Editorial and desktop publishing

Editorial and desktop publishing is the preparation of camera-ready texts in the six official languages of the United Nations. It is the final layer of quality control to United Nations documents before they are uploaded for electronic dissemination through the Official Document System (ODS) and for limited or on-demand reproduction in hard copy. This role is performed by editorial and desktop publishing assistants.


Role of editorial and desktop publishing assistants

Editorial and desktop publishing assistants proofread and finalize edited and translated texts, including by applying standard formats and entering any final corrections or modifications submitted by authors, editors or translators.

Editorial and desktop publishing assistants support translators and editors in the performance of their professional functions. Their task is to ensure that all elements of the text (especially the cover and introductory material, titles, page and paragraph numbers, footnotes, annexes, graphics, etc.) are properly assembled and formatted according to standard desktop publishing guidelines and with reference to the original document submitted, including by incorporating final corrections made by editors and translators.

Editorial and desktop publishing assistants in the English Text-Processing Unit also provide e-correspondence services, which include processing and dispatch of official United Nations communications. 


Working methods

Editorial and desktop publishing assistants convert translations and edited texts into camera-ready documents for reproduction in hard copy and/or electronic dissemination using the United Nations Global Macros toolbar – a unique set of macros in Microsoft Word ensuring accuracy and speed of execution. In addition to creating tables, graphics and charts, typing in corrections and formatting the documents, the assistants also proofread final versions and create a bi-text database of all translated documents through the alignment function. The resulting parliamentary documents are then published on ODS and the non-parliamentary documents are sent directly to the submitters.


Tools used

Editorial and desktop publishing assistants use the United Nations Global Macros tool in their daily operations. The tool automates various aspects of the layout and format of official documents, such as fonts, styles, margins, tables, headers and footers. It includes pre-designed templates for different kinds of official United Nations documents, ensuring uniformity of document layout and formatting across the six official languages of the United Nations. The tool consists of hundreds of individual macros that support repeat processes and standardize the appearance of all document components.


Skills required

Editorial and desktop publishing assistants are required to have desktop publishing skills, including experience in desktop publishing, copy editing, formatting, proofreading, mastery of United Nations documentation standards and formatting and ability to scope final translations with the original, especially through bi-text alignment.

Fluency in the main language that they are working in and knowledge of one or more official languages, including English, are required for editorial and desktop publishing assistants. Applicants for these positions must pass a specialized entry test to demonstrate desktop-publishing skills in their main language.