Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Has the individual chartered status review by CIoL produced the goods?

In 2012 I wrote a blog post asking: Is individual chartered status working for our profession?  It was the most popular posts I have ever written and it elicited many comments. Two and a half years later I can announce that the review I called for has taken place. And for the better!

Instead of trammeling applicants into a narrow field of work (translating, interpreting or education) now, the scheme allows a professional linguist who performs all of these diversified tasks (and others) to apply on the basis of their varied professional work.

Many translators were put off from applying because they did not translate a sufficiently high number of words, simply because they spent time interpreting or teaching, or in some other activity. That rule has been relaxed.

Others were put off by the expense of the application and interview process. The review team has addressed that issue as well by reducing the application fee to just £50.

As from today, all that is required to join the band of Chartered Linguists is:

  • At least two years’ membership of CioL (or as a Fellow)
  • To be in regular professional practice at the requisite level
  • An engagement in CPD on a regular basis. 

As someone pointed out on TransNet today, chimney sweeps and heating engineers are accredited by their appropriate bodies. Here in Sussex local tradesmen register with Checkatrade, which ensures they are of good character. That way their clients know that they are dealing with someone who is not a cowboy and will do a good job. So I find it quite strange that there still appears to be resistance to applying for the new CL status. Ordinary membership (or fellowship) of the Institute is not enough. It does not certify that the member is in regular practice, nor does it show that the member is keeping up with trends and language skills. An extra level is required. And that level is Chartered status. 

I quote from the recently updated CioL website:

“The purpose of the Chartered Linguist (CL) scheme is to ensure  that users of language services and employers have access to a comprehensive, verified and up to date source of  qualified, practising and experienced professional linguists with a demonstrated commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  The CL register is held by CIOL in the public interest. Chartered Linguists must therefore be able to demonstrate their competence as a professional linguist, based on a combination of their qualifications, past experience and current practice,  and their commitment to  maintaining their skills and knowledge through continuing professional development.”

I believe that this new revised scheme is what we have been waiting for. It’s no longer so expensive, no longer so restrictive, and it is very much more flexible. All members of the Institute should consider applying for it – and applying for it now while the application fee is waived for the first month. We need to start a momentum of applications and we should start it now until we have large numbers on the register which can then be used as a marketing tool, rather like our Checkatrade scheme does. It won't happen in a day, but we need to start it off.

For the moment it is restricted to members and fellows of the CioL. I am not privy to the reasons for this, but once the pilot has rolled out, it may well be extended to all linguists working in the UK and beyond.

I believe we should applaud the Institute for the work they do on our behalf, and I abhor the negativity that seems to abound on the translators’ discussion forum run by that same Institute.

Will you be applying? I will be applying to regain the status of which I was so proud.