Which is better, ITI or IOL?
Thread poster: Linda Ildevert

Linda Ildevert  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Member (2004)
French to English
Feb 22, 2005

Hi everyone,
I am thinking of joining a translator's association and am hesitating between the ITI or the IOL.
Any advice would be really helpful


Javier Herrera
The answer is yes. Feb 22, 2005

Hi Eden,
I would advice you to join both, I don't see them as rivals. I joined them as an associate and I've probably got more benefits from the ITI, but that doesn't mean the case might be the same for everybody else or will be the same for me in the future.
I'd like to know what benefits you expect from them in particular.
The ITI are more active in organizing networking events but, unlike the IOL, they don't allow you to appear in their directory if you're only an associate

[Edited at 2005-02-22 12:00]


Andrew Steel  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:25
Spanish to English
Join both, and several others Feb 22, 2005

The IoL is for linguists in general, though translators do constitute a significant proportion of the membership.

The ITI is solely for translators and interpreters.

Both are professional bodies that only admit competent translators (in our case) into their ranks, usually achieved by passing an exam.

For translation into English, the Dip.Trans. qualification is widely regarded as an indication of competence (it is set at post graduate level).

In my opinion, it is well worthwhile joining as many associations as possible as they underwrite your credentials and commitment to a professional code of conduct.

I would also advise joining your local association (Société Française des Traducteurs - www.sft.fr) as these tend to be where most work originates from and, of course, travelling to events is easier.

Finally, take a look at the ATA (www.atanet.org).

Hope this helps,



Linda Ildevert  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Member (2004)
French to English
expected benefits Feb 22, 2005

Thanks, Javier, for your response.
I was really just wondering which association is the most well-known and looks better on a CV.
I am also interested in benefits such as discounted indemnity insurance.


Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
ITI better for indemnity insurance Feb 22, 2005

I found out at the recent powwow in Oxford that the ITI's deal on indemnity insurance is much better than the ILO's. The one insurance company (Shephards) offering a reduction to ILO members turned out to be almost twice as expensive as other insurers, so it is worth shopping around. I am a member of the ILO and I receive quite a lot of work through being listed as a member on their website. Their magazine, the Linguist, is very interesting, too. Some developments are afoot which you can read about on the IOL's website, whereby the IOL is applying for chartered status after which you would have to be a member to work as a translator or interpreter in the UK.
I'm not quite sure how it could be enforceable, though. At the moment, you're supposed to be on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters to be allowed to translate & interpret for the police & the courts, but that is not always happening, either.


Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:25
German to English
+ ...
Neither? Feb 22, 2005

Allow me to just play devil's advocate here for a moment. I have no experience with being a member of either of the organizations you mentioned so you may want to take this with a grain of salt. I did however spend considerable effort getting the IOL Dip. Trans. certification.

I'm just not convinced how useful membership in *either* of these organizations is. Neither of them is exactly cheap. If your only goal is inexpensive indemnity insurance then they may make sense for you, I don't know. And granted, I don't know very much about your situation, goals, qualifications, etc, but if your goal is attracting more work I might tend to invest that time and money in other things like:

- expanding your proz.com profile
- platinum membership at proz.com, which means increased client exposure and unlimited access to blueboards
- local/national/international advertising for your specific target group
- establishing an internet presence, whether via the proz.com website that comes free with platinum membership or on your own
- creating a brochure and direct-marketing approach to come into contact with clients
- continuing education, perhaps a distance learning course
- accumulation of more meaningful credentials than merely organizational membership; for instance the IOL Dip. trans. degree or something that is available and recognized in your country or area of business
- investment in Trados, Wordfast or whatever software of your choice to gain "respectability" and become more efficient

So I guess the bigger question is: how important is membership in some sort of translator organization? I have never in a million years missed this but I'm curious what my colleagues have to say.

Forgive me if I am completely off base here. Good luck!


Jane Griffiths  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Italian to English
Both and the SFT Feb 22, 2005

I have benefited most from the ITI, which I have found (and am still finding) really excellent. If you do join, it's worth getting involved in their lively e-groups and going along to their conference and other events.

The IOL has a good magazine (The Linguist) and if you can get MIL status (easier to get than MITI) that looks good.

As you're in France, you should also consider joining the SFT: http://www.sft.fr/ There's some degree of cooperation between the SFT and the ITI.

See you on the ITI French Network e-group, perhaps!


PS For what it's worth, the Managing Director of a major UK translation agency told me informally that he was more impressed by my being an associate of the ITI than by my being an MIL. I'd also like to add that IMHO if you're going to pay the subscription, I think it's well worth making full use of the opportunities for networking and professional development.

[Edited at 2005-02-22 17:52]


Javier Herrera
A few things Feb 22, 2005

I can't tell you about the indemnity insurance, but I should think you're satisfied with Anne Lee's reply.
Both associations are very well known in the country and enhance your CV. But coming back to your question, if I had to compare, I would agree with Jane (whom I've talked to many times in the forums she mentionsicon_smile.gif). When giving cold calls to offer my services, agencies tend to ask if I belong to the ITI, so it's probably got a better reputation, but the IOL is also a very important body.
Let me reiterate my point: I have no evidence whatsoever to say they are rivals -they are reputed to be-. Just join both, I don't see why they should be an alternative to each other. There is actually a considerable overlap, I was surprised during the last IOL event I attended -a New Year's Party- by how many ITI faces I met. If the budget you're willing to spend on associations is limited, then join one only. Otherwise, try them both for a year and if you're not happy with one of them, simply don't extend your membership. Personally, I'm bound to pay my next yearly fee for both bodies soon and I think I'll do so.
Incidentally, the benefits you get from them are something you can't measure. Many people think -and I'm sure you don't- the IoL, the ITI and the NRPSI are recruiting agencies, and are disappointed when they haven't got a single job from them after a while. For them, it would be useless to pay their fees. In my case, only once did a direct client call me because he found me on the IOL's directory. In that sense the IOL's proved more helpful -and cheaper- than the yellow pages. On the other hand, I can't stress the importance of those contacts you build through these organizations, the advice you're given, the credibility you gain...In short, they may not give you more jobs directly, but they make you more professional.


xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:25
German to English
+ ...
Benefits of membership Feb 23, 2005

You can find lists of the respective benefits of membership here:


I would also try to get advice from association members who share your particular language and subject profile and location. Both groups have various regional, language and subject-related networks, for instance, and the quality of a particular network or group may be a factor in your decision.



Linda Ildevert  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Member (2004)
French to English
thank you Feb 24, 2005

Thanks so much to all of you for your very helpful answers.
I am seeking above all to increase my credibility, enhance my reputation and make contact with all the other translators out there!
I am working in France at the moment but will be moving back to the UK this year, so I have decided to join the ITI first and the IOL later on when I can afford it!
By the way, does anyone know anything about the ITI exam? Is it better to sit the exam (and, in this case, do you have to go to a special test centre?) or have your work assessed?
What is the success rate? I know that for the ATA it is very low.
Thanks again


Giusy Cembalo
Local time: 05:25
English to Italian
+ ...
distance learning course ? Mar 1, 2005

"- continuing education, perhaps a distance learning course"

Do you have any information/advice about these courses? I would be interested in attending one of them.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Which is better, ITI or IOL?

Advanced search

SDL Trados Studio 2017 only €435 / $519
Get the cheapest prices for SDL Trados Studio 2017 on ProZ.com

Join this translator’s group buy brought to you by ProZ.com and buy SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance for only €435 / $519 / £345 / ¥63000 You will also receive FREE access to Studio 2019 when released.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search