United Nations - New York, NY

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The Arabic Translator/Editor positions are located at Headquarters in the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM) and in the Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi offices of the United Nations, as well as in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Beirut, Lebanon. These positions are under the general supervision of the Chief of the Arabic Translation Service or the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section at Headquarters, or the relevant Chiefs of Section/Unit in Offices away from Headquarters.


Within delegated authority, the Translator/Editor is responsible for the following duties: (These duties are generic and may not be carried out by all Translators/Editors.)

• Translation: Translates, subject to revision, documents, including summary records, 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; Performs other related duties as required.

• Editing: Ensures that material adheres to established editorial standards and conforms to United Nations policy and practices; Reflects in the Arabic text editorial corrections made to the original text; Edits for continuity, logical arrangement, completeness, relevance of material, readability, clarity of expression and internal consistency, as well as spelling, punctuation and grammar; Performs other related duties as required.


•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.

• Commitment to Continuous Learning: Keeps abreast of new developments in own occupation/profession; actively seeks to develop oneself professionally and personally; contributes to the learning of colleagues and subordinates; shows willingness to learn from others; seeks feedback to learn and improve.


Hold at least a bachelor's or equivalent degree from a university or institution of equivalent status in which Arabic is the language of instruction or hold a university degree from a recognized school of translation.

Work Experience



• Examinees must have a perfect command of Arabic, which should be their main language (the main language should be understood to be the language in which the candidate is best able to work and of which he/she has a perfect command).

•Have an excellent knowledge of English and at least one of the other official languages of the United Nations (Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).

•Applicants' claim to knowledge of official languages must be supported by relevant documentation attached to their application. Further evidence of degrees, knowledge of languages and/or relevant experience may be required prior to convocation.

Assessment Method

• Applications will be assessed and screened on the basis of the eligibility criteria listed above, and only those applicants deemed qualified will be convoked for the written examination. Only those examinees that are successful in the written portion of the examination will be invited to the oral examination (interview).

•The written examination, to be held on 12 and 13 March 2013, will consist of the following:

Day 1
(a) Translation into Arabic of a general text in English (three hours). It should be noted that this paper is eliminatory. Only examinees who are successful in this paper will have their other papers marked;
(b) Translation into Arabic of a text chosen by the examinee from among the other four official languages of the United Nations: Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish (one hour and a half);
(c) Translation into Arabic of:
(i) An English text to be chosen by the examinee from among four specialized texts (economic, legal, social/political or scientific/technical) (one hour and a half);
(ii) A text from a language different from the one selected in exercise (b). For example, if the French text was selected in (b), the examinee must now choose a text in Chinese, Russian or Spanish) (one hour and a half).

Day 2
(d) Editing of a text in Arabic (two hours);
(e) Editing of a text in Arabic to reflect changes made to original English text (one hour and a half).

•The use of a dictionary or any other reference material will not be permitted during the examination. Similarly, examinees may not use personal computers to prepare their papers.
•On the basis of the results of the written examination, the Board of Examiners will invite selected examinees to a competency-based interview. The Board will interview each examinee to assess whether she or he possesses the competencies required for the position. Examinees may also be required to undergo additional testing at the time of the interview (including a sight translation test). The interview is an integral part of the examination. Therefore, examinees who are invited for an interview should not assume that they will be automatically placed on a roster or offered an assignment.

Special Notice

•The purpose of the present Job Opening is to invite applications from prospective candidates who wish to take the competitive examination for Arabic Translators / Editors in 2013.

•The competitive examination for the recruitment of Arabic language Translators/Editors will be held on 12 and 13 March 2013 in Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, New York, Vienna and other locations according to the number and location of qualified applicants invited to take the examination.

•As a result of the competitive examination, a roster will be established from which present and future vacancies for Arabic language Translators/Editors will be filled. When vacancies occur in the language services of the United Nations Secretariat, successful examinees will be recruited from the roster, subject to the requirements of the service in terms of expertise and language combinations.

•The Board of Examiners, appointed by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, requires that applicants' claims to knowledge of official languages must be supported by relevant documentation. Applicants must substantiate their claims of knowledge of those languages by attaching to their application a photocopy of a diploma or a certificate from a language school. Applicants may be required to submit further evidence of degrees, knowledge of languages and/or relevant experience prior to convocation.

•All applicants should submit with their applications an essay of approximately 300 words in Arabic in lieu of a cover note, explaining why they wish to work as a translator/editor in the United Nations.

•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. All applicants will be notified in writing of the Board's decision in respect of their application. The Board's decisions are final.

•Successful examinees who receive an offer of appointment are strongly encouraged to accept it, as declining may affect their prospects of receiving a subsequent offer. A successful candidate who declines two offers will be removed from the roster.

• Examinees who are successful in this examination and are selected for inclusion in the roster will be appointed to fill vacancies as they occur in the language services of the United Nations Secretariat in Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, New York and Vienna. Successful examinees will be expected to take up their functions as required by the needs of the Organization, specifically in the duty stations where vacancies are located. Successful examinees are expected to serve a minimum of five years in a language post.

•Successful examinees should 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 examinees selected from the roster to fill vacancies are normally offered an initial two-year fixed-term appointment at the P-2 level. This level comprises 12 steps, each corresponding to an annual increment awarded if performance is satisfactory. Upon satisfactory completion of this trial period, their appointment will be extended and they may be promoted to the P-3 level, which comprises 15 steps. The fixed-term appointments of translators/editors whose performance proves unsatisfactory will not be extended. Fully qualified translators/editors 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.

•Successful examinees in translation assigned directly to duty stations away from Headquarters will normally be required to spend the first six months of their trial period in the corresponding service at Headquarters.

•Incomplete applications (including those without the essay or evidence of languages) and applications that are received after the above deadline will not be considered. No extensions for submission will be given if applications cannot be sent by the deadline set in Inspira. (New York HQ local time).

United Nations Considerations

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8). The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

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