How to Become a United Nations Interpreter


United Nations interpreters have an exciting job combining international relations with foreign language skills and diplomacy. Becoming one of the few United Nations interpreters requires advanced language skills and plenty of training. While you may not experience the international espionage and intrigue Nicole Kidman did in the movie "The Interpreter," you'll still have a front-row view of global affairs as they happen. Here is how to do it.

Things You'll Need

  • University degree
  • Relevant experience
  • Fluency in at least three official United Nations languages
  • Graduate from college. A university degree is required to become a United Nations interpreter. Majoring in one or more of the official United Nations languages is also crucial for gaining the necessary fluency and foreign language knowledge needed for the job.

  • Gain necessary experience. United Nations interpreters often have years of interpreting experience. Hone your language skills by working for the government or other industries that require interpreters or translators to build up your resume before applying to the United Nations.

  • Develop fluency. It goes without saying that to become a United Nations interpreter, you must be fluent in languages. If you aren't naturally fluent by birth or environment, consider intensive language courses offered by a foreign-language training institute. Of course, one of the best ways to gain fluency in a language is to live in the country and immerse yourself in the culture.

  • Contact the United Nations. When you have met all the criteria for becoming a United Nations interpreter, contact the United Nations recruitment office in New York and request information on how to apply. The United Nations recruits for interpreters through a competitive examination that will thoroughly test your language skills.

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