Language staff are recruited mainly through competitive examinations for language positions, which are held on average once every two or three years in each language and occupational group (specialist field). The examination announcements are posted on the United Nations Careers portal a few months prior to the date of the examination, together with information on eligibility requirements and how to apply.

The purpose of the examinations is to establish a roster of successful candidates from which to fill present and future vacancies for language positions at United Nations Headquarters in New York, its offices in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna, and the regional commissions in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva and Santiago.

The United Nations Secretariat is also interested in expanding its pool of qualified contractual translators and freelance interpreters. Requirements to serve as a contractual translator or freelance interpreter vary across duty stations and services. Tests may be performed on an as-needed basis by each section/service to assess applicants’ ability to consistently meet United Nations standards. 

For more information: consult this website and the competitive examinations for language positions page of the United Nations Careers portal.