The United Nations organizes competitive examinations to recruit language professionals (editors, interpreters, translators, verbatim reporters and copy preparers/proofreaders/production editors) to fill posts in its language services. Languages Competitive Examinations (LCEs) are held in the six official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
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- Open to candidates of any nationality recognized by the United Nations;
- 56 or younger in the year of examination;
- A completed degree relevant to the job function by the time of the first part of the examination;
- Perfect command of one of the official UN languages and excellent knowledge of at least one other.
II. Selection Process
i) Vacancy Search
LCEs are scheduled on ad-hoc according to the needs of the Organization and are both career- and language-specific. The application process begins several months before the examination date, and the application period is only a few weeks. Those interested in this program should check the LCEs website monthly.
ii) Online Application
Applications are accepted through Inspira using a Personal History Profile (PHP) form – an online resume used by the UN Secretariat.
The applications are screened by special software, which automatically filters eligible candidates. If it is determined that you are eligible and meet all of the requirements, you will be informed that your application has been successful and you will be assigned an application number.
iv) Written Examination
The first part of the language competitive examination is a career-specific skills test conducted online or in a test centre. The content of the tests depends on the exam area. For example, for the editing examination, you will be asked to edit texts, for the interpretation examination, you will be asked to perform simultaneous interpretation.
The second part is the oral examination which consists of a competency-based interview conducted in English or French.
vi) Roster & Placement
The Board of Examiners will recommend the most qualified candidates for placement on the roster, which is specific for and limited to the language and function of that specific examination. Candidates are recruited from the relevant roster, as and when vacancies arise and are normally offered an initial two-year fixed-term appointment at the P-2 level.