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Language Assistant (English)

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: GS-4, General Service - No need for Higher Education - Locally recruited position - Administrative support
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
    • Translations and Languages
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-02

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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 documentation accessible to its target readerships in the official languages of the Organization.


1. Processes and formats documents, reports, statistical tables, official letters and other materials from different sources, using a variety of programs and in accordance with current departmental standards; imports graphics from source files and redesigns them for insertion into the master file (which may use different software), taking into consideration the layout requirements of other languages as relevant.

2. Proofreads documents, reports, tables, graphics and other materials to ensure consistency with originals, completeness and correctness in respect of grammar, spelling, house style, references and cross-references, and identifies issues relating to format, formatting and font, and potential issues relating to, for example, consistent terminology and references.; consults editorial and/or translation staff to obtain clarification on specific issues and/or terminology.

3. Checks proofs of publications after layout at request of originating unit, ensuring page layout, choice/size of fonts, etc. are correct and appropriate in relation to both the original and the target language.

4. Performs pre- and post-processing of documents as required to support computer-assisted translation (CAT) and related processes.

5. Stores final documents in the official repository for CAT and aligns bi-texts in order to support the production of high-quality translation memories.

6. Acts as assistant head of shifts (day or night) during conference periods, and replaces supervisor during conferences, leave or other periods, as required.

7. Participates in the training of new staff and temporary staff.

8. Performs other related duties as required.



Essential: Completion of secondary school or its equivalent; completion of commercial/secretarial course.
Desirable: Training in typing (with diplomas) and experience in Microsoft Word; Completion of specialized courses in document production to prepare a variety of documents and correspondence and import documents from a variety of formats.


Essential: At least three years of experience in word processing with experience in proofreading.
Desirable: Three years of experience in WHO and/or the UN system. Experience in formatting and document production.


- Ability to type at the required speed and proofread texts.

- Good knowledge of Excel and Power Point.

- Demonstrated proficiency in word processing and other relevant software used to produce documents of varying lengths and complexities.

- Mandatory technical skills include, but are not limited to, manipulating graphics and PDF files; converting Excel spreadsheets to Word tables; importing PowerPoint slides into Word; and formatting lengthy reports containing diverse design elements, page breaks and footnotes.

- Attention to detail when formatting and proofreading documents, for both the presentation and accuracy of the text and/or graphics.

- Ability to communicate effectively and liaise with other team members.

- Good knowledge of the relevant language, with emphasis on grammar.

- Ability to keep abreast of and apply WHO house styles, and to learn and apply new technology and processes.

- Knowledge of public health terminology an advantage.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Knowing and managing yourself
Producing results

Use of Language Skills

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


WHO offers staff in the General Services category an attractive remuneration package, which for the above position includes an annual net base salary starting at CHF 68,740 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable) and 30 days of annual leave.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level, and for different contract types.
  • 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.
  • This post is subject to local recruitment and will be filled by persons recruited in the local commuting area of the duty station.
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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