There are several different career paths open to language professionals at the United Nations Secretariat. There are posts for copy preparers/proofreaders/production editors, editors, interpreters, terminologists, translators (and translators/précis-writers), reference assistants and verbatim reporters, each requiring slightly different competencies and qualifications.
United Nations language staff come from all over the globe and make up a truly diverse, multilingual and multicultural community. What unites them is the pursuit of excellence in their chosen areas of specialization and the desire to place their talents at the service of the Organization to facilitate communication among Member States and thereby contribute to the realization of the noble goals and objectives outlined in the Charter of the United Nations.
There is ample room for variety in language careers at the United Nations. Some language staff perform one role, such as editing or interpreting, for their whole working lives; others spend several years in one function and then move into another. Some spend most or all of their career at a single duty station; others move to a different one every few years. Some work in large services with over 40 staff members; others work in small units with fewer than five members. What all United Nations language posts have in common is the relevance of the work performed, the excitement of being at the forefront of international affairs, and the opportunities for continuous learning—in terms of languages, subject areas and technologies—as the agenda of the United Nations expands and the language services evolve to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for their services.
To meet a United Nations language professional, find out about the work they do and learn what qualifications and competencies are required, click on the corresponding tabs on this page.
To find out how to join the language professionals working at the four main duty stations of the United Nations Secretariat and at the regional commissions, click on the recruitment tab.