on the level of qualification held a minimum of two or three years' experience is required. Applicants with a minimum of five years' current professional practice can also apply for chartership.

Who can join?

Applicants for full Member grade will normally be linguists with at least one of the following:

  • Master’s in Translation and/or Interpreting (Level 7 UK equivalence) and a minimum of two years' work experience; part-time work over a longer period is also acceptable
  • CIOLQ Level 7 Diploma in Translation, plus two years' work experience
  • A degree or post-graduate qualification in their non-native language plus three years' experience, part-time work over a longer period is also acceptable
  • CIOLQ Level 6 Certificate in Translation, plus three years' work experience
  • Bachelor’s in Translation and/or Interpreting (Level 6 UK equivalence)​, plus three years' experience, part-time work over a longer period is also acceptable
  • CIOLQ Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting, plus three years' work experience
  • Full registration with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI). (Referee details and copies of your qualifications are required when you apply).

Other certificates and diplomas (at degree and post graduate level) will also be considered on the basis that CIOL is able to determine comparability through Ofqual or Ecctis.

If you do not meet the criteria (for example you do not hold the requisite qualification), but you have at least five years' work experience using your foreign language skills in a professional, teaching or academic context, then we may be able to treat your application as a special consideration case. If you would like to more information or advice, please feel free to contact the membership team before completing your application.

Also applying for Chartership?

Applicants seeking Chartership will need to meet the admissions criteria for Member (MCIL) in full. You will have, as a minimum, five years' experience as a language practitioner, educator or academic and be able to evidence CPD undertaken over the last two years. You will also be required to submit a 12-month forward CPD plan based on reflection of previous CPD.

Why join?

  • Membership demonstrates your excellence in languages and your professionalism to clients, employers and peers
  • Full Members with the requisite work experience can also apply to become a Chartered Linguist, at the point of application or when you have achieved five years professional practice, further indicating your commitment to your own professional development and to raising standards
  • Use of the designatory letters MCIL and CIOL Member logo to display on your website, social media profile, email footer, CV
  • If chartered, you can also use the designation Chartered Linguist, CL, or CL plus a specialism e.g. CL (Translator/Interpreter/Educator). 
  • The Linguist, CIOL's professional journal
  • Monthly members' update including CIOL news, events and updates
  • Opportunity to attend networking events and to participate in CIOL surveys
  • Continuing Professional Development: Members can participate in a range of sector specific CPD events offered by CIOL and its professional divisions, including webinars, workshops and opportunities to network with other members.
  • Members can join one or more of CIOL's professional divisions – Translating, Interpreting or BPG (Business, Professions and Government) which provide unique face-to-face networking events, CPD activities and online forums.

And of particular interest for Translators and Interpreters:

  • Competitive rates for Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Access to a free Legal Helpline
  • Free entry in CIOL's online Find-a-Linguist directory putting new clients in touch with you
  • Templates for the practising freelance translator and interpreters including terms of business and sample contract
  • Access to a range of CIOL Info sheets on topics such as certified translations, tax and VAT guidance, utilising social media, creating a powerful CV and much more
  • Discounts on a range of products and services such as favourable rates for translation software products

What does it cost?

There is a one-off non-refundable £30.00 assessment fee/upgrade fee which must be paid at the point of application. The annual membership fee payable once your membership has been confirmed is £175.00. There is no additional fee to apply for chartership.

When can I join?

You can apply to join at any time of year. CIOL operates a rolling membership and your membership will begin on the day your application is successful and will be valid for a full calendar year.

What do I need to do?

Read the full admissions criteria to determine which grade of membership is the most suitable for you. Then gather the evidence. You will need:

  • Your CV
  • Copies of your qualifications
  • Details of your work experience to date
  • The names of two referees who are able to comment on your language skills and professional practice - referees should be native or near-native speakers of the language(s) you are seeking membership in
  • If seeking chartership – evidence of CPD and your future CPD plans (please read the registration criteria in full to ensure you are eligible to apply for chartership)

Please read the guidance notes for applicants in full before commencing your online registration. 

What next?

Once your application form and payment have been received you will receive an automatic acknowledgement. CIOL will then assess the evidence provided and will endeavour to confirm your admission to membership within 30 working days. If you are applying for Chartership, your membership application will be considered first. Assuming it is successful we will then assess your chartership application.

More questions?

Please take a look at our FAQs in the first instance.

Join online today

Simply complete our online form to become a Member.

For further information on how to apply and/or admissions criteria, please contact the membership team.