Henry Pavlovich, director of the IoL, answers questions.
From The Linguist, August-September (44,4)

How it affects the IoL

1. What is the effect of the Charter on the existing Institute of Linguists (IoL)?
The Chartered IoL would be a new and separate company from the current IoL (the Charter is actually the document by which the new company is incorporated). If and as soon as our petition is granted by the Privy Council, we would need to fix a “changeover date”, which is when we decide to commence operations as the Chartered IoL and cease operations as the existing IoL. If our petition is granted before the end of July, the changeover date is planned for 1st September (being the beginning of our accounting year). If it is later than the end of July, a later changeover date will need to be set. Sometime in the future the existing IoL will be either wound up or merged with the Chartered IoL.
2. What does the Charter mean for my membership status?
All current members of the current IoL (whichever their grade) will on the ‘changeover date’ automatically become members (in the same grade) of the Chartered IoL.
3. What does it mean for my designatory letters (AIL/MIL/FIL)?
From the ‘changeover date’, and not before, current AILs/MILs/FILs will be entitled to use the designatory letters ACIL/MCIL/FCIL respectively.
4. Does this mean that I become a Chartered Linguist on the ‘changeover date’?
No. Being a member (in whatever grade) of the Chartered IoL is NOT the same as being a Chartered Linguist. Chartered Linguist (CL) status will only be conferred upon suitably qualified individuals upon application. The eligibility criteria are already being considered internally (by Division committees) and externally (with our colleagues from the ITI and AIIC) and there will be consultation with you, the membership, before they come into effect.
5. Will I still be able to work as a linguist if I am neither a member of the Institute nor a CL?
Yes. To apply for CL status, you will have to belong to a professional body (eg IoL, ITI, AIIC).
6. What will the Charter do for the Institute?
A charter is primarily for the benefit and protection of the public rather than the body concerned or its members. It will, however, allow chartered status to be awarded to appropriately qualified individuals.
7. Will it be a monopoly?
No. Practising as a linguist will not require CL status. CLs will not have to be members of this Institute.
8. What happens to part-time linguists?
Full-time linguists with a full-time commitment will probably be able to meet the CL criteria more easily than part-timers. CL status is no reflection upon the competence of linguists who prefer not to commit to periodic re-assessment, CPD and other criteria required of a CL.
9. What about CPD?
Institute members who do not wish to apply for CL status will be encouraged to commit to voluntary continuous professional development. As for CL status, individuals are likely to need some years (to be decided) of proven CPD before they apply and they will have to participate in appropriate CPD thereafter.

Individual chartered linguist status

1. What can you tell us now about CL status eligibility?
With any certainty, only what we have included in our petition, ie that it will be based on initial graduate qualifications, experience, a commitment to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and to abide by a code of professional conduct. This is what the Privy Council would expect to see of any professional body wishing to confer chartered status upon individuals.
2. What criteria are being discussed?

  • Being a qualified member of an appropriate professional body (eg IoL, ITI, AIIC);
  • Honours degree or higher in the appropriate subject and, if appropriate, a second qualification;
  • Appropriate period of experience working with the language/s concerned;
  • Languages must be either the main or necessary professional activity (thus also catering for bilingual professionals of bi-professional linguists, eg foreign law solicitors;
  • Commitment to CPD;
  • Good references from at least two professional colleagues (not relatives or friends);
  • Periodic re-assessment of language and subject skills;
  • No evidence of not being a fit and proper person.

3. When will CL status become open to applicants?
This is a very important development for the profession as a whole. Because of the need for careful thought, advice and consultation, it is not anticipated that CL status will be available within 12 to 18 months from the ‘changeover date’.
4. Will CL status be restricted to Chartered IoL members?
No. As this is an achievement and mark of approbation for the profession of linguists as a whole, membership of any ONE approved professional body in the language field (eg IoL, ITI, AIIC) will be sufficient.
5. Who decides on applications for Chartered Linguist status?
There will be a CL Applications Committee. The Committee is also likely to include language and subject specialists (or this may be a separate additional committee).
Essentially the process will be by peer review.
6. How long after application will the process take?
Once it gets going (see 3 above) it will depend on how long it takes to set up peer review panels and get documentation back from referees.
7. If rejected, how long a period before being allowed to re-apply?
It is suggested that if rejected for CL status, individuals can reapply after a suitable period has elapsed (yet to be determined).
8. Can decisions be appealed?
Yes, individuals will be able to appeal (for a fee to cover admin and interview costs, and the fee is likely to be returnable only if the appeal is successful).
9. How often will CLs have to renew their status?
It is suggested that there should be an interview by peers competent in both the language and subject concerned on first application and again on periodic re-assessment of both language skills and subject competence, and an annual Practising Certificate confirming CPD and continued status.
10. What are the benefits to me of being a CL and where will I be listed?
You have the CL status and a certificate. Your name, Charter registration number and speciality will be listed on a freely accessible public website.
11. Will there be a Code of Conduct?
Yes (all professional bodies have one).
12. If I am a member and company owner and have individual chartered status, will I be able to use this for the whole company?
No, individual Chartered status is granted only to individuals.