Editorial Manual

About United Nations editors


What do editors do? A quick overview for authors

      The quality of the Organization’s documents and publications plays a key role in maintaining its reputation for serious, impartial, transparent and accurate reporting, and in winning respect and support for its work. Editors play a key role by ensuring that documents are clear, accurate, logically presented, consistent and translatable. They serve as coordinators for each document because, by solving problems in the original language version, one editor saves five translators from having to independently solve the same problems. They uphold the General Assembly’s mandates on multilingualism, equal treatment for all languages and equally authentic documentation in all languages. They align presentation, format and style with established United Nations practice. In particular, they:

(a) Correct grammar and apply United Nations editorial style, including in terms of punctuation, capitalization, spelling and abbreviations and acronyms;
(b) Ensure the accuracy of terminology used;
(c) Check details such as names, dates and titles;
(d) Verify quotations (to the extent possible);
(e) Strive to minimize the use of obscure language so that texts are understandable and translatable;
(f) Seek to ensure that the language used is inclusive;
(g) In consultation with authors, bring texts into line with established United Nations usage, resolving ambiguities and promoting clarity to avoid different interpretations in the other five languages;
(h) Verify the accuracy of, and apply United Nations editorial style to, footnotes and other references.


Editors work with submitting officers to ensure the high quality and technical accuracy of the final product, providing editorial and language-related guidance to help them in the preparation of their texts. The editors may be contacted at:

New York: etesfrontdesk@un.org
Geneva: unog-editorial-queries@un.org
Vienna: unov-editorialhelpline@un.org
Nairobi: unon-dcs-englishlanguageunit@un.org


For more information on editing at the United Nations, click here.