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Purpose

Every United Nations document is reviewed by an editor before it is translated and issued. Editors ensure that the documents are accurate, coherent, consistent, appropriate and suitable for translation into the other five official languages.

Tasks

Editors work in a 100 per cent electronic environment and they correct factual, logical, spelling and grammatical errors, align the structure and style of documents with standardized formats, and verify references. In close consultation with authors, they revise and edit documents to ensure that they conform to the Organization’s standards and guidelines.

Resolutions and decisions adopted by United Nations Charter bodies are subject to a special review known as “concordance”, led by editors working closely with translators, which ensures that the formal decisions of the United Nations are equally authentic in all six official languages.
Edited documents serve as a reliable source for United Nations multilingual terminology databases used in computer-assisted translation.

Skills needed

Most United Nations editors have English as their mother tongue because more than over 90 per cent of documents received are drafted in English. Editors must also demonstrate sound political judgement when suggesting solutions to editorial problems. Meticulous research and in-depth consultations with authors, permanent mission staff and subject-matter experts, as well as translation services, may be required.

Tools used

The United Nations Editorial Manual Online is the primary repository of the editorial practice of the Organization. It provides editorial guidance throughout the Secretariat.