The United Nations is one of the world’s largest employers of language professionals: several hundred work for the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM) in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi, or at the regional commissions of the United Nations in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut and Santiago.
At the United Nations, the term “language professional” applies to a range of specialists working in interrelated fields, namely interpreters, translators, editors, verbatim reporters, terminologists, reference assistants and copy preparers/proofreaders/production editors.
In view of the wide range of United Nations subject matter and the high standards set for its language professionals, it is not always easy to find ideal candidates, especially for certain language combinations. To meet the challenge, DGACM has initiated an outreach programme that focuses on collaboration with universities but is open to all other institutional partners that are interested in promoting and enhancing training and education in the field.
The United Nations recruitment policy for language staff is geography-and gender-neutral. The selection criteria for participation in language competitive examinations (LCEs), whereby most language professionals are recruited, are based solely on the education and experience of applicants, without reference to their nationality. Candidates who pass LCEs by demonstrating the highest level of competence are placed on rosters and are recruited in the Professional category as job openings arise. To date, successful candidates include not only applicants who were trained in the language professions (translation, interpretation, linguistics, etc.), but also applicants from a variety of other fields, such as journalism, law, economics and even engineering and medicine. This provides the United Nations language services with an opportunity to build strong multicultural and multitalented teams that are capable of dealing with the Organization’s complex and politically sensitive intergovernmental environment.
It is hoped that this portal, as it continues to grow and evolve, will allow the United Nations to build on existing partnerships, initiate new ones and welcome to its ranks a competent cadre of conference services professionals who will carry on the tradition of providing high-quality conference services to the Organization and the peoples of the world through the Member States of the United Nations.
Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly
and Conference Management