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Department for General Assembly and Conference Management

Spanish Translation Service

What makes translation into Spanish at the United Nations a challenging, rewarding and unique experience? Browse through some of the documents produced by the Spanish Translation Service and you will see.

Translating at the United Nations is just as creative as literary translation, but in a very different way. The documents translated cover a broad range of technical, political, scientific, social, economic and legal issues. Often it is through the efforts of the Service that new terms and concepts gain widespread use in Spanish for the first time. The team of translators from many corners of the Hispanic world conducts extensive research, acquiring a detailed knowledge of the subject matter. The Spanish version of any document has to be faithful to the original, respect established terminology (when it exists) and be readily understood by a reader from any one of the 21 Spanish-speaking Member States of the Organization.

What makes the work special is that translators must always bear in mind the wide audience that their translations will reach: not only the diplomats in permanent missions but also government officials in their respective capitals, the media, non-governmental organizations, academia and the general public of all Spanish-speaking countries. Therefore, every effort is made to ensure that, regardless of the nationality of the individual translator who works on a document, the result does not sound Argentinean, Colombian, Mexican or Spanish… but pan-Hispanic.

Broadly representative of the Spanish-speaking world, the staff of the Service come from Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay. In addition to the official languages, they can translate from languages such as Catalan, Dutch, Galician, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Swedish.

How is the work of Spanish translation achieved? In addition to standard resources, such as dictionaries, terminology databases or the Internet, the Service benefits from the feedback provided by colleagues and delegates from the entire Spanish-speaking world. It is this interaction and diversity that make the job enriching, rewarding and unique.




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