Chief, French Language Unit [Temporary]


The mandate of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is to promote inclusive economic, social and environmental development and support regional cooperation and integration in the Asian and Pacific region. ESCAP’s role as a regional development arm of the United Nations Secretariat is to support its membership, through its analytical, normative and technical cooperation, to respond to the development priorities and changing needs of the Asian and Pacific region.

This position is located in the French Language Unit of the Conference and Documentation Services Section (CDSS). The incumbent reports to the Chief of Conference and Documentation Services Section.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:
•Revises translations and original summary records dealing with a broad range of subjects dealt with by the United Nations.
•Translates, mostly without revision, texts covering a broad range of subjects dealt with by the United Nations, particularly those subjects requiring experience and recognized proficiency.
•Drafts, mostly without revision, summary records and serves as monitor of précis-writing teams.
•Develops new terminology for use where none exists in the target language.
•Carries out linguistic research and prepares terminological bulletins and glossaries, technical vocabularies and related reference tools.
•Counsels and assists translators/précis-writers and briefs them on the procedures and practices of the Service, terminology and a broad range of subjects, as required.
•Participates in the setting of terminology standards.
•Plans and oversees the management of activities undertaken by the unit and ensures that the outputs produced by the unit and maintain high quality standards.
•Serves as the officer-in-charge of the section, as required.
•Supervises the work of small groups of translators/précis-writers.
•Performs other related duties as required.


•Professionalism: Ability to demonstrate good writing skills; high standard of accuracy, consistency and faithfulness to the spirit, style and nuances of the original text with a good grasp of the subject matter. Knowledge of a broad range of subjects dealt with by the United Nations, i.e., political, social, legal, economic, financial, administrative, scientific and technical. Ability to use all sources of references, consultation and information relevant to text at hand. Ability to work under pressure and maintain adequate speed and volume of output. Ability to show a high level of versatility, judgement and discretion. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
•Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
•Planning& Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

•Managing Performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly.
•Judgement/Decision-making: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


A first-level degree from a university or institution of equivalent status. Must have passed the relevant United Nations Competitive Examination for Translators/Précis-writers.


A minimum of five years of experience in translation, précis-writing, self-revision and use of relevant computer software, electronic tools and databases, of which three preferably should have been in the United Nations. Familiarity with terminology databases and modern technology tools, such as voice recognition, digital dictation and computer-assisted translation tools, and Official Documents System (ODS) is desirable.


A perfect command of French, which must be the candidate’s main language. Must have an excellent knowledge of English and knowledge of an additional official language, as tested by the relevant United Nations competitive examination.


Qualified applicants may be evaluated through a competency-based interview and/or other assessment methods.


Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

This temporary position starts as soon as possible for the initial period of 3 months and is open to both internal and external candidates, including staff members on temporary appointments. If selected, an internal candidate will be on temporary assignment to the post; an external candidate will initially be offered a temporary appointment. Any extension of appointment is subject to satisfactory performance and continued availability of the post.

ESCAP is committed to promoting diversity and gender equality within the Secretariat. Women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.


According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.


THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.


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