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Translator (French) & Terminology Specialist

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Translations and Languages
  • Closing Date: 2020-11-06

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Within the Department of Governing Bodies, the Office of Language Services (LNG) provides high-quality, timely and cost-effective translation, interpretation, editing, official records, word-processing and online services for the governing bodies, as well as language services for the Director-General's Office and WHO technical programmes, so as to make WHO health policy and technical information accessible to its target readerships in the official languages of the Organization.


Translation (50% FTE)

1. Translates and self-revises a wide variety of texts dealing with medicine, public health and related subjects as well as administrative, financial and legal matters (correspondence, resolutions and records of WHO's governing bodies, working papers, scientific articles, speeches, press releases, programme statements, reports, etc.). Such translations may be considered final and not subject to further review.

2. Revises for accuracy and conformity with established WHO terminology and style texts translated by less experienced, temporary or external translators, and edits translations from other working languages as required.

3. Heads task forces for special assignments, such as meetings of the governing bodies, performs other related duties and acts for the Team Lead, as required. In order to undertake the above activities, the incumbent is called upon to:

a) apply linguistic and analytical skills to produce elegant, concise and accurate translations;

b) undertake reference and terminology work as required;

c) consult with originator or competent units to clarify ambiguous points and solve problems relating to terminology or meaning;

d) draw attention to any errors or inconsistencies in text to ensure that they are corrected in original and in other language versions as appropriate;

e) give advice and guidance to less experienced translators and to trainees as required;

f) plan, organize and coordinate the work at hand so as to meet the target date for each assignment;

g) allocate, coordinate, supervise and follow up translation work when heading task forces or acting for Team Lead;

h) advise the Team Lead on suitability of temporary and outside translators;

i) give expert advice on French usage on request.

Terminology (50% FTE)

4. Liaises and coordinates with all parties involved and/or interested in terminology, whether internally or externally: organizing coordination meetings with terminology focal points within the unit and regional offices; liaising with technical programmes for the validation of term definitions, sources and context; acting as a focal point for terminology with UN counterparts; and representing WHO on terminology matters.

5. Manages WHO terminology set within UNTERM by identifying core terms to be set as public, performing gap analyses, monitoring user feedback and maintaining the database.

6. Conducts terminology research in consultation with technical programmes.

Performs all other related duties as assigned.



Essential: Advanced university degree in translation and/or languages, or an advanced university degree related to international health or management administration, combined with a university degree in modern languages
Desirable: Degree in medicine, science or health-related area.


Essential: At least seven years' experience in translation, revision or self-revision and terminology, of which at least five years' at the international level.
Desirable: Experience working with WHO or other UN agencies.


Evident advanced knowledge of translation and terminology.

Strong skills in coordination.

Sound knowledge of editorial work.

Team spirit, tact and discretion.

Good command of computer-assisted translation tools and techniques and of research methods in connection with translation and terminology.

Good knowledge of terminology databases such as UNTERM.

Familiarity with health-related subjects.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Knowing and managing yourself
Moving forward in a changing environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English. Expert knowledge of French.
Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of another WHO official language.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 73,516 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 5324 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link: Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
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.

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