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Head of the French Translation Section


  • Organization: ESA - European Space Agency
  • Location: Paris
  • Grade: Junior level - A2 - Grade band
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Translations and Languages
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2024-07-31

Head of the French Translation Section

Job Requisition ID:  18682
Date Posted:  10 July 2024
Closing Date:  31 July 2024 23:59 CET/CEST
Publication:  Internal & External
Type of Contract Permanent
Directorate:  Director General's Services

Paris, FR

Grade Band L2 - L4


ESA Headquarters, Paris, France  


Head of the French Translation Section in the Language Services and Minute-Writing Division, Director General’s Cabinet


Reporting directly to the Head of the Language Services and Minute-Writing Division, you will:


  • organise and direct the day-to-day operation of the French Translation Section, allocating and coordinating the work in light of the areas of competence of the French translators, revisers and minute-writers;
  • ensure adequate cover of French translation requirements by coordinating the presence of the Section’s permanent staff and requesting support from freelance translators, where necessary;
  • draw up priorities in liaison with the Head of Division, the Committee/Board Secretaries and other internal customers;
  • collaborate closely with the Head of the German Translation Section and the Head of the English Translation, Editing and Support Section;
  • manage the team and its individual team members, driving performance and encouraging teamwork and cooperation;
  • supervise and assess the work of the Section’s staff;
  • promote the personal and the continuing professional development of the Section’s staff; 
  • ensure the integration and training of new members of the Section;
  • translate into French, mainly from English and to a lesser extent from German, the most difficult texts submitted to the French Section with a particular emphasis on scientific, technical, legal, financial and administrative subjects;
  • revise a wide range of French translations provided by internal and external translators; 
  • select, commission and supervise freelance translators and trainees, as required;
  • direct and supervise the terminology work of the Section’s staff and coordinate French terminology input for ESA’s multilingual term base with the Division’s Terminologist/Language Technologist;
  • contribute actively to the ongoing efforts to reinforce the translation technology capabilities of the Division and remain up to date with new technologies in the translation domain (CAT tools, machine translation, and other relevant technologies as and when they emerge);
  • provide assistance and advice to the other Agency departments on the appropriate use of French;
  • update working methods and processes in a continued effort to increase efficiency at Division level; 
  • participate actively in the work of the Division’s management team;
  • coordinate with other divisions within the Cabinet, notably in support of Council and the Director General, according to needs.

You will also be responsible for identifying, assessing, managing and reporting the health and safety risks in your area of responsibility.

Technical competencies

Knowledge and understanding of the functioning of a language service in an international organisation
Ability to provide language services in an international organisation including at ministerial level
Ability to produce accurate translations of high idiomatic quality from source texts of considerable complexity, and to do so quickly and under time pressure
Ability to revise translations provided by internal and external translators, ensuring an accurate and high-quality result, and to do so quickly and under time pressure
Proficiency in the use of computer-assisted language technologies (translation memory, machine translation, and others)
Proficiency in terminology work and the use of multilingual terminology databases
Knowledge of the different domains of the space sector and the Agency’s programmes and activities
Knowledge of scientific and technical subjects together with a proficiency in financial, legal and administrative language and concepts
In-depth understanding of the Agency’s core business and institutional framework
Proficiency in the use of the Agency’s information systems, tools and applications
Knowledge of the relevant Agency rules, processes and procedures

Behavioural competencies

Result Orientation
Operational Efficiency
Fostering Cooperation
Relationship Management
Continuous Improvement
Forward Thinking


A master's in translation with the following language combination is required for this post:

A: French

B: English

C: German

Additional requirements

You must have French as your native language, and both a thorough knowledge and extensive practical experience of English and German. Knowledge of other languages of ESA member or partner states, especially Spanish or Italian, would be an asset. Please note that you should supply your Motivation letter written in French.


You must have extensive experience of professional translation, preferably in an international environment, including several years in a senior capacity and as a revisor.
You must further be able to plan, direct and supervise the work of a medium-sized translation section working with tight deadlines and the supporting secretarial staff.

A keen team spirit and the ability to work in harmony with persons of different nationalities are essential. You should further have:

  • the potential to manage individuals or a team of experts;
  • the ability to organise their activities and ensure a motivating work environment;
  • strong leadership capabilities, with proven relationship management and communication skills;
  • the ability to drive your team’s performance, developing your people by encouraging learning, delegating responsibility and giving regular and constructive feedback;
  • strong problem-solving skills to deal with day-to-day operational challenges, together with demonstrated planning and organisational skills;
  • strong result orientation with the ability to set priorities and present practical solutions both orally and in writing;
  • the ability to manage challenging situations proactively and constructively and to be customer-focused.


People management experience is an asset, as is international experience, i.e. outside your home country, as well as experience in diverse functional areas relevant to ESA activities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness 
ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. We therefore welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.


At the Agency we value diversity, and we welcome people with disabilities.  Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace.  The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us via email at

Important Information and Disclaimer
During the recruitment process, the Agency may request applicants to undergo selection tests. Additionally, successful candidates will need to undergo basic screening before appointment, which will be conducted by an external background screening service, in compliance with the European Space Agency's security procedures.


Note that ESA is in the process of transitioning to a Matrix setup, which could lead to organisational changes affecting this position.


The information published on ESA’s careers website regarding working conditions is correct at the time of publication. It is not intended to be exhaustive and may not address all questions you would have. 


Nationality and Languages 
Please note that applications can only be considered from nationals of one of the following States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia. 


According to the ESA Convention, the recruitment of staff must take into account an adequate distribution of posts among nationals of the ESA Member States*. When short-listing for an interview, priority will first be given to internal candidates and secondly to external candidates from under-represented Member States*. 

*Member States, Associate Members or Cooperating States.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.