How can I become a UN interpreter? I get asked the question often by novice and experienced interpreters alike:
Well, there is no real short answer to that question. Joining the staff of an international organization is a multi-step process, from the identification of a job offer (a.k.a., a Vacancy Notice), to preparing then submitting one’s application and hoping you’ve hit all the right buttons. It is also a process that can drag on for a considerable amount of time, so… try to add patience to the list of virtues you will need to demonstrate. (I am currently redrafting an old post covering the application process details.)
But what most colleagues fail to realize is that working as an interpreter for the UN — be it as a freelance or staff — is not for everyone. Regardless of how good your are as an interpreter, you will only be considered if you understand (and adapt to) the specific language requirements of the job.
The short video below will allow you to verify, in just under 10 minutes, whether you have the language combinations required and, if not, what are the areas you’d need to work on if you really want to become a UN interpreter.
The video also unlocks the technicalities involved in bringing a multilingual United Nations meeting to fruition. I hope you find it useful.