Job description

Organization:Other International Organizations
Category:Languages & Translation
Deadline: 08 February 2017


• The purpose of the present job opening is to invite applications to sit the combined competitive examination for English-language Translators/Précis-Writers, Editors, Verbatim Reporters and Copy Preparers/ Proofreaders/ Production Editors, which will be held in two parts (see “Assessment Method” below). Each part of the examination is eliminatory: only those successful in part one will be convoked to part two, and only those successful in part two will be placed on the roster for recruitment. Part one of the examination is tentatively scheduled to take place on 3 April 2017 and will be carried out entirely online.

• Candidates wishing to sit this competitive examination must submit an application through Inspira, the United Nations Secretariat’s online recruitment platform. They can start this process by clicking on the “Apply” or “Apply Now” button in the electronic version of this Job Opening. Applications must be submitted in English, referring to the English version of the Job Opening, accessible under the English version of the UN Careers Portal. The process is described in the "Competitive examinations for language professionals" section of the United Nations Careers Portal (https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=LCRWHA).

• When filling out their applications in Inspira, applicants should write in the cover letter section (step 7) approximately 150 to 200 words in English explaining how their experience, qualifications and competencies match the position for which they are applying.

• Applications that are incomplete (including those submitted without the required evidence of language skills or without the cover letter requested in steps 6 and 7, respectively, of the Inspira application form) and applications that are submitted or received after the deadline specified in Inspira will not be considered.

• All applications will be reviewed by the Board of Examiners. In instances where a large number of applications are received, the Board of Examiners reserves the right to admit to the examination only the most qualified applicants based on a review of qualifications over and above the minimum criteria (see education, work experience and language requirements below). All applicants will be notified by e-mail of the Board’s decision in respect of their application. The Board’s decisions are final.

• On the basis of the overall results of the examination, the Board will recommend to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management the names of candidates who qualify for inclusion in a roster of successful examinees.

• Present and future vacancies for Translators/Précis-Writers, Editors, Verbatim Reporters and Copy Preparers/Proofreaders/Production Editors will be filled from the roster of successful examinees, subject to the requirements of each section or service in terms of expertise and language combinations. There are English Translator/Précis-Writer posts in the language services of the United Nations Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, New York, Santiago and Vienna; English Editor posts in the respective sections in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, New York and Vienna; and English Verbatim Reporter posts in New York and English Copy Preparer/Proofreader/Production Editor posts in the respective sections in Geneva, New York and Vienna.

• Successful examinees selected from the roster to fill vacancies are normally offered an initial fixed-term appointment at the P-2 level for a trial period of two years. Upon satisfactory completion of this trial period, they may be promoted to the P-3 level. Fully qualified translators, editors or other language professionals with several years of internationally recognized professional language experience and demonstrated ability to perform high-quality work may be recruited at the P-3 level. After two years of satisfactory service on a fixed-term appointment, the candidate will be considered for a continuing appointment. Fixed-term appointments of those whose performance proves unsatisfactory will not be extended after the trial period of two years.

• It should be noted that successful candidates are expected to serve a minimum of five years in a language post and may, after the two-year trial period, be called upon to serve at a different duty stations according to the needs of the Organization. They should also note that, in accordance with the needs of the service/section, they may be called upon to work outside normal working hours, including weekends and holidays.

• Successful candidates who receive an offer of appointment are strongly encouraged to accept it, as declining may affect their prospects of receiving a subsequent offer.


• The combined competitive examination for English Translators/Précis-Writers, Editors, Verbatim Reporters and Copy Preparers/Proofreaders/Production Editors in 2017 is open to internal applicants at the P-3 level and below who meet the eligibility requirements, as well as qualified external candidates, in accordance with the provisions of ST/AI/1998/7 and ST/AI/2000/1, as amended by ST/AI/1998/7/Amend.1 and ST/AI/2003/1, respectively.

• It should be noted that the requirement for a university degree or its equivalent from a university or institution of equivalent status (set forth in “Education” below) may be waived for staff members who, in the judgment of the Board of Examiners, have adequate post-secondary educational qualifications from a university or institution of equivalent status and adequate secondary educational qualifications from an establishment, preferably one at which the principal language of instruction is English, in addition to five years of continuous service with the United Nations Secretariat by 31 December 1989.

• The assignment of staff members of the United Nations who are successful in the examination and are selected to fill vacancies will be subject to the following conditions:

• Staff members selected to fill vacancies will be assigned as an English Translator/Précis-Writer, Editor, Verbatim Reporter or Copy Preparer/Proofreader/Production Editor for a trial period of two years according to the staff rules in force. Staff members below the P-2 level or in the General Service category will receive a special post allowance to the P-2 level. Staff members at the P-2 and P-3 levels will be assigned at their respective levels.

• Staff members with a special post allowance to the P-2 level and those already at the P-2 level who successfully complete the trial period and are recommended by the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management and the Office of Human Resources Management may be promoted to the P-3 level. Staff members already at the P-3 level who successfully complete the trial period will be confirmed in their functions at the P-3 level. After two years of satisfactory service on a fixed-term appointment, the candidate will be considered for a continuing appointment. This means that the candidate must demonstrate within that time that he or she possesses the requisite qualifications to serve as a career staff member of the United Nations in order to receive such an appointment. Staff members who do not successfully complete the trial period will be reassigned to posts at their previous levels, and any special post allowance will be discontinued.

• Staff members from subsidiary organs of the United Nations and staff members whose service is limited to a particular organ, fund or programme of the United Nations or a special mission are considered external candidates for the purpose of this examination. Such candidates, if successful in the examination, will be offered a new appointment with the United Nations, subject to normal United Nations recruitment procedures and standards.

• Staff members selected to fill vacancies will be recruited as English Translators/Précis-Writers, Editors, Verbatim Reporters or Copy Preparers/Proofreaders/Production Editors according to the staff rules in force.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Duties and responsibilities depend on the service/section and duty station in which the position is located.

• In Translator/Précis-Writer positions, they include: translating, subject to revision, documents covering a broad range of subjects dealt with by the United Nations, i.e., in the political, social, legal, economic, financial, administrative, scientific and technical fields; and attending meetings (alone or as part of a team) and preparing a draft summary record of the proceedings.

• In Editor positions, they include ensuring that the phraseology, the terminology and, where appropriate, the translation of documents are correct and that their style is appropriate to their audience; editing for continuity, logic, completeness, relevance of material, readability, clarity of expression and consistency, as well as spelling, punctuation and grammar; verifying the accuracy of facts, figures and references through research and consultation; identifying unclear or ambiguous statements and proposing amendments for consideration by the author, the supervising editor or the relevant translation service.

• In Verbatim Reporter positions, they include producing in extenso verbatim records of meetings; editing the original language version as necessary for accuracy, making the required changes for style, syntax and grammar, and parliamentary procedure; transcribing and/or translating assigned portions of meetings; comparing transcripts of interpretation with original language versions to ensure completeness and accuracy of the records; and translating passages that are either inaccurate or incomplete.

• In Copy Preparer/Proofreader/Production Editor positions, they include copy-editing electronic manuscripts of publications, ensuring accuracy of content, terminology, grammar, syntax, punctuation and spelling, and conformity with United Nations style; importing text into desktop publishing software and completing formatting of text, tabular matter, front matter and back matter, using electronic templates and style sheets; proofreading galley or page proofs against original source manuscript to ensure that the printed version is a true transcription of the text supplied for publishing, and introducing corrections of substance, spelling, grammar, style and typography; completing cross references within text and footnotes, as well as pagination and correlation of tables of contents with listed items in a publication; checking the concordance of text with texts of other official languages to ensure substantive and typographical conformity; and reading amended proofs against previous proofs and incorporating additional editorial alterations as required.


• Applicants must hold at least a three-year first-level degree or an equivalent qualification from a university or institution of equivalent status, preferably one at which English is the principal language of instruction.

• Completion of degree courses in modern languages, translation and relevant subjects, such as law, economics or international relations is desirable. Enrolment in, or completion of, a master’s degree course or equivalent at the time this job opening was posted is also desirable.

Work Experiance

No experience is required; two or more years of practical experience in translation, editing, report-writing or a related field is desirable.


• Professionalism: Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations; takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

• Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

• Technological Awareness: Keeps abreast of available technology; understands applicability and limitation of technology to the work of the office; actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; shows willingness to learn new technology.


• Applicants must have English as their main language (the main language should be understood to be the language in which the candidate is best able to work).

• Applicants must have a perfect command of English and an excellent knowledge of at least two of the other official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish). Applicants' claims to knowledge of official languages must be supported by relevant documentation attached to their application. Further evidence of degrees/diplomas, knowledge of languages and/or relevant experience may be required prior to convocation to sit the examination.

• Applications from candidates with excellent knowledge of Arabic, Chinese and/or Russian are strongly encouraged.

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